"I'm Worried He's Going to Cheat on Me"

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His Turn, continued

"I'm from a working-class town, the youngest of six kids. My parents were loving but inattentive. Dad worked long hours at his gas station to support us; Mom ran the house. In retrospect I got lost in the crowd. Mom and Dad never praised me or encouraged me to excel in school; my eldest brother -- he's 10 years my senior -- gave me constant grief, ridiculing my looks and telling me I'd never amount to anything. So I grew up shy and insecure. Since I doubted my intelligence, I skipped college and settled for a job in construction.

"At 16 I went through a growth spurt and developed muscles. Girls started smiling at me, and I grew more comfortable around them. I was attracted to Kim the instant I saw her but I never dreamed that a graduate student would be interested in a construction worker. Even after we had a great time that night in the bar, I couldn't tell whether she liked me, so I gave her my number instead of getting hers. I was so grateful when she called!

"We clicked on our first date and soon were inseparable. I adored everything about Kim -- except her jealous streak, which revealed itself early on. She'd make snippy comments when someone smiled too eagerly or stared too long. I tried to brush off her reactions, but that only riled her up more. So we fell into this tiresome routine where I acknowledge that someone has been flirtatious, reassure her profusely that I did nothing to invite it, and tell her that she's the only woman I want. It's a huge drag and it's been like that for our entire relationship. But since we became parents and I started my company, it's gotten worse! It's true I've received more attention in the past five years -- not because my looks are dramatically different but because I feel good about myself for the first time in my life. I love being a father and I'm proud of how well my business has done. They say confidence is attractive. Unfortunately, the more women stare, the more Kim doubts my fidelity, rejects me sexually, and criticizes me for working too much. It's a vicious circle.

"Now Kim has started working extra shifts on nights and weekends -- time we should spend together as a family. It irritates me because we don't need the money and Kim's boss asks at the last minute, leaving me to scramble to find a babysitter if I've scheduled a meeting. I think she's doing it to punish me.

"I love my wife but I can't live under a constant cloud of suspicion, always wondering when she'll explode in a jealous rage. Counseling is our only hope."

Continued on page 5:  The Counselor's Turn


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