Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: Last week’s question from a woman whose husband had been gone on travel for weeks — and she didn’t miss him at all — hit home. Hard. Realllly hard. (http://bit.ly/NotFonder)
I’m in the same boat, only add that my husband is a highly functional alcoholic + refuses to go to counseling. It’s a waste of time and money, according to him.
Does your answer change? It’s not resentment or contempt — I just don’t care anymore.
Dear Hit Home: Serious problem + his refusal to change + your loss of motivation to keep trying (equal sign) trial separation, at least. Talk to an attorney first, on your own, to get your financial and legal ducks in proper formation. I also suggest you talk to a good family therapist — again, on your own — who specializes in treating families affected by alcoholism. It has its patterns and predictability, so let that work for you for a change. Take care.
Dear Carolyn: My parent has stopped giving gifts — with a repeated ridiculous declaration of it for years — and I find it antisocial. I find it uncaring and insensitive and hostile, quite frankly.
I have heard people show love to someone the same way they HOPE people will show love to them. I’m also not saying just because you give a gift you should expect to receive one.
But for my parent to give me — their child — a gift every once in a while would mean the world to me. “Here, I saw this, thought of you and want you to have it.” Is there a problem with that?
Dear Anonymous: On the surface, no.
But one layer down, it looks remarkably similar on both sides: Your “Why don’t you just buy me a token something because you know that’s important to me?” bears a strong resemblance to the non-gift-giver’s “Why don’t you just give up on expecting gifts because you know I measure love in other ways?”
Ideally two people will each defer to love a little, and also hold their ground a little, in the interest of being generous to others without giving away their sense of self.
To get there, though, both must want to be flexible for the greater good.
A value I feel the need to promote on an almost daily basis lately.
Anyway, that can be where you start — talk to your parent about finding something to replace gift exchanges, because the ritual marking your affection for each other was important to you, more so than any gift itself.
Re: Gifts: My husband and I aren’t perfect, but this one we have figured out. My love language is gifts. His is quality time — he scores zero on gifts. So for special occasions, I give him a list and he chooses something for me. For him, I plan special dates or getaways. So instead of battling, we are able to give and receive love as each of us needs. It requires understanding and a willingness to compromise, though. I had to give up on the idea that my husband would ever surprise me with some big, romantic gift he found by himself. And he, who is super practical and doesn’t like to spend money, has learned to yield for special occasions.
Figured This Out
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