Archive for July, 2011

July 18, 2011

He’s married, I’m a single mother, he wants me to lie for him…….

by Rod Smith

“I have been in a relationship with a married man for two years. He left open his emails and his wife read them. He asked me to lie and I did. I didn’t want to hurt her or their children. I have tried so many times to end it. I do love him I am disgusted with myself. His wife has told him he will lose his children and house and he told me he would kill himself. So I have supported him so he has the strength to work through his marriage. I don’t know how to stop his emotional need for me to help him. We met was in a training course where he was the teacher. Before me I know of 3 other women he has slept with. What concerns me is he is an authoritative figure where I work I feel he has some major behavioral problems. I really need some advice on how to handle this man without compromising my self or my career. I am a single mother.”

Every ounce of energy you direct towards him supports your mutual pathology. You are at least as troubled and compromised as he is. Until you expose all of this at work it will continue.

July 6, 2011

He keeps inviting me to watch movies and……

by Rod Smith

“My husband of 7 years suddenly wanted a divorce and so I moved out since the house was his when we met. Now he keeps inviting me over to watch movies and have sex. I go sometimes because I still love him but I don’t want to be used either. What do you think his intentions are? We have been separated for over a year. The divorce is not yet final. Any input would be helpful. Thanks.”

His intentions are to watch movies and to have sex. That’s it!

I regret to tell you that you are being used and will continue to be used while you comply.

The man has not grown up. He wants a sexual relationship with no commitment or responsibility and he’s found a perfect match, at least while you are cooperative, in you.


July 6, 2011

Our intimate life is boring……..

by Rod Smith

“My husband and I were happy until the birth of our son when our relationship changed. After our son was born he started cheating, lying, and drinking everyday. We spent less time together than we used to. I thought we were friends, but now it feels like we are distant cousins. Our sex life is boring.”

Your future must seem painfully endless!

While I am sad that you are victim to your husband’s cruel behavior, I am also sad for your child who is witnessing a marriage he could hardly want to emulate.

Please read David Schnarch’s book entitled Passionate Marriage. I will warn you that it is the very best book on sex and relationships I have ever read.

While the book is very explicit, it is never pornographic.

It is to be read as a whole, cover to cover, before judgments are issued on its worthiness.

The book outlines the journey of couples who have lives as miserable as you describe yours to be, and offers valuable keys for all marriages and all relationships.

I have gotten into hot water for recommending this book to couples.

Not only does it promote strong,  healthy sex lives, it challenges people to live full, complete, and adventurous lives.

July 6, 2011

For my in-laws it is all fun……

by Rod Smith

“My in-laws are a pain. They want the children (9 and 7) whenever they click their fingers and think we must drop everything because they phone and want to do something fun. My husband jumps to their every wish and I am sick of it. He’s like a little boy around his mother. The children love them because it is all about fun while I am left with the hard work of parenting.” (Edited)

Spend time alone with your in-laws. Tell them about your frustrations. Fun people are often happy people. Happy people are usually able to understand multiple sides to situations. Speak up about what you see and what you need. You might find your husband and your in-laws are more than able to accommodate and even alleviate some of the sources of some of your frustrations.

But, you are correct – parenting is hard work. Your letter suggests that you too can be quite hard work. You might want to try and enjoy your in-laws as much as your children do. If you join the fun you will be as much a part of your children’s good memories as your husband’s parents will already be.

Get your part of the fun real-estate in your children’s memories. Having your children reflect forever on how much fun they had with their grandparents certainly won’t be too much fun for you as time rolls by.

July 5, 2011

It’s usually a boundary issue…

by Rod Smith

Enduring (long-lasting) relationship difficulties can usually be traced to ill-defined boundaries.

Boundaries (fences, walls, lines on a road) surround us.

Some are unseen. People give couples “room” to be couples even though there is no visual demarcation.

Internal boundaries are “the lines I draw” inside me. These “unseen” boundaries are the reasons I don’t steal, hit annoying people, or say everything I think.

Boundaries support necessary separateness, space, definition, and therefore provide necessary clarity.

Separateness, space, clarity, are essential for individual growth and the wellness of any family or community.

Boundaries keep us apart and together by keeping us healthily apart and healthily together. People who are too close, and people who are too far apart, stunt or distort their potential.

Two imperfect illustrations:

Every time a vehicle is on the road a driver must obey (honor, acknowledge) many rules, and respect many boundaries or, of course, accidents occur, build up occurs, people are injured, and things are damaged.

Trees cannot grow to full height if planted too close to each other. If planted too far apart, their unified capacity to provide shade is limited.

Adults (except in very unusual circumstances) are responsible for establishing and maintaining their own boundaries. Boundary maintenance cannot be left to another no matter how much love or care or history is shared.

July 5, 2011

Friend gets offended if I don’t call….

by Rod Smith

“My friend and I talk on the phone a lot. Yesterday I was very busy and I forgot to phone. When I did he reamed me out like I was a schoolboy who did not do his homework. What do you think I should do?”

Apologize. Call him exactly on time the next time. Tell him you were very busy and that you are sorry for your insensitivity. Remind him that adults are better off when they offer each other the freedom to be late, the opportunity to be wrong, and even the room to sometimes be insensitive.

Remind him your forgetfulness was not the result of malicious intent. Tell him you love him, that you are pleased to be his friend, but that friendship with him would be very much more rewarding (for both of you) were he to grow up, develop a thicker skin, and resist talking to you as if you were a schoolboy who’d not done his homework.

July 4, 2011

My husband has me so scared…….

by Rod Smith

“My husband is a controlling, jealous, alcoholic. He has me so scared. I love my husband but I can’t stand living like this. His drinking is bad. His controlling is causing us to fight all the time. I tell him to relax but he just keeps it up. I hate to come home from work. I want out but yet I know that he can be a good man. He is a loving man when he wants to be but can change in a second. Can someone help me?” (Edited)

You can help you. If you have had the courage to negotiate the past years with a difficult and ill-mannered man, I know you possess the tenacity to build yourself a great future.

While you compromise yourself to live with a man who is occasionally good and sometimes loving he will control every day of what is left of your life.

Here’s a five-step formula:

1. Find your inner resolve to stay out of control.

2. Join Al-Anon who will help and encourage you.

3. Gather around you a small group of supportive women (this may take months).

4. Hatch a plan among you – a plan for you, not for him.

5. Take yourself by surprise and move out and move on.

July 3, 2011

Being bi-polar is not a license to be manipulative or abusive

by Rod Smith

“You recently listed 15 ‘pointers’ that make for relationship hell. I am 70 and have experienced every problem you listed since not long after we were married 50 years ago. Strangely, there was no sign of what was to follow during our two-year engagement. When I found out that he was Bipolar after 36 years of marriage, I blamed all these relationship problems on his being Bipolar. Is it possible that he also has an additional personality defect? I have tended to be tolerant because I thought him to be mentally ill!”

Being bi-polar is not a license to be manipulative or abusive. Regardless of age, the length of a marriage, or the degree of personal and interpersonal difficulties, I suggest all people resist and refuse to accommodate abusive behavior from any source. It is good for no one, not the victim or the perpetrator. Rock the boat – even after all these years, things can change.


July 1, 2011

Achieving MUCH with YOUR life is a profound act of mothering

by Rod Smith

1. Enriched is the woman who does not lose herself to her marriage or motherhood. She has a strong spirit of independence while being a loving wife and mother.

2. Enriched is the woman who does not accommodate poor manners (being taken for granted or being victimized) from anyone (not husband, children, in-laws, siblings, or her parents).

3. Enriched is the woman who lives above manipulation, domination, and intimidation. Her relationships are pure and open; her boundaries are defined, secure, and strong.

4. Enriched is the woman who does not participate in unwanted sexual activity. She honors her body as her private temple and shares it, even in marriage, only by her own deliberate choice.

5. Enriched is the woman who has developed a strong, clear, identity. She regularly articulates who she is, what she wants, and what she will and will not do. She is unafraid of defining herself.

6. Enriched is the woman who knows that pursuing her dreams to be educated, to work, to accomplish much, to expect much from her life, are profound acts of partnership in marriage and profound acts of mothering. She knows that the woman who “takes up her life” does more for herself, her husband, and her children than the one who surrenders it.

July 1, 2011

Power-struggles with a boy…..

by Rod Smith

“The man I am living has a son but when we moved in together I did not think he would be living with us and only see his mother every other weekend. His dad goes easy on him and that’s okay. When I try to say something I’m the bad guy! He told his dad and grandma that I am mean. I just don’t let him get away with stuff like his dad and others do. I have 3 children who know that I don’t let them get away with stuff. The man I am with does not see that his son is running his life. I have been going through this for three years. Please help.” (Edited for clarity)

Three years is a long time to be in a power-struggle with anyone – let alone a child! While you are not married to the father the child will always win. Actually, when you are married, too, your “power” over the father and the son will also be rather limited.

This said, you now occupy no legal position in the family and therefore the father has no motivation to hear what you are trying to say, or to see what it is you see in his son’s behavior.

Give up the struggle. Let the dad and grandma be the “good guys.” Become “silent guy” (regarding the child’s behavior) until you are legally empowered to play your part.

Before I am deluged with mail and told I am advocating for the child to have no boundaries, or advocating lawless behavior for the child, please note, it is not the child who has the issue.

The woman wants power (I am sure for “good” reasons) over the child which she simply does not have. The person who does have the power (the dad), is choosing not to use it!

Marriage might not change anything, but at least it will give dad some incentive to hear his wife about the child.

A legal contract DOES make a difference to a relationship. The woman’s status will change even if the boy’s behavior does not!