"Our Dog is Coming Between Us"
Her TurnYearning for Approval
"I know this sounds ridiculous, but Ted and I fight constantly about our dog," says Robin, 27, an executive in a university's public-relations department. "We've only been married for a year and a half, but Penelope, our six-month-old English springer spaniel, has become the focus of constant arguments: how to discipline her, what she should eat and how often... The bottom line is, Ted and I rarely talk, rarely make love and rarely have fun anymore.
"We knew we'd fallen into an unhappy rut and thought Penelope would be a bond. I'd get home from work around eight-thirty or nine. Ted had already eaten and was usually zoned out on the couch, well into a six-pack.
"Ted and I met seven years ago when I took a summer job pumping gas at the station where he worked. Everything about Ted attracted me--he's incredibly sexy, funny and bright. For a time he took refuge in a nondemanding job while he figured out what he wanted to do. Now he's back in school studying for a degree in business.
"My father disapproved of the relationship, but he disapproved of everything I did. My parents are both British, though I was born here; my mother is an administrator for a parochial school, and Dad is an industrial engineer. He had a Victorian upbringing, and he laid out tough rules. I could never please him.
"I'll never forget a conversation I had with my dad at the end of my freshman year. I chose English as my major, but he wanted me to study math or science. When I told him I'd made the dean's list, all he said was, 'Any idiot can get a 4.0 in English.' He even threatened to stop paying my tuition unless I switched majors.Storybook Romance
"Ted and I had a perfect summer romance, but when I returned to school, the disparity between where we each were in life proved too great, and we broke up. Still, I never stopped thinking about him.
"We bumped into each other at a party the year after I graduated. It was totally electric between us. We both knew this was it. A few months later, we had a storybook wedding.