"The Holidays Bring Out the Worst in Me"

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His Turn

"She's Ruining the Holidays For Me!"

"It's not that I don't care about Kim. It's that we don't have a marriage anymore," said Steve, 46, a postal worker who moonlights as a guitarist in a band. "Kim has become increasingly distant and I don't know why," says Steve. "We never make love. She's either too tired or not in the mood -- unless she has a glass of wine. I hate that; she can't feel attracted to me unless she's a little tipsy? Although I'm happy that she's happy with her career, the fact remains that we spend very little time together. 

"The Kim I used to know was smiling and carefree. I was surprised when she told me about her family and weight issues, because to look at her, you'd never imagine she'd had it so rough as a kid. I noticed early on, though, that Kim was reluctant to have company over. I love having people over, even if they drop by without calling. And I love everything about the holidays; every tradition carries tremendous meaning for me. As a kid, my mother would spend weeks cooking and decorating the house to the rafters. One of my favorite times was picking out a tree with my father and brothers. I love having meals surrounded by the people I love. Now Kim tells me she doesn't even want a tree, doesn't want to cook and doesn't want people over. She's ruining the holidays for me!

"I'm Patient, but I'm Not a Saint"

"I was the youngest of four. My mother, a homemaker, and my father, a postal clerk, each had eight siblings, so to say we had large holiday celebrations is an understatement. People were always coming in and out of the house. That's why I don't mind if my cousins and their kids sleep over. But Kim hates every minute of it.

"I know my son-in-law is difficult. He's like the bully of the playground who picks on the one kid he knows he can dominate. I've spoken to Justine, and she assures me that Eric is a good man and a good husband. Kim is just supersensitive to things that most people would ignore. Yes, he's sarcastic. Yes, he's condescending. So what? It's better to let his comments slide than make a huge issue of them. I don't think it's asking too much for her to grin and bear it, especially during the holidays.

"I was flabbergasted when she announced in this dictatorial voice that this year she didn't want a tree or holiday desserts. This is supposed to be a family time -- I don't want to be decking the halls by myself. If it's a question of cleaning up, I'll do it all! But while I know the eating disorder was an ordeal, it's in the past. I think she's unreasonable to deprive everyone else of holiday goodies.

"You know, I'm patient, but I'm not a saint. The holidays make her miserable, but now they're making me miserable, too. It's as if Kim's on another planet, and I can't reach her. Enough already. Why can't she be happy?"

Continued on page 4:  The Counselor's Turn


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