"He's Jealous of My Success"

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His Turn

Polar Opposites

"Sharon calls herself up-front, but I think most people would call her pushy, bossy and demanding," said Seth. "She's always in my face, and I don't appreciate being put down because I haven't done something exactly the way she wants, or in the time limit she deems appropriate. My standards for cleanliness, for example, may not be at her antiseptic level, but we're not living in a pigsty.

"It makes me furious when Sharon assumes that her way is the better way, so I walk out of the room. I refuse to get into a shouting match with her. That's not my style; besides, I never win an argument, anyway. I'm sick of being the bad guy around here, and I can't stand the way she talks to me. So when she pushes me to the wall, I blow up and we end up in another rip-roaring fight.

"It's certainly news to me to hear her say I'm a good father. You'd never know it from the way she treats me. It's not easy living with a woman like Sharon. I fell in love with her energy and feistiness; she was fun to be with. But those qualities have come back to haunt me.

"There's no question in my mind that Sharon's work takes up way too much time. Sure, I understand she has to go the extra mile in order to advance, but she has eaten dinner with the family twice in the last month. When she promises to be home, she invariably shows up late. Weekends are often even more chaotic. I know she enjoys her work, but we hardly have any time alone together anymore and she simply doesn't spend as much time as I think she should with the kids. If that's the way it's going to be, fine--but then where does she come off criticizing what I feed the kids or what I do with them?

"It's certainly news to me to hear her say I'm a good father. You'd never know it from the way she treats me. It's not easy living with a woman like Sharon. I fell in love with her energy and feistiness; she was fun to be with. But those qualities have come back to haunt me.

"She Makes Me Feel Worthless"

"Like Sharon said, soon after we married, I tried to resuscitate this half-dead electrical-supply company I inherited from my uncle. When that went bust, I started a computer-service company out of my home. It wasn't growing as fast I had hoped, so, as my wife's job got more demanding, we sort of fell into our current arrangement. I don't think either of us planned it or expected it to last this long. I know I didn't.

"Sharon does all she can to make me feel worthless. Many times, she talks out of both sides of her mouth: She says she needs and wants me to be involved with the kids, but she second-guesses me all the time. I'm Mr. Mom, with all this responsibility, but she doesn't treat me like an equal partner. She treats me like I'm her lowly assistant. She makes 100 percent of the decisions.

"Yes, Sharon had to drag me to counseling, but maybe it will help after all. We certainly haven't been able to call a truce on our own."

Continued on page 4:  The Counselor's Turn

 

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