"My Husband Is Ashamed of Me"

Adrienne feels she can't compete with Bob's exciting career and chic colleagues. Can this marriage be saved?
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Her Turn

"You Look Like Somebody's Grandmother"

"Bob is embarrassed to be seen with me," said Adrienne, 37. "A few weeks ago, we were getting ready to run errands. I was wearing an old blue jogging suit, and when Bob saw me, he snapped. 'You look like somebody's fat grandmother. Don't you have anything nicer?' I didn't have the energy to argue, so I changed into a sweater and jeans.

"In the two years since Bob became the head of his department at the advertising agency he works for, the gulf between us has widened. I know he thinks I'm not as pretty as the pencil-thin women in his office. Well, I gained twenty pounds with each of our two sons, and no amount of dieting will make it go away. Bob can't deal with it. When we have dinner with friends, he always makes a nasty remark about what I order. He'll even grab a cookie or doughnut out of my hand.

"I feel as if I'm in constant competition with Bob's female colleagues. They're cool, while I'm the dumpy suburban mom juggling orthodontist appointments and soccer matches. It's not that I want to be like them; I just don't understand why Bob thinks such superficial things are so important. He used to love me for me. Now he expects me to change into somebody else.

"Everyone in his office is quite close-- too close, if you ask me. They're always hugging and air-kissing. The company encourages it by hosting picnics and parties, with no spouses invited. I don't think it's smart for Bob to be so chummy with his associates.

"I'm dying to know more about Bob's business, but he hardly ever tells me about it. One night, he was complaining about staffers making too many personal calls. When I tried to explain how we handled the issue at the office where I used to work, he just gave me a cold stare and walked away. I felt so alone-- but that's nothing new to me.

Their Background

"I grew up in a suburb of Cincinnati with my three younger brothers. To the outside world, we were the perfect family; in reality we were miserable. My parents fought constantly, and I became the pawn in their battles. Mother would do nothing for hours, then fly into a rage. She used to hit me-- with anything she could grab-- and tell me I was stupid, fat or totally incompetent.

"I met Bob during my sophomore year in high school. He was my first and only boyfriend, and the one person who really listened to me. We were the couple everyone knew would live happily ever after.

"Thanks to Bob, we carefully planned our lives. He's much more organized than I am, and I love the way he always knows what he wants and goes after it. I'm much more laid-back about things, whether it's the housework or choosing living-room furniture.

Continued on page 2:  Her Turn, continued

 

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