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When your mate retires, expect change, and expect to adjust your life style.

Her husband has been retired for a year, and she’s ready to go back to work.

“Since he’s retired he thinks he has first rights to the laptop. He thinks he should be able to check his email first. If I want to answer emails and catch up on the news, heaven forbid. If I’m using the laptop and he wants to use it, he looks at his watch impatiently. If that doesn’t work, he pouts.”

“Last week when I was out, he rearranged my dishes and spice rack. Then he tells me how much more efficient his arrangement is than the one I’ve been using for the past 37 years!

“If one of my friends stops by for a visit, he participates in our conversation. If I say, ‘We’re going out on the patio,’ he says, ‘I’ll join you.’

When he invites himself I think, ‘Go make your own friends.’

“Because he has more time since he’s retired, he’s always wanting me to invite our children over for dinner. Or he wants me to have friends for dinner and cards. I like our children and friends, but I’m the one who gets stuck with the preparation and most of the clean-up. And I get tired.

“When I go to the grocery store, he wants to go along. Yesterday I was picking out some strawberries, and he said, ‘They look bad.’ So I didn’t buy them, but I thought they looked perfectly fine. When I was getting the broccoli he said, ‘We haven’t had cauliflower in a long time.’ I knew what he was saying. ‘Get cauliflower instead of broccoli.’

“If I go outside to garden, he tells me to come in and take a rest or come in and have lunch. He is not respectful of my routine.

“I was signing up for a course at the botanical garden. When he heard me on the telephone he said, “Sign me up, too.” When I got off the telephone, I thought, ‘I’m getting myself a job.'”

This couple is suffering through a period of adjustment. She’s used to organizing and running the home, having the house to herself part of the time, and deciding her own schedule.

Her husband is probably lonely for companionship and hasn’t figured out how to handle all the additional hours he has recently gained with retirement. Because of his need for interaction and time structure, he’s coat-tailing on his wife’s schedule. It also seems he’s trying to run his wife’s life.

I suggest that this couple decide who is going to run what show. Perhaps he will start being responsible for the cooking on Tuesday and Thursday nights. If he hasn’t cooked in the past, he can sign up for a cooking course. This will give him contact with more people and a new interest and will help fill his time.

I also think a revision of who does what chores around the house is appropriate at this stage.

As to his desire to visit with his wife and her friends, the wife needs to hold steadfast to not always having him join them. This may mean that she will have to gently confront him when he says he’ll accompany them. She might say, “Tom, we need to have some girl talk.”

When a man or even a woman retires, it’s a period of adjustment for many couples. The main thing is for both people to figure out how they would like to live their life on a daily basis and then make a plan. Without a conscious plan, many relationships suffer the retirement blues.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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Why it’s so difficult to end a relationship.

Dear Doris,

Three months ago my girlfriend cheated on me with someone from her workplace. When I found out the next day (from another source) I ended our relationship. Prior to this point I was completely infatuated with her. I was prepared to marry and start a family and I had no idea that things were not as wonderful between us as I thought. She immediately entered a relationship with this person and a week later was telling him she loved him.

I know this because she continued to talk to me and told me these things.

Over the past few months she would call about once a week and describe how terrible things were with this guy and how they were always fighting. She now says she wants to leave him, to get out of her relationship with him, but she’s worried about hurting him.

It’s only been three months and I still have every strong feelings for her. I guess I’m writing this to get some advice on how I should proceed. I would like to have a relationship with her but how would I know if she really wanted it or if I was just a reason to break up with the other guy?

This woman sounds like she needs to grow up. As for you, once you love someone it’s hard to simply turn off your love. It takes time to turn down feelings and let go of your hopes and dreams of the future with this particular person, even if that person has stepped on your heart. My advice is tough it out — get support from your friends, and then start looking for a new relationship.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

How to Handle an Abusive Spouse

They were getting ready to go to a party. She was all dressed. He demanded that she change her dress. “He didn’t like the way it looked,” she said. They got into a huge argument. Finally she backed down and changed her dress.

The other evening a friend called to talk. Within five minutes he was telling her it was time to get off the telephone. He thinks she should talk to her friends and her mother during the day.

He continually points out how much money he makes in comparison to how much she makes, as if their individual worth as a human being were determined by their paycheck. At one time she did have a better paying job, but he demanded that she quit because she had to travel and he didn’t like that.

If they’re at a party and he wants to leave, they leave. The other evening they were with friends and she started to feel sick. She wanted to go home. He refused.

Why does she stay in the marriage? She says she loves him. They have fun. She wants to have a baby. She’s hoping he’ll grow up.

—————

Rose is also married to a bully. She’s been married to him for 44 years. All their children are out of the nest.

“He complains about everything,” she says. “We’re driving down the street and I’m looking at the beautiful trees. He points out that the neighbors haven’t put away their trash cans. I say, ‘Look at nature. Don’t look at the trash cans.’ He says I have my head in the sand.

“He expects to be waited on. When’s lunch, when’s dinner? And then he never makes a suggestion for what I should fix.”

“When I ask him to help, like take out the trash, he says okay. But when two days go by and the trash starts to smell I take it out. He then tells me I have no patience, and asks why everything has to be done on my schedule.”

“If I get irritated with him about anything, he puts me down, tells me I’m stupid, and then refuses to talk for a few days.”

“Last week there were no towels in the bathroom. I had taken them to the washer. Instead of getting himself a towel, he fussed, ‘There are no towels in here. Get me some towels.’ Our linen closet has not moved in 20 years.”

“If I want a new lamp or carpeting, I have to fight for it. When I tell him I’m going shopping with a friend, he tells me I have enough clothes. We live carefully and I do not overspend.”

“He puts me down in front of our children. The children have said they don’t want to come visit if we are going to argue. So I say nothing when he makes rude remarks. Sometimes I wonder why the children don’t say anything to him.”

Why does she stay married? She wants a companion. She wants to be a couple. She’s fearful of being poor.

I suggested to both of these women that they detach. They need to pull back emotionally and stop arguing and trying to get their points across. Detaching is a little like watching a scene in a movie and having no feelings.

When the first woman’s husband wants her to change her dress, she should say nicely, “This is the dress I’ve chosen to wear. Next time I’ll wear something different.” When her mother or a friend calls in the evening, she should take the call if she and her husband are not having dinner or doing something together. She should be respectful of their time together as a couple but also respectful of herself. When her husband talks about how much money he makes, she can say calmly, “It’s nice that you bring in a good paycheck.”

The second woman’s goal should be: Not to respond to her husband’s inappropriate comments. Nor should she roll her eyes or show by her body language that he’s gotten to her.

If he complains about the neighbors’ trash cans, she should say nothing. If he complains about her wanting to put in new carpeting and they can afford it, she should get new carpeting and stop the ugly discussions.

Because he resists seeing the house as half his responsibility, she can make a list of what she will do and not do anything else. This may mean that the basement, garage, and closets never get touched. Or she should decide to hire a cleaning service periodically. Another choice would be to do all the tasks and take pleasure in a job well done.

Men who are bullies are not nice people. What I regret about women who live with bullies is that they often become not nice people themselves in response to their mate’s bad behaviors.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

Why people complain, why it’s bad, and how to stop it.
Complaining is a real drag in any relationship.

Have you been grumbling, complaining, and whining to someone recently about your job or an unfulfilling relationship with a mate or friend? Why are you doing this?

Chances are your complaining is a way to make contact with the person you’re complaining to. If you can get the person to listen, even briefly, you get some attention. And this attention is important because it makes you feel better about yourself. It helps you forget about those job difficulties or the other people in your life who have been letting you down.

At the same time, too much complaining can be destructive.

If you complain too much about your job, others will start to see you as passive or unmotivated because you’re not doing anything to correct it. If it’s really that bad, think about a transfer to another department. Start checking the online job search sites. Beef up your skills. Do something to make your situation better. Act instead of fussing.

A constant stream of complaints about your mate also gets old after awhile. Work to fix the problem. Insist on seeing a marriage counselor together or go yourself. If you change the way you relate to your partner, it’s likely that he’ll change. If you can’t get him to change his behavior, you can work on handling it better.

Health complaints also drag your listener down. Most people do not want to hear how much sleep you didn’t get, or how your teeth are bothering you. Instead, talk about a class you’re taking or a book you’re reading or a movie you’ve seen recently.

Another problem with complaining is that you tend to frame the problem. It’s as though you put the problem in a picture frame and then it takes on more significance in your life because you focus on it.

Complaining sets in motion operating from a pessimistic frame of reference. Always we have problems to deal with in life. No one escapes. But continually focusing on problems is not helpful. And it certainly wears on those around you.

Think of the people you enjoy being with. They are people who are upbeat, laugh, and give energy. They are not people who spew out a steady stream of complaints, grievances, and ailments.

If you’re feeling down and start to complain, decide that you won’t go on for more than a few minutes before switching to a more positive discussion. If you need to do more fussing, at least call another friend and spread your complaints around.

Another option: think about what you want from the person you’re complaining to. If it’s more attention, perhaps you’ll ask the person to join you for lunch or a movie instead of complaining.

Also, ask yourself, Is there any way I can fix this particular problem? If there is, get busy.

This week, listen to yourself. See if you can stop those endless complaints. You’ll like yourself better. And so will those around you.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

What increases and decreases someone’s self-esteem.
Everybody wants it. The amount you have changes hour to hour, day to day. How you get it depends on two factors: how you think others view you, and the perceived control you have over your life. When you don’t have it, you’re not happy. When you have it, you feel great. What is it? Self-esteem.

How much do you know about this illusive, have-to-have-it-for-happiness quality? Some recent research findings might surprise you.

Getting in trouble with your boss will not necessarily lower your self-esteem. If you’re a person who doesn’t care about what others think and tend to do what you please, your boss’s criticism won’t faze your self-esteem one iota. On the other hand, if you’re a pleaser and your boss is unhappy with your performance, expect your self-esteem to take a tumble. Too many tumbles and you may find yourself heading for a depression.

Most people tend to exaggerate their abilities and as a result boost their self-esteem. Because people have a need to see themselves as successful, they have learned to overestimate their abilities and underestimate their shortcomings. Call it our ability to figure out a way to feel good about ourselves.

People who have low self-esteem often report feeling a high level of stress, as well as depression. Modern society greatly emphasizes personal achievement. When a person doesn’t measure up, he often blames himself, with bad feelings the result.

People who are loved and admired as well as successful will almost always have high self-esteem. High self-esteem involves a favorable evaluation of self. When one is loved and admired, it’s easy to view oneself in a favorable light.

Self-esteem may vary greatly hour to hour but it tends to remain pretty much the same through the years. It’s easy to understand how landing a big sale will boost one’s self-esteem one hour and a fight with a friend will lower it the next, but why self-esteem remains somewhat constant year to year no one knows. Maybe we’ll find that self-esteem is also linked to our genetic makeup.

People with high self-esteem expect to succeed in whatever they undertake. Perhaps this is so because the high self-esteemers already have a number of successes under their belt. So why wouldn’t they be optimistic that the success pattern will continue? If you want to raise your self-esteem, all you have to do is compare yourself to one who is doing worse than you. Most people use the mechanism of downward comparisons to boost their own self-esteem. Looking around for someone who is worse off or has less talent is a universal practice to maintain one’s own self-esteem.

People with high self-esteem usually cope better with failure. Research has shown that when people with high self-esteem fail, they defend harder and blame others more, thus keeping their self-esteem intact.

People with low self-esteem have a more difficult time taking risks than those in the high self-esteem category. People with low self-esteem will guard against further erosion of their self-esteem, thus the lack of risk taking.

When a person acts unethically or immorally, he or she will downplay the consequences of the bad behavior to maintain self-esteem. People are masters at deluding themselves and believing that their behavior isn’t really all that bad.

Self-esteem has a high impact on happiness. The more self-esteem one has, the more happiness one experiences. Perhaps this is why we delude ourselves about our talents and abilities, how much we’re loved and admired, and how our immoral and unethical behavior affects others.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

Stop thinking about making changes in your life, and start doing something about it.

Maybe your complaint is, “We rarely do anything as a family.” Pack up the children and head for the zoo. You can take four hours out to do something together. If one or two family members can’t go, take those who can.

If you say, “We never get together with friends,” call another family and meet them at the park with a bucket of fried chicken. It will take all of an hour to get everyone ready and pick up the chicken.

Need to move to a bigger or smaller house? Look at the real estate ads and go for a drive. Maybe stop at a few open houses. It’s a beginning.

Do you spend all your time working, cleaning, paying bills? Set a time — one o’clock, two o’clock, and at that hour no matter what, get out of the house. Go to a movie, go for a bike ride, go to a driving range.

If you’re having a family get-together and you think you do all the work, ask others to help out.

If you keep saying, “We need to visit Aunt Lucy,” get your calendar and set a date. Don’t put it off.

Dislike your messy garage each time you pull your car in? Take one hour today and start cleaning it. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish in an hour.

Drink too much on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays? Decide how many drinks you’ll allow yourself and stick to your limit.

If you have frequently thought, “Jim and I should be out there walking,” go for it. Throw on those walking shoes and get moving. If Jim says no, go anyway. Maybe your teenager or neighbor will join you on your walk.

How many times have you said, “I’ve got to get back on track with my exercise program.?” This is the day. Dust off that treadmill or stationary bike and start your program the minute you finish reading this blog.

Sometimes the most difficult part of change is getting the courage up to start the process.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

How to react when your child accomplishes something.
Show pleasure in your child’s success. Smile, laugh, clap your hands, give her a hug, invite him to take a bow. When children are praised for a job well done, they’re likely to try hard to present to you another job well done.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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