Dear Maura: My wife is now too busy for us

Dear Maura

Chat about the situation in a relaxed way

Sunday World

Dear Maura: I’m worried that my wife’s promotion is taking her away from us, her family. She’s now earning twice as much as me, and with that comes demands on her time. Luckily I can work from home and take care of the kids. We’ve two. I take care of everything in the house. I don’t think she appreciates that. She’s a good mother when she’s with the children but work has become her total focus. There are social occasions that go with all of her responsibilities and that’s the other part that has me worried.

We don’t get a lot of time together but now we’re not making any effort. I can’t remember the last time we had sex. It’s like I’m watching us drifting apart and I don’t know how to stop it.

We haven’t been out on our own in ages. We usually go out with friends or family and when we get home she goes straight to bed. It’s marriage by numbers, going through the motions. I’m not good with this kind of situation and don’t know who to turn to. Doesn’t that say it all? My wife should be first on my list. Answer:You feel that your wife’s work is conspiring to take her away from you and the family. While this is happening, you’re watching and analysing how this is affecting all of your lives.

This shows you have an intimate understanding of everything but this hasn’t given you the push to do anything about it. You admit that you don’t know who to turn to. I think this shows you are thinking of some complex discussion. But why not organise a dinner when the children are in bed and let the conversation flow in a relaxed way?

Bring up anecdotes about the day or anything from your past. Keep the chat going, as the idea is to reconnect, not go down the road of analysis.

I don’t recognise myself anymore

Dear Maura: I haven’t bought any new clothes in five years. That was the last time I had money. Recently I got myself sorted, but what I didn’t realise was the effect that my financial struggles had on me. I treated myself to a day in town recently, but it turned out to be far from a treat. I stood in shops looking at myself in the mirror with no idea of what looked good on me.

It’s like I’ve lost myself somewhere along the way. I went home with nothing. Now I dread going into a shop again. A friend has offered to come with me but I’m not sure — that could make me feel worse. Answer:Take up your friend’s offer. Make a day of it. Don’t say it’s a day to shop, call it a day out. Have lunch, a glass of wine, and a good chat about anything and everything.

I think the stress you’ve been under financially has had a deep effect on you. Now you’re in a rush to move forward and buy new clothes as a symbol of leaving that part of your life behind. But you need to ease yourself into this experience of your new life.

Get advice from your friend, make the shopping enjoyable, and ask her to try on clothes too. Look in the mirror and see yourself having fun.

Email your problems to Dr Angela Brokmann Maura O’Neill All pictures are posed by models

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