dear njigirl,

What should I do? My wife loves to party and she has continued even after having two children and all through the 15 years of our marriage. She goes to a party every Friday night and comes back early in the morning, so drunk that I don’t let our kids see how disgusted she looks. I am even afraid she might be doing drugs on these night-outs. Her closest friend is a divorcee and is known for her very reckless lifestyle. She is the one that calls my wife religiously every Wednesday to say where they are going on Friday. I am so tired of babysitting our two sons, aged 9 and 7.

I can only go out on Saturday since Sunday is the family outing. But I don’t even want to sit anywhere together with my wife because she truly disgusts me. Really, what do I do?

 ν Joe

Dear Joe,

I am sure you often ask yourself where you missed it and why you didn’t stop this trend nine years ago but then again it is not solely your fault. Your wife is incorrigible and she appears to be bent on her way of having fun bar none.

Before I totally condemn her let me ask you some questions: since you have been married for 15 years, when was the last time you told her how beautiful she looked? How often do you ask her to dance with you? Have you noticed her attempts at weight loss? And since her weight loss attempts failed, have you told her that you love her the way she is – curves and all? Do you still appreciate her cooking? When did she begin this nightlife and why? Could it be because of your own attitude towards the things she likes, her wishes and hobbies? Have you offered to pay the babysitter on Saturday so you can go hang out with her? Have you told her so-called girlfriend that “you will take it from here” meaning that you will provide the fun that your wife craves? If you suspect she has a drug and alcoholic problem, have you asked her if she needs help? Do you provide her with the things that she asks for?

All right so you don’t think that I am totally on her side, let me direct these questions to her. Lady, do you realize that after having these soon-to-be teenage boys, you need to cut it out?

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What need do these parties fill for you? Have you talked to your husband to see how both of you can create your own fun? At your age why must you be seen in a drunken state? Do you not know that it is sheer irresponsibility and that your children do not need to see this? Why are you hanging out religiously with someone that your husband has no regards for? Does the so-called girlfriend really care about you and your well-being? Since her own marriage ended up in flames, is she trying to burn yours too? Why would you jeopardize your family for the sake of fun? Do you do drugs at these parties?

If so, you must immediately check in at a rehabilitation centre for your sake and the boys. Are you even thinking about them? What do you expect of your husband? You need to dialogue with him; I believe he is ready to deal.

Please remember that two wrongs do not make a right. So this is my point. Many couples are in a rut in their relationships and just patching it up. Some will react by doing things that ordinarily are out of character. In the end it is all to seek attention. I urge couples to look into the soul of their loved ones and find out where they are hurting. Instead of harbouring resentment speak to him or her and find out what you could do better to make her happy. Do you know that 70 per cent of married couples admit cheating on their spouse? The number one reason given across the board is lack of attention. One woman boldly stated in one of the studies: “He does not care about me any longer, he doesn’t care how I look so I became attracted to the guy next door who smiles at me and calls me gorgeous every morning as I walk to the train station.”

Similarly, men have been quoted to say: “My wife has stopped caring about her looks, she put on so much weight and does not even get a decent hair cut anymore.”

The bottom line is that if you do not pay attention to the needs of your spouse, he or she will seek attention elsewhere.

So Joe, my advice to you is to dialogue with your wife. Tell her how you feel about her nightlife. Share your fears and your concerns. Hear her out and then ask her what you can do to bring back the spark. Make attainable promises and most of all let her know that you love her. Do not get into a shouting match of what she did three years ago and all that guilt. Agree to look towards the present and build up for the future. Be the bigger one in the relationship. Do not impose your will upon her. If you secretly wish that she no longer speaks to that rotten girlfriend (you know the one who caused everything) then just say that you will like to be in on her plans with her female friends. If you openly say, “I don’t want that lady calling you”, she will be resentful and antagonistic and will want to assert her rights, she will resist you and will continue talking to the lady. Be mature about it. Do not rule her life, instead share her life and be there for her. She will love and respect you and together both of you will raise those lovely boys.

Good luck,

ν Dr. NJ