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Ask Dr. Norman Brown Your Own Question

Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 884
Experience:  Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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I am having problems with my husband at present. Last November

Customer Question

I am having problems with my husband at present. Last November we went to a family wedding where we were staying with all relatives in the same house. I asked my husband's adult children to clean the kitchen the night before the wedding at the request of one of the other guests as she said I shouldn't be doing it. My husband was not at the house when this occurred & ofcourse a few words were exchanged. Every since, things have been very frosty between us as more relations stayed with us after the wedding for a number of weeks. Of course we had blow up's during this time as he was alway's so mean to me. Since the relatives have left, some days are ok & others are very cold. We used to have such a great loving relationship for 12 years before this. I have aways supported & stood by him when things went wrong with himself & his children. He now say's he needs space & just do not know what to do as I love him very much.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Jen Helant replied 1 year ago.
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Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

I don't understand enough of the problems to give advice yet. I can advise you to request an appointment with a qualified marriage therapist (I am one but can't be with you in person), or ask you to clarify where the sticking points are now. It sounds like one of the problems is that he may not have been clear enough about what bothered him about your asking his adult children to clean the house. Perhaps you could get him to explain what's bothering him by inviting him to do that in an email. When face to face communicating is too explosive, it can soften your differences to invite written communication, because then each person will read everything the other wants to say before responding, and will usually reflect on how best to respond, instead of just letting his or her reactions take over and push the other away. It is way too common that men don't know how to express themselves clearly, and their awkwardness gets expressed in unpleasant overreactions. So some careful management of communication with expert assistance may be enough to move you back towards more trusting resolution.


Please don't assume I'm going to offer you just one suggestion, like the one above. I'm sure Jenhelant's computer response was aborted in the JA system, since I know she wouldn't assume she'd written enough as it presently appears.


I can also read and suggest alterations in your own written messages to him, if you explain where the blocks seem to be at present. It also sounds like there may have been some unexpected overreactions by his offspring that set him off, as well as setting up a tug-o-war over who gets his strongest loyalty and credence. There might need to be some negotiating about that issue to improve things between you in the future.


Is any of this leading towards greater clarity? I need to understand better what happened.


I also wonder how the two of you have gotten around to resuming your communications in the past when something led to an impasse. Knowing how you have gotten back to talking before could help with repairing things now.

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