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He won't grow up

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  May 13, 2011 08:46 AM

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You'll get to see "Bridesmaids" entries on Monday. Still waiting to get OKs from readers to post.

And ... go Bruins.


Q: Dear Meredith,

My husband and I have been married for a few years and I am reaching the point where I want to start thinking about children. I am in my mid-twenties and he is a few years older. Problem is, my husband seems to be moving in the opposite direction. He tells me he wants to have children soon but his actions say otherwise.

I'm not sure if he has really changed or if I have matured and he has stayed the same. He has gone out a few times over the past year and gotten into fights at bars. While I don't think fighting at any age is acceptable, it is certainly not acceptable at his age.

Recently he took a boys vacation for a long weekend and didn't call me once. This has happened before and I was livid after the first vacation (and also hurt that he did not feel the need to make sure everything was OK at home). I thought I got my message across after the first vacation but obviously I didn't. Now he is planning another boys’ vacation for later in the year. I don't think it is my right to say he can't go (and he also would never tell me what I can and can't do), but how do I make sure I get my point across?

Another time, I was traveling for work all week and he made plans to hang out with friends the night I got home. I would understand if he had had the plans for a while, but he made them at the last minute and didn't see anything wrong with it. It really hurt my feelings that he did not want to see me after I was gone all week.

And it has been numerous little things over the past year or so. I am a very easygoing person but I feel like he completely takes advantage of it.

We have "talks" and he always says I am right and that he can see my point, but nothing changes. How do I get him to see me as his number one priority, not his friends? How do I get him to believe that I am serious and will not continue on in a relationship like this? Should we try therapy? Or is it not realistic to think he can change?

– Confused, Charlestownr


A: I'm not worried about his occasional insensitive decisions, his self-absorbed trips with friends, or the fact that he forgets to check in with you while he's gone. But the bar fights concern me. I mean, what are the bar fights all about? Is he depressed? Does he have a problem with alcohol? Anger management?

That's what I'd talk to him about, what he's trying to accomplish (or escape) with this behavior. Because the other stuff is pretty typical. Most people don't start behaving like perfect parents until they're really parents. To me, this is about what he does when he's not with you -- how he behaves and why.

Not surprisingly, I'm going to say a big yes to the therapy question because I think that you should talk about the fights in an emotionally safe place with help from a professional. I think that your other questions -- the ones about insensitivity -- will be answered when you start asking about the bigger stuff.

And when you tell him that you want to go to therapy, keep your tone empathetic. He sounds like he's just yessing you whenever you give him a lecture. Treat him like a friend. Tell him you just want to make things better for both of you.

Readers? Am I right about the real problem? Is it so bad to go on trips and not check in? How can the letter writer fix her marriage? And should kids be on the table? Help. Weigh in on song of the day.

– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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