Dear Dr. Julie: My husband of 43 yrs has worked most of our marriage away from home: here for 2 weeks and gone for 2-3 months. I pretty much raised our 3 children alone. He retired in 2018 and has gone from being away from home most of the time to being home almost ALL the time. Has prioritized self care: goes to bed at 7, up at 6. Exercise M, W, Th and Sat. Eats dinner at 3 pm ( he does most of the cooking now ). Has set up these very rigid boundaries and doesn’t care about much else. Will reluctantly socialize but is just as happy home doing nothing. At this point, I don’t want to get divorced but this relationship is ridiculous. He’s a nice guy but I can’t say I care about him all that much.
My problem is since he has these rigid boundaries, how can I establish my own if they collide with his. For example, I’d love to go out and see a show in the evening or meet a friend or whatever. But if he goes to bed at 7, we have an anxious dog and he...
Dear Dr. Julie: My husband is throwing his anxiety on me. How do I change this? Thank you!!
Dear Anxious Annie: This is one of my most frequent questions. People really struggle around how not to be so affected by other people's emotions.
When our partners, friends, or family members are struggling with anxiety, it can feel overwhelming, especially when their anxiety affects us negatively. Here are a few suggestions that may help you navigate this situation for everyone's benefit. (Remember you can't MAKE him do anything, but encouragement and understanding go along way.)
1. Heart to Heart Communication: Start by having a calm conversation with your husband about how his anxiety is making you feel and affecting you. Express your understanding of his situation and your concern for his welfare. Remember we all want to feel seen, heard, and understood and this is a great opportunity to practice letting him know that you understand how he feels. If you need...
Dear Dr. Julie: My significant other and I live 2 hours away and are able to see each about twice a month. However because we aren’t in the same city he thinks it’s okay for him to go out & have sex with somebody else (he goes to “providers”). He thinks it’s okay because he is not in a “ relationship “ with anybody else & he says he needs sex. I do love him & he says he loves me but it upsets me to know he is having sex with somebody else! What should I do?
--Monogamous in Montana
Dear Monogamous: Tell yourself the truth about whether him having sex with other people is a dealbreaker for you, regardless of what that might mean for the future of the relationship. Don't let your desire to get along or be understanding get in the way of answering the question. And, don't believe the myth that he is the only one for you.
Keep in mind that people never do something just once or only in one situation. It is...
Do you ever find yourself feeling stuck?
Do negative thoughts and feelings of not being “good enough” often lead your mind down a stressful path of self-doubt and low confidence?
Did you know that almost all of us are plagued by self-limiting beliefs daily, keeping us from fully living our best lives?
In this blog post, we'll look at how to identify and break through these limiting beliefs– because everyone deserves to reach their fullest potential!
Step 1: Identify Your Self-Limiting Beliefs
The first step in changing your self-limiting beliefs is to identify them. This can be done by paying attention to your inner dialogue and noticing any negative thoughts or self-talk holding you back. Write down these beliefs and be specific about how they make you feel and impact your life.
Step 2: Challenge Your Self-Limiting Beliefs
Once you have identified your self-limiting beliefs, it's time to challenge them. Ask yourself if these beliefs are based on...
Dear Dr. Julie: I was in a bad marriage for 20 years and it seems to have taken it's toll on me. My ex-husband often made me responsible for anticipating his needs and making things easier for him. At the time I thought I was just a bad wife. But post-divorce (and a lot of therapy), I see that I wasn't responsible for his behavior. My problem is that I'm in a new relationship and sometimes I notice that I feel like I should be doing something to make my new partner feel better when he's upset. This happens especially when he's expressing his unhappiness or dissatisfaction about situations I'm not a part of. I know it's not my job to make him feel better but I get emotionally fixated on what I can do and I can't seem to calm down easily. What can I do?
--Wired this way now
Dear Wired this way now: That's an excellent description of being triggered. When we are repeatedly exposed to stressful situations like you described, the way we cope with it becomes embedded in our...
Dear Dr. Julie: My boss drives me crazy and when I get home from work I find that I take it out on my husband. I'm cranky with him and he doesn't deserve to be treated that way. What can I do?
Dear Unintentionally Cranky: I think we've all been in this situation! Our external circumstances can often cause us to feel bad in a way that is hard to shake off. While we'd like to be unaffected in the first place, the next best thing would be to quickly switch out of it so we don't take it out on our loved ones. But, it doesn't work that way.
The negative state generated by your boss (or any other disturbing situation) lives in your body--you can't just think your way out of it.
It takes work to let it go because you've gotten hooked or attached to your negative state. When you are hooked by a reaction, you think about it, talk about it, worry about it and in that process amplify it, making it a stronger physical presence in your mind and body. ...
Dear Julie, My husband and I have been married for 7 years and there are several things he does that drive me crazy. I've tried talking to him about what I need him to do differently, but he won't change and I don't understand why. Can you help me understanding my husband and why he won't change?
--Looking for Change
Dear Looking for Change, You aren't going to like my answer much, but here goes.
You can't change him. (I know you know that.)
You have two options, ask (nicely) for change, and act differently. Essentially, use your words and your actions to influence him to do things differently.
Consider some of these possible factors as to why he isn't changing, even though you have asked.
When it comes to relationships, there's no one-size-fits-all advice that applies to everyone. But when deciding whether or not to pursue a relationship, it can be helpful to consider what makes up a healthy union. Navigating love and commitment isn't always easy — but understanding the components of an emotionally and physically reflective and supportive relationship is key for both parties to experience joy, contentment, and satisfaction over time.
Having a healthy, functional relationship may seem elusive to some. For example, suppose you grew up around less-than-ideal relationships. In that case, it can be easy to overlook unhealthy daily patterns and not realize the baseline of a good bond between people in love. But here's the thing — there are certain must-haves for others to experience bliss rather than pain! These characteristics should never go neglected or unaddressed. If something feels off balance within your connection, address it. So, take note –...
Dear Dr. Julie: How do I inspire my partner to be more affectionate, loving and communicative with me? Also, I would like him to be more adventurous and be willing to do more things with me.
--Not Feeling the Love
Dear Not Feeling the Love: There are a couple of things to consider here. The first is that he doesn't realize how much it means to you to be affectionate and communicative. I always like to start here because it minimizes your interpretation of why he is the way he is. If you talk with him about it, do so at a time when things are good between the two of you and neither of you are stressing about other things.
The second thing to consider is that this "just isn't him." He may not be a person who likes affection or feels the need to be communicative (beyond basic logistics). We might say it isn't his love language or we might guess that his personality just isn't structured that way or we might consider how he was raised and maybe he...
How do I choose men who are emotionally available?
Dear Dr. Julie: I've been dating for a few years and I seem to be attracted to men who are emotionally unavailable. If I go out with someone for a few months, eventually it starts to feel like he's pulling away. Despite my efforts to keep the relationship afloat, we inevitably break up. There have even been a couple of men who have even ghosted me after seeing each other several times. I'm heart broken and don't know what to do. I really want to be in a close relationship but now I'm not sure I want to open up to yet another person. How do I make better choices in the men I date?
Dear Heartbroken: We are usually drawn to what is familiar AND interesting at the same time. Initially, the person you pick is interesting, but on a deeper level he is also familiar. You know how to interact with and what to expect from these men. It is especially puzzling because initially feel...