DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been married 11 years, but together for 15. We've had our ups and downs as normal couples do, but lately it seems like everything she does, I try and find something to nitpick and argue over. In fact, I kind of enjoy it.
There was a recent misunderstanding that led to an awakening of a jealous side to me that I never had, and now I can't seem to turn it off. When she goes to her chiropractor appointment, I call to make sure she has the appointment for the time she told me. She spent time visiting her dad and aunt, and even that made me jealous. I feel like if I keep this up, I may lose her.
We had a baby five months ago, and he's very needy, much more than our older child was, so that's also putting a strain on our relationship. What can I do to be a better husband and not get angry at her for the dumbest and smallest things?
- Frustrated Husband in California
DEAR FRUSTRATED: You say this new behavior started because of a "recent misunderstanding." I wish you had mentioned what it was, because it would have been helpful to know. Did the misunderstanding make you feel insecure, or just angry and punitive? Or is the fact that your wife needs to share her time caring for the new baby what's bothering you?
If you haven't already talked this through with your wife, you should. The arrival of a new baby can result in not only the arrival of a bundle of joy, but also bring with it postpartum depression, fatigue, physical aches and pains and lack of physical desire.
If these are what's setting you off, you should both discuss what's happening with her doctor. If that's not the cause, some sessions with a licensed psychotherapist may help you find the answer you're looking for.
How can parents
help shy son?
DEAR ABBY: My 17-year-old son has always been very shy. I don't think it helps that he's now 6 feet 6 inches tall and obviously stands out. Recently at a sports event, which his team won, there were celebrations that were caught on video, and I could see him milling around outside of the "celebratory circle" of his teammates. It seemed very sad that he didn't feel comfortable enough to jump into the huddle. When he was asked to join his teammates for lunch, he said he wasn't hungry.
He has known many of the kids on his team for more than six years and has hung out and been on sleepovers with some of them on many occasions, so it's not like they are strangers. My husband thinks we should just let him find his own way in life. I desperately want to talk to him and see if I can't get him to be more sociable, but I'm not sure how to achieve this. What would you suggest, Abby? Leave him alone or intervene, and if so, how?
- Mother Of A Shy Guy
DEAR MOTHER: I would suggest a little of both. Because you are concerned that your son is isolating himself, talk to him about it and try to find out why. However, you should not push him into doing anything he's not comfortable with. And if he appears to be happy with his life, let him live it and, as your husband says, find his own way.