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Dr. Tom, Tom Smith, Ph.D.
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Dr. Smith has been offering counseling for over 37 years.
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I am 60 and doing some studies instead of working. It looks

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I am 60 and doing some studies instead of working.
It looks like my wife, who is still working try to control all my activities and make my life very dull. I have tried to explain but not successful. What should I do?

Deardebra : Her personality sounds like she is someone who needs to be in control of her life and that includes you. There is a reason why she does this, she could be someone that is very routine and like to stay on schedule. She could be worried if you get a new hobbies because she worries about you. There are always reason why people are controlling. Now I want you to think about if she always was controlling or did something happen in your lives that changed things.

Something happened

Deardebra : Would you like to talk about what happened? When something happens in life utter can fully change a relationship,depending on what happened she feels that if she feels Luke she is in control it will never happen again. Life events can bring changes in people. Some times it will bring on fear.

As a contract engineer I had to go way from home to work in various cities in the country. Now I tried to come back to Melbourne but could not find work. I decided to retire early and did some studies to work part time. She is now earning more and feels like I have to be under control to make her money worthwhile.


I appreciated her financial contribution but feel losing control of my personal friends and interesting activities.


I thought there must be a better arrangement a she still wants to spend the rest of her life with me.


How do I turn the table in having an interesting lifestyle instead?

Deardebra : You were away a lot so now she finally has the time to be with you,so life has changed quite a bit. Now she is earning more money so she is looking at protecting her future so you both do not have to worry. She is looking making sure you both will be financial ok. But you also have to live your life. You can plan for the future,but you also have to balance your life and the things you want to do. She needs to understand that if she takes things awayshe is taking away the person she loves. You can not stop your life because you will become unhappy. There needs to be a compromise.

Is there anything that I should try or a strategy to embark upon.?


Just an example, she is doing all the cooking because she is very choosy and like to control.


Some time I said I do not need her to cook for me. This brings argument because she expects me to appreciate.


But I do need to have a say in what I eat. I used to cook for myself when away.


When we have no problems, she tries to create one so I cannot do my own things.

Deardebra : If you say too her that she doesn't have to cook for you, instead of looking at it as a kind gesture that she can take a break from cooking she takes it as you don't appreciate her cooking or she could think you don't like her cooking.
Deardebra : So you need to approach this in a new way.
Deardebra : You need to say too her that I thought you might be tired of always cooking and I would love to cook fir you one night to show my appreciation.

She is fancy with eating and does not let anyone cooking for her.


This is just one example. Now she does not let me drive. I am now just sit next to and be a navigator at times.


Very strong will. When i worked and earned more than her, it was not like that.


I was called to apply for a job in rural Queensland but I do not think it is good idea to go that far by myself. We live in Melbourne.


There must a better way for a good relationship.


I just feel being slowly put in a box that I do not want.

Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1852
Experience: I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
Dear Debra and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
I notice that you have not mentioned anything about what you may do together. What interests do you have in common? In what areas can you identify that you can share. Also, if you get the job in Queensland, which as you say, is quite far from Melbourne and a bit of a different culture, would you both move? If so, that would be something that you could work together on. If you get the job and start traveling again, rather than relocating, your circumstances will be different and you will not be subject to as you say, "being slowly put into a box I do not want." and things may return to as they were before. In any case you might continue to explore the "sharing option".
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank Dr. Tom,

She will not move to another state. I had worked in Perth for 3 years commuting. However as the kids now live away, we need to stay together just in case something goes wrong with our health. It is my responsibility as well as hers.


Yes it is good to do something together. However she does not have a lot of non work actitivies except going to Gym and watch TV. I am more outgoing (extrovert), having friends, going to social dancing etc. She is more introvert and like to "direct" me her than "persuade".


Yes we are going overseas this summer (Australia) for 3 weeks. Hope that helps. Also I am trying hard to get a teaching job of some sort in Melbourne.


But how do I manage a person with strong "personality" without being "hurt" ? Feel bad at times




Firstly, you cannot change her, but accept her for who she is. What you can change is how you receive her message ... think of it this way: you are really not be ordered about, but that's she is communicating her needs to you ... it is her style. Perhaps you can reframe the experience where you do not think of yourself as being "ordered". No one can really hurt your feelings unless you let them. Sometimes people who have a need to order others have their own internal issues and "ordering" others relieves them of their discomfort. Try not to take it personally.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am trying. Really I feel sorry that she is a litlle lonely outside the workplace and tried to help as much as possible.


Yesterday, when she called me out for dinner, I told her:

- If you think you do me a favour by cooking for me then don't do it because I cannot pay you back.

- ???

- I am going through a difficult period of my life now and cannot accept any more favour. I rather cook for myself and owe nobody this that aspect.


To my surprise, she turned around and said that she needed to eat dinner with me as a family. I said if you offered then I accept it but I wouldn't ask for it. It is a little comfort that I can have dinner with her on an equal footing.


But I still need to maintain some "rights" in the relationship. Please add some more options, strategies, tactics, hard, soft.




John Thuy

Your wife has responded to your need to be together as equals. Sitting at the table together is good. You both have a right to mutual respect. This has been accomplished through the simplicity of a meal. Build on this. Maybe it is time to take a walk together and talk about how you get along.
Wash the dishes together and then go into the springtime evening and have a heart to heart conversation. See where it goes. You can do this. May good things happen.
Dr. Tom, Tom Smith, Ph.D.
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 23
Experience: Dr. Smith has been offering counseling for over 37 years.
Dr. Tom and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
I am glad, Mr. Thuy, that you have considered these observations of some value. Continue to keep the door of communication open by having regular sit-downs or make that walk after dinner a romantic habit. Even at 60 there is still some heat in the kitchen. If something specific comes up, consider "Just Answer" as a resource; however, if things get anymore complicated, you might want to find someone local to talk about things at length face-to-face. All the best!

Dr. Tom

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