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Daily Columns Archives

 

June 1-12, 2002

 

Constantly Hungry,

Letting Go

and

Marriage Drama

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I am constantly hungry and eat all the time. I try to cut back on what I eat. Everyone in my family is big and weigh over 200 pounds. I am already at 175, and I am trying not to reach the family benchmark. What should I do? Is there a diet plan for me? I want to be able to take off my shirt and show off a six pack not my rolls of fat.

There is a lot of new research about why some people are always hungry and gain weight. It seems to have something to do with their insulin production and their bodyís response to insulin. Often these people have diabetes in their backgrounds.

I have a daughter with the same concerns. The one thing that researchers have found is that eating no concentrated sweets, and a lot of daily exercise helps your kind of body type. I am talking about 45 minutes to an hour and a half a day of aerobic and weight-lifting exercises. Everyday. No slacking.

Eating mostly protein and veggies and little whole foods carbohydrates works well with this body type. We also need to mention the amount of food to eat. Portions of meat and carbohydrates that are no larger than your closed fist each and all the green veggies you can eat, with low calorie dressing. There are several body building books that do very well in explaining this sort of diet plan. Dear Mrs. Web and her family have used Body for Life and Strong Women Stay Slim. Sensible ideas and achievable goals.


 


Dear Mrs. Web,

There is nothing I want more than my son to be happy. I respect and believe in the fact that when a man takes a wife, she is to be first in his life.

I am a single mother with 3 sons and I come from a large, close-knit family. My sons and I have weathered quite a few of lifeís storms together, but it only made us stronger and closer. Recently, however, my oldest son dated and then married a young woman who is unbearably possessive of my son. She is taking him away from me and his brothers.

Also, in any given situation, on any holiday or celebration day, her family comes first with them. When I talk to him about it he tells me I am selfish and to just "get over it". I am so hurt.

They do not treat the two families fairly. They stay much longer at her familyís house and just stop by for a few hours at our house. I call him and call him but he wonít answer his cell phone and when I call her parents house looking to speak with him I am treated rudely by the in-laws.

Yesterday was a Recognition Day at our church for seniors and I called looking for him. His mother in law sharply told me that since I had them last weekend for church, they were going to church with her this weekend. When I explained that this was a special service and that I was to be honored, she hung up. My son later called me back, and angrily told me I had upset his mother-in-law, and that I couldn't expect them to change their plans at the last minute. He denied that I had told him about this the weekend before. I also explained that I had tried to reach him throughout the week but he wouldnít return my calls. He said he would not be at the service but would stop by that evening. I told him not to bother, we had other plans.

My son and his wife never hesitate to ask for my help. When they are in need of wedding showers, baby showers or a truck with a moving crew, my large family through for them. I've had enough!!! But I don't want to lose my son. I will be a grandmother this fall and so desperately want to be a part of their baby's life. Am I selfish or am I just wanting a fair shake?? Please help.

Mom, it is time to let goÖ I know it hurts and you are sad but your demands and grasping are driving your son and his wife away. They need to make their choices on who they will spend time with and not parcel their attention out because of your emotional demands.

Yes, your in-laws are getting more than you. I donít know whether it will be always true or not, but I do know that if you keep up your calling and complaining you will cause bitterness and divisiveness in the family that will never heal.

No one is tying your son down, he is ducking and avoiding you and making these choices all by himself. He needs some space away from you and the best thing you can do is give it to him. Stop calling. When you have an invitation, give it to him and his wife once, and drop it. The sky will not crack open if they do not come. Donít you want your sonís presence because he wants to celebrate with you, not because you browbeat him there??

If you want to be part of the babyís life, then stop trying to control the couple, and stop counting the times who visited who and when. It will make you sick and poison your outlook.

 


 

Dear Ms. Web,

My husband and I have been married for ten years. We have five children ages 2 through 10. This past year has been full of trials for our marriage. I had no sexual desire for a whole year (while I breastfeeding my baby) and my husband strayed, left the family and then returned.

Months later, I took our children and left him. I registered them in a new school and but I pulled them out of that school and returned home with them a week later. It was too late and he had already moved out.

He says that I will never change. He says I punish him when I am angry. He says he has lost many of his friends because he wasn't being a good friend to them (because I didn't like him going out all the time). He says I spend too much money and I lie to cover up. He also says I shouldn't have told my parents about our problems. Even moving furniture around our home has made him angry with me. I have done many things wrong and I'm not sure I can change I need to because of my faith.

My question is can I? Is it too late? Do I continue to hope that my marriage will be saved by my working hard at myself?

My dear, both you and your husband have five children and some pretty difficult patterns to overcome. You both seem to enjoy drama in your lives. Now it is time to grow up and treat each other like adults. You both also need to realize that 5 children in 10 years places you in the busiest and most straining time of a marriage.

In your shoes I would find a stable married woman who can mentor how a successful woman of your faith would behave. Your husband should find a good married man to mentor him in how to be a faithful and loving husband and father. You both need to also see a marriage counselor or pastor who can help you both work within your faith together.

It all begins with humbly begging each other for forgiveness and asking for an opportunity to try again as a team. It is worth the try for the children, and for yourselves - for there is no grace and comfort like married love.

Best,

Dear Mrs. Web

 

 

Swapping Spit, Time for a Baby?

My Fiancť - The Former Tom-Cat,

 My Ex and My Parents

 

 

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

What happens if you love him but do not want to French kiss him. What should I do?

Dear Mrs Web frowns upon swapping spit with anyone but oneís spouse. In your shoes, I would say no thank you.

 


 

Dear Mrs Web,

I am 34 and have been married for almost two years. My husband and I want to have a baby but he was injured on the job and has been disabled for over a year.

I have been working to pay bills and I do all the housework. I am tired from my job and the household chores. I am getting on in age and everyone I know including my family is encouraging us to have a baby now. I feel like I am under a lot of pressure.

We are trying to get pregnant and I want a family, but only if my husband recovers. I also am not in the best of health and I still smoke. I havenít gotten pregnant yet and I am wondering whether all the stress and smoking are preventing me from having a child.

I donít know why you are not getting pregnant, but it sounds as if you are busy supporting and caring for your invalid husband and yourself. It doesnít sound like time to bring a baby home. 

I do know that stress is a factor in infertility. By the way, it is easy for people to encourage others to have a baby but that doesnít help with the seemingly endless two oíclock feedings, the mountains of diapers and bone-weary exhaustion of a new mother.

It sounds like you need to get your husband back on his feet again so you can get into a financial place where you can stay home with your baby(ies). 

You also may need to get yourself into better health. Have you had a complete physical lately? You sound so tired that perhaps you need a work up. It wouldnít hurt if you are due for one and you can discuss your childbearing options with your physician. 

As for smoking, fifteen years ago Dear Mrs Web quit a two-three pack a day habit. It is tough but it is the one single best thing I ever did for myself (besides Dear Mr. Web!). Keep in touch and let me know how your health improves.

 


 

Dear Mrs Web,

I am back with my former fiancť. We broke up for over two years, but now are seeing each other again exclusively. During the time apart, he was sexually involved with many women. He says it was just sex and that he had no emotional feeling for them. He said that I was the only one for him and that he has learned a lesson and wants to get married soon.

He is my first and only sexual experience and I feel terrible about how he acted while we were apart. Is it usual or possible for a man to just have sex with no emotional attachment? Is it wrong for me to have these thoughts about his past and can I make them go away? I am having a hard time, sometimes dealing with things he has done. I love him and I want us to go forward with our lives. Can we? We spend lots of time together and he is always talking about how our future will be. He wants children with me and with no one else.

You are involved again with a man you once knew intimately as a betrothed. I donít know what ended your betrothal but now you are back together. He has, during the two years you have been apart, been intimately involved with many women. Now you are back together and he is hoping to marry you.

You are concerned. I would be too. You have now seen a portion of his character that is truly questionable. How does a man have consecutive, no strings sexual intimacies with other women and then pledge honor and fidelity to you? In our culture, we hear how men are able and capable pollinators who do not have or need emotional attachments in their sexual encounters. However, this does not address their behavior, emotional maturity, or attitudes about women. There is a disconnect here between emotions, sexuality and moral foundations.

I would want to put this issue on the table and find counsel with other people whose character and judgment you respect: your parents, your minister, priest, rabbi, or older couple. I will also recommend the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye because he talks about men and the character issues of pre-marital sexuality.

There is another issue here. Women can lose their reproductive capabilities when having sex with men who have had many partners. Silent sexually transmitted diseases can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and sterility. He should have complete venereal workup as well as HIV tests. 

Yes, I know he told you he was protected. Have it done anyway.

 


 

Dear Mrs Web,

My ex husband called my family and told them about a problem we have been having with our young teen son and now my entire family is involved. I had told him  that I was not going to tell them at this point. He said that he just needed some feedback. 

I am suspicious. Running to my family for advice has not been anything, he has done in the past. I am not sure what his motivation was in turning around in less than 24 hours and calling "my" family, who lives, out of town, to get their feedback. Do I have the right to ask him not to mention big events to my family, good or bad? I have a good relationship with his family, for the childrenís sake.

Your ex overstepped a boundary in calling your family. Unless relationships are very cordial among marrieds and their in-laws, I recommend that the spouses take care of the difficult things with their own bio families. 

In the case of a divorce, your former husband has no legal or moral claim with these people and this is your family. If he wants feedback he should talk to his own family or write Dear Mrs Web.

 

July 16 through July 29

 

 

Un-neighborly, Thirteen Years Old and Acting Out, Leave the House, and Gossip

 

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

For the past 5 years we have been having issues with out neighbors, all we want is to be left alone.

The best way to be left alone is to be distantly polite and uninvolved with the person who is causing you difficulty. Cordial waves from across the lawn and suddenly remembered things to do will suffice to eliminate most conversation. Keep remaining conversation about the weather, what a nice day it is, how busy everyone is and isnít the foliage beautiful?

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I have been divorced for 2 years and started dating 4 months ago. I was introduced to a wonderful religious man who treats me like a queen. His wife left him three years ago and he is a full time father to his two daughters, ages 5 and 7.

My problem is my 13-year-old daughter. She recently has become rude to him and his family and acts put out when we are all together. We make plans to do things with all three children, and we try to do things we think they all will enjoy. My daughter has ruined every occasion we have planned in the past two months. We are not the types to leave our children home with sitters. We take them skating, movies and all sorts of other fun things.

Why is she behaving like this and how can I get her to stop?

Your daughter is unhappy about your relationship with this man and is trying to make sure you all know it. Children donít like change, particularly after having gone through the difficulties of divorce. She may not be planning this sabotage consciously, but she knows this man is a threat to life as she knows it.

There is also nothing as miserable at heart than a 13-year-old who is being upstaged by two cute primary-aged children! 

Her own momís attention is elsewhere, on this new man and his kids! She has no comfortable way of relating to a stranger-man, remember how painfully difficult it was to be around men when you were going through puberty? How painful for her! She lost her Dad as a daily family member and now she is losing pieces of her Mom, at a time she needs her most. Thirteen year-old girls are sometimes 13, sometimes 22, but are often needy 3 year olds in their behaviors and feelings.

Begin by spending a lot of time alone with your daughter, the kind of time and intimacy that you can use to have her start opening her heart to you about her feelings. I would let her talk about other things first, but over days or a few weeks of heart-opening talks, bring the subject around to your beau and his children and the future. Your pastor may be a resource for you.

I am assuming you both are planning to merge your families. Donít ever put children through this kind of trauma without a commitment, a ring, and a date. This is major work for any child to process.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web, 

A little over a year ago, I married a wonderful man about 10 years my senior. We each have 2 children, and we both adore them all. My two live with us.

I have in the past been a very shoddy housekeeper, to put it mildly, and had a bout with depression several months ago. I am making famous progress, the house is clean, and all was going well until my husband, whom I love dearly, told me this morning that he is tired of "all the little things," (I forgot to bring the trash can back from the curb, and he nearly stopped speaking to me for a week). He wants me to leave; it's his house.

He did not acknowledge our first anniversary, other than a very jaded "Happy Anniversary," Is there anything I can do to encourage him to try our relationship again? I have kept the house nearly spotless for almost a month now.  Since I have pulled myself together he has been very distant and angry. I hope you can help me. 

I find it odd that he became distant and angry since you started cleaning and caring for the house. Now he wants to ditch the relationship. Something is up, and it is more than a clean house. Letís face it, if it were really important to him to take in a trashcan he should have hopped out and dragged it in himself. To be angry for a week over such a trifle is indicative of other, deeper issues that need to be addressed, not just "little things."

Perhaps your depression triggered something in him. Whatever it is, it sounds like the honeymoon is over and the real work of marriage begins. It is time for straightforward communication. If you canít talk together then you need a third party, either a minister of your faith, or a marriage counselor with a good track record.

Marriages donít disintegrate over this sort of thing. These are issues of life and style. Get help. By the way, you are married now and have a claim on each otherís assets. Your husband cannot order you to move out like a pasha dismissing a servant. You are his wife!

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I have been separated from my husband for a year. My divorce will be finalized next month. I have been dating a wonderful man for about 4 months. I've known him for many years. We have kept our relationship a secret because my divorce is not final.

Recently a friend told me there was a rumor out that I was a lesbian! I was appalled, hurt, and angry to hear this. She refuses to tell me who said it. I do not think she is a good friend because she wonít tell me who said it. I want these rumors to stop because they are hurtful and untrue. How can I tactfully handle this vicious lie?

I have run into situations where a person has said this just to find out more information about someoneís personal life. The best way to handle rumors is to clearly deny them, with a surprised "Of course notÖ." I would be clear with her that the rumor is untrue and painful to you. Refuse to discuss the issue further.

Gossip is the playground of small minds.

 

 

July 10 through July 15

 

Another Occasional Opinion

 

 A new essay!  Although Dear Mrs Web is answering her letters, her column changes will be weekly for the next few weeks.  Changes in the Web household require her attention.  

Check through the Archives for past Dear Mrs Web columns!

 

 

The Importance 

of 

Communication

 

Recently a woman I have known for many years sat in Dear Mrs Webís kitchen. We drank coffee and talked about the wreckage of her life. For she was separated and spiraling towards divorce. She was staring bleakly at her future with three little ones and a rusty business degree. She talked and Dear Mrs Web listened.

This woman poured out the pain and betrayals of her life. Her husband had lied to her about the basic facts of his relationship with her. And continued to lie. When caught in lies he begged forgiveness, but over time lied again, and again.   He spoke lies of omission, so he would not have to confront his mistakes and lies to make himself look better. Worse, there were the lies to himself and a phony faÁade he showed the world.

She shook her head and added more coffee to her cup. "You know, Dear Mrs Web, " she said, "I finally understand something he said to me all those years ago when we were dating."

When I asked her what she meant she said, "One day when we talking I told him that honesty was very important to me. He said he understood my need for honesty. He then said: "I am certainly never going to tell you anything that might jeopardize our relationship. I would be a fool to tell you something that would hurt us."

"When he said those words a little wave of fear and warning skittered through my heart. What does he mean by that? I thought."

"However, everything was going so smoothly that I decided to let it go. After all, our budding relationship was going so well. I didnít want to confront him. I didnít want to face that this man who I was beginning to love deeply, might not be able to provide our future and me with the foundational honesty that I required for my life. I didnít want to do the work, draw the lines, set out the limits, and protect my future and myself. I sold my future, I sold what I needed and wanted in my life, for the security of his arms. Everything, I told myself, would be alright."

"At times, when I thought about his words, for I turned them over in my heart occasionally during these past fifteen years of marriage, I decided they must have been a sort of a pledge not to do anything to harm to our sacred marriage trust. It is amazing what the heart will do to have what it wants!"

I poured myself another cup of coffee, warmed up her cup, and stirred in a bit of milk. I asked her what she meant.

"Well, things went well over the first few years, but over the last five years the truth of his words have been obvious in our marriage. When he said that he would never tell me anything that might jeopardize our relationship, he meant every word of it. He would never tell me of any problems he had or that we had. He would not be truthful about anything that he thought might upset me. He would never expose any problems or issues he might have had. He would never confront me or ask for help. He would never have the ability to admit to problems so we could work it out. We have had a life of smoke and mirrors. The children and I now sit, twelve years later, on a marriage that was a lattice of lies."

This broken hearted woman rested her head on her arms and cried with shuddering sobs.

She continued talking as she wiped her eyes: "If only I had had the courage to have followed up on his words those many years ago, we would not be in the difficult place we are today. He would have learned what he needed to know to be the honest person I needed, and I would have learned more about his heart, his fears, and how to help him. We could have had a solid foundation and strong marriage instead of this instead of this slowly toppling edifice."

There were tears in my old eyes when this woman - wife - mother finished her sad words.

I tell you this story, Dear Reader, so you will understand the importance of clear communication in relationships. This womanís heartbreak is the reason Dear Mrs Web absolutely harps on courtship. It is in learning the heart and soul of the one who possibly may become the beloved that your future is written, and the future of your children.

There is yet hope in this story. The couple is trying to dig new and better foundations. With long hard communication work, an extended family that is pitching in to help (and holding its collective tongue, I must add!), a number of people to listen and encourage each of the spouses, and a church to pray for healing and reconciliation, this marriage has a chance. A slim chance, Dear Mrs Web knows, but at least a sliver of opportunity for the family to heal and go forth renewed.

 

 

 

 

 

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