Dear Dr. Monique,
My husband has not worked in over a year. He spends a lot of time on the computer; he says he has been applying for jobs but I feel he is not trying hard enough. I have been covering all the bills for the past year and it has been very stressful for me.
Recently, I discovered that he has been visiting porn websites. I am very upset by this and now wondering if this is how he has been spending his time instead of job hunting. Should I confront him and let him know that I am aware that he has been visiting these sites?
Dear Stressed Wife,
Communication is very important in a marriage and I certainly think that you need to talk to your husband about your discovery. Please note I said talk and not confront. How you approach the situation can sometimes make all the difference in whether you get the outcome that you desire. Try to approach your husband from an empathetic view; not having a job for a prolonged period of time can definitely have a negative psychological effect on someone. Let him know that you are concerned about him and also let him know how his behavior has been affecting you. Avoid assigning blame to him for the current situation and avoid speaking to him in a judgmental manner. Hopefully this approach will encourage him in his job search and lead him away from the porn sites.
Dear Dr. Monique,
My mother in law suffers from dementia. Two months ago my wife and I agreed to have her move in with us so that she can be closer to my wife and the grandchildren. Within the past two weeks my mother-in-law has become verbally abusive to my wife; this has even happened in the presence of the kids. I know my mother-in-law’s behavior is a result of her illness but I no longer believe it is safe for her to remain in our home. I would like to put her in a nursing home. My wife has always said she could never put her mother in a nursing home. How do I discuss this with my wife without sounding insensitive?
Dear Concerned Husband,
I am sorry to hear about your mother-in-law’s illness and I am sure that it must be very upsetting for your wife. I congratulate you on your willingness to have her live with you although I do understand your concerns. Rather than immediately assuming that a nursing home is the best option, have an open and frank discussion with your wife about your concerns. Always remember to speak to her with empathy. Brainstorm together about different ways to properly care for her mother, including the possibility of hiring someone who can care for her in your home. Consult with your mother-in-law’s healthcare providers for possible alternatives. If ultimately you do decide that a nursing home is the best option, you want to ensure that it is a decision that you made together and that your wife is in full agreement.
Dr. Monique is an award-winning graduate of Harvard Medical School, who completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC. She has years of experience in counseling and discussing relationship issues. Ask her your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org