A Truly Silent Partner
Dear Margo: My husband and I are in our middle 50s and have been married for a year. It’s the second marriage for both of us. I know there’s a period of adjustment for newly married couples, but how long should that period be? My problem with the hubby is that when he gets upset with me, he will not speak for days! It drives me crazy. It’s come to the point that I avoid all fights just so this will not happen. But I know this is not healthy for me because I am keeping everything to myself and resentments are piling up.
Should I just ignore him when this happens? When I try to talk him out of his “funk,” he gives me a long lecture about why he’s upset. And when I say a long lecture, it’s usually more than two hours long! But when we’re not fighting, he is a super, ideal, adorable husband. Your thoughts, please? — Really Stumped
Dear Real: There is, indeed, always a period of adjustment, but the adjustment required in this case would have to do with your husband’s emotional makeup. It is not within the bounds of integrated behavior for a super, ideal, adorable husband to punish his wife with days of silence or two-hour lectures when you try to talk to him about his “funk.” Add this abnormal behavior to your mounting resentments, and you’ve got a troubled second marriage.
While I’m sure there are times you’d like to see his picture on a milk carton, my suggestion of something you can actually do is to become a benevolent despot. Insist that he see someone, perhaps with you in the beginning, to diagnose and deal with the source of his punitive behavior and internal discontent. In your shoes, I could not continue with a situation like this without professional intervention. If he refuses, then you must decide how ideal and adorable he is, and whether the good days outnumber the bad. — Margo, decisively
Letting Things Unfold
Dear Margo: My boyfriend, “Chuck,” and I have been in a long-distance relationship for two years. We recently learned that we both got into our dream college, which means we’ll be able to live in the same area for the first time in our relationship. I’m very excited, but at the same time I’m nervous about the adjustment. Chuck is my first boyfriend, so I don’t know what it’s like to be with someone you are geographically near all the time. So far, our relationship has consisted mostly of doing our own things during the day and then talking on the phone or Skyping for an hour or two at night. Conversely, when we visit each other, that time usually consists of days and days that revolve around just each other.
I miss him all the time, but I’ve kind of enjoyed having the freedom to study, hang out with my friends and get lots of “me” time while still being in a very happy relationship. From what I’ve heard, college is a fun time, but also a busy one. I love Chuck, and I want to be with him, but I also want to have time to hang out with friends away from him and focus on school work. He wants that, too. I’m afraid that once we get to college, we’ll either get so wrapped up in each other that we’ll miss out on other stuff, or else get so busy with school and friends that we never see each other. We don’t know how to make sure we strike a good balance. Do you have any tips for us? — Mostly Happy, but Still Anxious
Dear Most: I think you two will find your happy medium, and that it will be somewhere between your visits and your time apart. You’ll find a rhythm that allows for time together, friends, studying and activities. Let it unfold, because you really can’t plan these things. Just both of you try to be open to the new experiences. — Margo, gradually
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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