"We Almost Lost Our Daughter -- Then Our Marriage"

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His Turn

"There's No Room in Her Life Anymore"

"I know this marriage is meant to be," said Sean, who is fit and tan with dark hair and deep brown eyes, "but we're having a very hard time now. Leigh and I used to talk for hours. We could be on a desert island and not need another soul. I know children turn your life upside down, but I feel there's absolutely no room in Leigh's life for me anymore. She's totally wrapped up with the girls.

"Leigh lives in a state of nonstop worry, and her craziness makes me crazy. The doctors have said that while we have to be careful about Stacy, we shouldn't be paranoid. Yes, Stacy still has some problems, but they are minor and our life could go back to normal if Leigh would just let it. The girls deserve a normal childhood; as parents, we need to back off and let them have it. Whenever I try to tell Leigh this, she doesn't hear a word I say. She makes it sound as if I don't care about her or our children. She tells only part of the story.

That bike ride that she makes such a big deal about? Once, when I was really stressed, I grabbed my bike and went riding. I love biking and never get to do it anymore. Leigh makes it sound like I abandoned her for the whole weekend.

"I Feel Like She's Not There For Me"

"It's amazing that she thinks I ignore her because, basically, I feel she's not there for me. We never make love anymore and hardly even talk about anything other than the twins. The time I told her she was interrupting, I was really upset because she'd just barked at me for some reason I can't even remember, probably something as ridiculous as how I didn't add the right detergent to the load of whites or criticizing me for how I make dinner when I do manage to cook on the weekends. I don't want to be spoken to like I'm some jerk who can't do anything right. 

"I've started to feel so unhappy and lost. What I find really hard to handle is the arguing -- we fight all the time. Stacy's ordeal has brought out the worst in us. Usually, fights start over something small that gets blown out of proportion, like Leigh's nasty comments when I took the girls to Dairy Queen or when I suggested they be allowed to go to birthday parties. While I knew that she was trying to keep them off dairy, I didn't think a little ice cream would do any harm. And you know what? It didn't. What can I say? I just want my children to have a normal childhood, to let them hang out with kids in the neighborhood, and for my wife not to get all bent out of shape if they sneeze. 

"I grew up in Indiana, the third of nine kids. Although my dad can be abrasive and critical -- I remember a lot of angry outbursts at my mother -- we were all close. I moved to Colorado for college and worked at a tennis clinic on weekends. The day I met Leigh, I mustered the nerve to ask her to play tennis with me in the afternoon and that began this amazing, whirlwind relationship. Back then we were so incredibly happy, I feared it was a fairy tale and wouldn't last. Now I'm beginning to believe I was right."

Continued on page 3:  The Counselor's Turn


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