"We Keep Tearing Each Other Down"

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His Turn, continued

"I grew up in Philadelphia, the youngest of four kids. My father owned a successful furniture store but he was an alcoholic who drank his salary. My mother handled all the household duties but also worked as a secretary to make ends meet. Dad wasn't physically abusive but he'd rage at my mother. I remember lying in bed at night, shaking as I listened to him. Amazingly, she still waited on him hand and foot. He never lifted a finger. My parents finally got a divorce when I was 17. 

"I always had lots of friends, but I was a mediocre student. I went to college in Colorado -- I wanted to get as far away as possible -- but dropped out, moved back to Philadelphia and found a job in commercial real estate. I've never looked back. I enjoy meeting people and have a good head for structuring deals. 

Working Together

"People always ask, 'How can you work with your wife?' Well, we have the same vision for the company and, fortunately, we also have an ability to put personal stuff aside in the office. We have to -- our financial future depends on it. If only we could do the same at home. 

"When we first married, we couldn't wait to be together at night. Now she goes upstairs, I go downstairs. Or I did. For the last two weeks I haven't been living there at all, and it has been unbearable. I miss my family more than I ever would have dreamed.

"There are so many things I wish I'd done differently. That said, Nikki has changed. She used to be even tempered and playful. She liked going out as much as I did. Now she's irritable, defensive, and nasty, just like her mother. Still, I couldn't face my children, or myself, if I didn't try to patch things up. This time around, I'll give it 200 percent." 

Continued on page 5:  The Counselor's Turn


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