March 19, 2010
Liz and Lynn were in their second marriages when they came into my Denver, CO office for marriage counseling. He worked at Coors and she worked as a real estate agent. They had been married only 8 years, but already had a lot of resentment built up. When they came in they were bickering at each other over trivial issues like his golf, changing TV channels, who's taking out the trash, who's supposed to answer the phone. That’s how their power struggle was playing out. But of course, the real issues were more about money and communication. Each one felt unappreciated by the other and didn't know where to go from here.
She Nags, He Withdraws
Liz's issues with Lynn: He doesn't speak up and tell me
or anyone when he's upset, he's passive/aggressive and withdraws and
I feel abandoned. He procrastinates, agreeing to move to California,
but never applying for jobs out there.
He Makes the Money, She Spends It
Liz’s issues with Lynn: He's old-fashioned in that he expects me to do all the housework.
Lynn’s issues with Liz: She's totally out-of-control when
it comes to money. I feel overburdened and like I have to handle it
all. She needs to contribute financially.
He Expects Her to Do All the Housework/She Wants Him to Stop Procrastinating
told Lynn that she was tired of him procrastinating, i.e. agreeing
that he wants to move to California, but never applying for jobs out
there. She agreed to work on her naiveté about business if he would
work on his resumes and send them to California, as well on taking
on half the housework. He agreed but also said he didn't feel like
he should be helping with the housework when she wasn't bringing in
any income, especially since he often works 12 hours a day and she
doesn't even leave the house until noon and seems to have all the
free time in the world when he has none. She understood but said she
was going to change that and needed him to help so she can.
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How Can I Get a Woman I Just Met to Talk More? I’m a guy in his late 30’s who wants to know what questions I need to use to get a woman talking more. I have found many women give short answers and the conversation goes nowhere. An example that is a composite of what I deal with: "I met a girl named Jenny who is an accountant, and says she likes travel to San Diego, walking around San Francisco, and Dance. When I asked how she got into accounting, she said "I'm good with numbers". What does she like about her job? "The people around her". Like about San Diego? Lying on the beach. What do you see when you walk around SF "Just people watching." Can you tell me interesting stories of people you've seen? "Not Really". . Like about Dance? "I like Salsa!"
It's not about the questions you're asking, it's that you're not sharing back to keep the conversation going, and not asking the question in a deeper way. She probably feels like this is an interview instead of two people communicating with each other. When she replies, "I'm good with numbers," you need to respond like, "I'm good with numbers too, but I didn't want to become an accountant. In fact, I'm doing quite the opposite, etc. (share some info here about your job)." Then go deeper: "So did you get into accounting by accident or did you really always want to be an accountant?" The same goes for all the other questions and responses as well. Good luck with Jenny!
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Carolyn was quoted in Match.com’s
Newsletter “Happen.” To see the complete article
written by an editor where she is quoted,
2. Should you leave them alone about their hobby and/or support it?
What to do if his or her hobby becomes a problem.: Communicate,
Compromise, Make a deal.
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I heard you on the radio this morning and I feel that it was an answer to my prayers. I have been married for a year and a half now (though together 4 years), and divorce papers have already been filed. We had a rushed, disorganized wedding because I was pregnant. During the pregnancy, he was not present at any prenatal visit and was a jerk. He also wouldn’t even tell his parents I was pregnant until I was at 7 months. He hasn’t been very supportive, to say the least. We also have excessive financial problems, along with the inability to trust one another. In July 2009, we had a falling out and I left for two weeks. There was another guy involved (a dear friend that has been in love with me for 10 years). I went back to my husband for the sake of our son, and then he kicked my out of our apartment November 23, saying that if I was going to be in communication with the other guy, I couldn't live in his house. I left and got a new place, and the other guy moved in to assist with rent. Now I am questioning myself. When we exchange our son on split days, I see the pain that I caused him, and it breaks my heart.
Where I am hung up is that no matter what decision I make I will hurt someone. On one side I have my husband, who I can see longs for his wife back, and on the other side I have a guy that has loved me from the start and I know would treat me right. Should I stop the divorce or move on?
certainly have yourself in quite a dilemma. Your real problem,
however, is not which guy to choose, but how to get your head on
straight so that you know what you want. You are talking about what
they want not what you want. It sounds like they are both in love
with you, and that’s great. But I don’t think you are in love with
either one of them. Your husband has treated you badly and I’m sure
that killed much of the love for him. Don’t stay with him because he
now “longs” for you. He made mistakes in the relationship and has to
be held accountable. And it sounds like you are using the other man
because he is convenient and makes for a good back-up plan.
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Carolyn Bushong, L.P.C, is a Licensed Professional Counselor with 25+ years of experience working with people who want to solve personal issues, OR find a healthy romantic relationship, OR improve a relationship they are already in. She has authored and published 3 relationship books, and McCall's called her one of the top relationship therapists in the country.
Besides her successful private practice as a psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado, her credits include 4 appearances on the Oprah show, a segment appearance on the View (reviewing her book The 7 Dumbest Relationship Mistakes Smart People Make), and other television appearances too numerous to mention. Carolyn also has a radio show called Therapy Thursday on KYGO 98.5FM, Kelly & Rider’s morning drive time at 7:30 am in Denver, CO.
Carolyn helps clients all over the country, some who come into her office and others who receive Carolyn's expert advice through phone counseling. Carolyn Bushong is an excellent psychotherapist, but she also lives what she teaches, as she is in a happy, healthy relationship with Alan, her mate of 21 years. To find out more, go to her website at www.carolynsays.com.
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