Friday, May 25, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Carefully asked question may help husband avoid lying

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Carefully asked question may help husband avoid lying

Q: What do I tell my wife when she says (almost every day), "Your friends must think I'm a spiteful, controlling (wench)"?

Most do, based on their observations of her behavior and not anything I say — I'm reticent to discuss personal issues in public. I've generally told her things like, "They don't think that," but that is feeling more and more dishonest.

Of course, if I even hinted at what my friends do think of her, she'd insist that I never speak to them again. (Yes, I know that would be spiteful and controlling.) Yikes!

Fishing expedition

A: Even though what you badly need is a talented counselor, I'm going to venture an answer to get you out of your lie:

"Why do you think they'd think that?" There can't be even a whiff of accusation or sarcasm to this, or else the whole effort is a goner — the "whole effort" being to open the topic to an actual conversation, instead of her fishing and your lying.

If she answers defensively ("If" — ha, I crack myself up), then go into just-the-facts mode: "I'm not attacking. It's an honest question. You make that remark a lot, and I want to know what you're feeling."

Because feelings are everything here — both what she's feeling (but neither telling you nor acting on in a loving or productive way) and what you're feeling (but neither telling her nor acting on in a loving or productive way). She's acting out, and there's a "why" there that you both need to face.

If you're not sure you can go into a conversation like this without getting angry, snarky, accusatory, defensive, etc., then think carefully about what you'd need to get to that state. Given how high her defenses are, Zen must be your target resting state throughout the discussion. Seriously. She's going to need to feel safe, if that's even possible.

And if not, then please see "counseling," above, but go alone. Control issues and joint counseling don't mix, at least not till individual counseling has progressed to a certain point. Otherwise, the controlling half of the couple can manipulate the therapist, which doesn't just erase the value of the treatment, but in fact can make things worse. Plus, controlling people scare their mates out of telling the truth — reread your letter as Exhibit A — and counseling without truth is pointless.

To keep from arguing with friend, take a step back

Q: I've got a friend who is smart and funny and who understands things about me that most others don't. I like her a lot. The problem is that we seem to clash constantly. In one sense it's not bad, in that whatever we're arguing about is usually quickly defused, and we seem able to understand where the friction came from and move on.

But the thing is … it keeps happening. All the time. And I'm starting to feel a bit tired of it. But I love talking to her when we're not arguing! Any thoughts?

Too Much?

A: Stop conducting your part of the argument and see what happens. This is part thought experiment, part actual trial, and I suspect the results will be interesting. The friction says you're competing; a step back might reveal why.

Comments
An all-ages playlist of the summer songs of 2018? It can be done

An all-ages playlist of the summer songs of 2018? It can be done

Recently I was asked to create a playlist for a summer beach party. An opportunity to procrastinate and mess around on Spotify for a few hours? Yeah, totally, when can I start?I like playlists that are diverse, not just in terms of genre (pop, hip-ho...
Published: 05/24/18
9 things to do indoors on this rainy Memorial Day weekend

9 things to do indoors on this rainy Memorial Day weekend

We've got you covered. Get it?
Published: 05/24/18

Tell Me About It: Busy mom wants to check her priorities

Q: As a mother of three young kids holding a full-time job and with a husband who frequently works late evenings and some weekends, I feel my priorities change according to what is in front of me at the time, then Im reconsidering my choices later.H...
Published: 05/24/18
Top things to do for Memorial Day weekend in Tampa Bay: Concerts, festivals and memorials

Top things to do for Memorial Day weekend in Tampa Bay: Concerts, festivals and memorials

Our editors' picks for things to do this weekend.
Updated: 8 hours ago
Top things to do this weekend: Margarita Festival, Rays’ Kiermaier as Star Wars figure, Nintinder

Top things to do this weekend: Margarita Festival, Rays’ Kiermaier as Star Wars figure, Nintinder

LIME TIME: Tampa Bay Margarita Festival This year, there are twice the bartenders and a new RFID wristband system for less waiting at the two-day Tampa Bay Margarita Festival with a margarita flavor for every taste. Music headliners are the Wallflow...
Published: 05/23/18
John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

It’s been 50 years since John Fogerty wrote Fortunate Son, one of the most scathing protest songs from the Vietnam War era. Writing another one with that kind of impact has been a challenge ever since. "Back in the ’80s, I had a couple o...
Published: 05/23/18
What's in theaters this week: 'Solo: A Star Wars Story,' Art and Short Film Mini-Fest

What's in theaters this week: 'Solo: A Star Wars Story,' Art and Short Film Mini-Fest

OPENING FRIDAY: SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY Alden Ehrenreich stars as a young Han Solo navigating the underworld and meeting his forever wingman Chewbacca and his scoundrel buddy Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). With Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, Woo...
Published: 05/23/18
A weekend of festivals: Sunset Music Fest, 97X Barbecue, WMNFs US Festival tribute

A weekend of festivals: Sunset Music Fest, 97X Barbecue, WMNFs US Festival tribute

THE BEATS GO ON: Sunset Music FestivalAt last years Sunset Music Festival, the focus was all on crowd safety. After two fans died from drug overdoses at Tampas largest annual rave in 2016, organizers heightened security across the board, yielding a...
Published: 05/23/18
5 things to do under $5: Sand mandala construction, Blast Friday, get outdoors at Bass Pros Shops

5 things to do under $5: Sand mandala construction, Blast Friday, get outdoors at Bass Pros Shops

1 Tibetan Monks Mandala: As part of a Sacred Art Tour, eight Dalai Lama-sanctioned monks from India will be at the Florida CraftArt Galleries for a week to create a sand mandala of the Green Tara, a female representation of the Buddha of Compassion....
Published: 05/23/18

Tell Me About It: Mother-in-law is a habitual line stepper

Mother-in-law is a habitual line stepper"target="_blank">Mother-in-law is a habitual line stepperQ: My son and his family recently moved back to our area. I feel Ive missed so many milestones, though I did make the effort to visit them every month ...
Published: 05/23/18