Wife Hangs with Girlfriends

Q: My wife and I are constantly ending up in arguments. We have a problem communicating to each other. I love my wife very much but sometimes I think she doesn't care at all about what I have to say. I ask her to do things with me but she says she doesn't feel like it. And then if one of her girlfriends calls, she's willing to go with her. I get mad at her and then we begin to argue. She says that I never do things for her so why should she do things for me, but that's not true. I work 9 hours a day plus overtime to keep us afloat but I'm not appreciated. I know that I'm not the perfect husband but I try my best. She goes to school in the evening, then she comes home and not too long after she leaves with her girlfriends. So that leaves just me and our son alone. She says that she is just hanging with her friends. I feel that we are becoming distant in our relationship. I feel like she's using away excuse to get away from talking to me. Is there any way you could help? -- Mike, 30

Dr. Susan: Your marriage is in deep trouble, as if I had to tell you that. The distance you feel is real, and dangerous. A happy and loving wife doesn't "hang with her girlfriends" and leave her husband and son alone all the time. You both feel unappreciated and resent each other. What exactly does she mean when she says she doesn't feel like doing things with you? Is it about physical intimacy? You need to find a time when you're both relaxed to have a talk about what's bothering each of you. You each need to feel free to speak without interruption. (A "talking pillow" works for some couples: whoever is holding the pillow gets to speak until he or she feels done, then it's the other's turn.)

If she's home with your son all day, she may feel the need to get out and have some fun in the evening after her school. It's often true that having a young child can make it very challenging to find the time to have fun as a couple, but you must find a way. Perhaps by exchanging babysitting with another young couple? I suggest you don't let the distance between you go on for too long.

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