"He Wants Me to Be Donna Reed"

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The Counselor's Turn

Avoiding Confrontation

"Maxine and Drew had a 'polite' marriage. Both avoided confrontation. What's more, they had never hammered out the specifics of their plans for the future. Drew had assumed that Maxine wanted the settled family life he was working hard to provide, simply because she hadn't told him otherwise. Like many people who are afraid of commitment, Maxine found it easier to focus on what Drew wasn't giving her than to acknowledge her part in the marital mess.

"Much as he loved Maxine, Drew was afraid of pushing her further away by objecting to her affair. But sometimes you have to risk losing someone before they realize that you are serious. Finally, Drew found the courage to order Maxine out of the house until she was ready to work on this relationship. Maxine spent the next two months living with friends; finally, realizing that she didn't want to lose Drew, Maxine ended her affair and moved back home. 

"Both Drew and Maxine prided themselves on being good communicators, yet they'd never had any meaningful conversations about their goals. Maxine expected her husband to know instinctively how much her work meant to her and what direction she wanted her life to take. I urged her to talk about her goals and feelings.  

"Similarly, Maxine had assumed that Drew was negating her work, when in reality, he was trying to help in the only way he knew how. She also realized that as much as she loved the challenge of her job, the stress was indeed piling up. One way for both of them to cope was by talking about their day. They found it a very helpful way to reconnect and feel supported.

Continued on page 5:  The Counselor's Turn, continued


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