MURPHY’S LOVE

Advice on Intimacy and Relationships

DEAR STACY:

I married a man who I knew had different political views than I did. For a long time – 10 years – that didn’t seem to be an issue, he had his opinions (conservative) and I had mine (more to the left). I actually used to find our debates to be a turn-on. But now we have two little girls and I am worrying that their dad’s increasingly- Tea Party-like opinions about things could have a lasting impact on them. I avoid social events because I’m afraid he’ll say something embarrassing. It used to be that we were from different political viewpoints, but it’s starting to feel like we have different values. Is this a good enough of a reason to get a divorce?

– On the Left, Afraid of the Right

DEAR: LEFT,

Are we looking for a “good enough of a reason” to divorce?

You are not the only spouse married to someone with a differing viewpoint who is feeling a little more pressured at this time of year (or is it this time of every four years?). Thanks to an unrelenting news cycle and lots of blinking outlets for information, the regularly scheduled arguing might just seem a little louder this time around. But you just jumped from political debates being a turn-on, to them being a reason for divorce. That’s an enormous vault. Let’s look a little more before we leap.

You aren’t too specific about how Husband’s opinions could have a lasting impact on your daughters, so I would rather not make assumptions about the details. If you are worried about their safety, then you absolutely should make arrangements to keep them secure. But if you are concerned about having their feelings hurt simply by being exposed to a certain set of ideas, remember that you can always be the personification of the counter argument. In fact, together you can teach those girls how to see various sides to any issue. Not a bad thing to learn at home.

But my suspicion is that your daughters’ egos are just a “better” reason for you to get serious about a rift between you and Husband. Have you noticed other differences in recent years – thoughts on childrearing, conflict styles, interactions with family members – that also reflect a shift in values? If so, please take the time to talk with him in the presence of a third party (clergyperson, couples counselor, etc.), before making a decision about divorce. Being calm and curious about his changes might help him feel safe enough to really consider what’s driving his evolution in the first place. Who knows what you both might learn if you take some time and start working on this together?

DEAR STACY:

I live in a summer sublet apartment and my roommate’s parents are visiting AGAIN in early August. They were here for FIVE DAYS in June to move her in. They came back to “bunk” with us for 4th of July, and now they’re planning their third trip for “ fun” before they come back midmonth to move her out. They stay in her room when they visit, but they really take over the whole apartment, not to mention MY LIFE for 4-5 days each time. I’m all for close families – I love my parents and talk to them on the phone weekly – but this is INSANE. I was expecting a fun summer with lots of interesting stories, but all I seem to have are details (and I mean DETAILS) of their visits to all the Smithsonians because they share them with me every minute I’m home.

-Mommy and Daddy Issues

DEAR ISSUES:

WOW. You don’t say anything about the size of your sublet, but I’m assuming it’s not big enough for you and a family of three on a biweekly basis.

I feel for you, but really, you must know what I’m going to say? All together now, Have you said anything about this directly to Roommate? If not, stop reading this and give her a call. Right now. Just go.

This behavior is baffling, to say the least, but perhaps Roommate has no idea how uncomfortable this makes you feel? Maybe she feels just as uncomfortable and would just LOVE an excuse to get them not to make the drive into town next month? Or she might have a good reason for wanting all this Mommy/Daddy/Daughter special time. Be calm and ask her to clue you in. Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and see where that leads you. If she fails the “Dude, seriously?” test, then you can just meet them at the door next time with a prorated bill for their share of the rent and utilities, and chalk it up to learning a life lesson about the right questions to ask any future roommates. ★

Stacy Notaras Murphy is a licensed professional counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist practicing in Georgetown. Her website is www.stacymurphyLPC. com, and you can follow her on twitter @StacyMurphyLPC. This column is meant for entertainment only and should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling. Send your confidential question to stacy@georgetowner.com.

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Sat, 25 Oct 2014 10:33:51 -0400

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