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ASK ELLIE: Wife tired of husband's behaviour

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Counselling might get to the root of his choices

Q - How do I cope with an attractive husband who isn’t comfortable or willing to seek male company but easily settles in when the ladies are around?

Tired of It

A - Stop coping and speak up. This clearly bothers you, presumably because he doesn’t care what message his public behaviour sends to men and women alike.

He’s apparently been a ladies man on social scenes for some time, using his good looks to charm and hold onto women’s attention.

However, your brief mention of his discomfort in male company does raise a red flag: What’s that about?

Also, you’ve not mentioned how you’ve handled this so far.

Some suggestions:

Tell him that it makes you uncomfortable when he spends all his socializing time with other women as if he constantly needs female approval/attention even though he has a wife.

Ask him – and yourself – how this impacts your relationship. Is he as attentive to you? And you to him? (It’s only fair to look at both sides of this).

Do you two discuss each other’s personal interests? Also, consider how your relationship has fared during the period of social isolation (i.e. no groups of women hanging on his every word.)

Or, did he maintain online or phone contact with any of his women friends?

One question, however, may best be discussed in counselling (accessible online during the pandemic):

Why is he so uncomfortable in male company?

Since his overt preference for women as his social audience bothers you, it’s a logical step to suggest that he get personal counselling about it because it's affecting your marriage.

Readers: If youíve experienced similar behaviour from a partner, I’ll publish a selection, anonymously, of your responses.


Q - Different parts of the country are in the midst of opening up businesses and social gatherings, but many medical experts disagree with those plans unless there’s adequate testing for knowing who’s infected and tracing for knowing who’s at risk.

I sometimes feel hopeless that we’ll ever really be safe from the coronavirus.


A - During the pandemic, our mental health is being affected, which impacts our relationship with ourselves.

Dr. Susan Abbey, psychiatrist-in-chief at Toronto’s University Health Network, says it’s important that we remember that these are exceptional times.

“It’s OK to feel stressed,” she says. “One important message that applies to everyone is – be kind to yourself.”

She also cautions, “It’s important to recognize if you need help and to use the resources available.”

In her article of April 21, during Ontario’s ongoing social distancing to help flatten the curve of infections, she responded to common questions. Some of her answers:

How to cope with feeling imprisoned: If you're not required to be in isolation, take short walks outside (still keeping a six-foot distance from others).

How to deal with loneliness: Using technology, keep connected to friends and family. Check on two or three different people every day, so you have a social routine and feel helpful to others.

How to protect close relationships: Give yourself some alone time – a walk, a bath, read a book in your room. Check-in with people living with you, talk about your feelings, fears and anxieties.

How to help kids understand what's going on: Use age-appropriate language to explain without frightening them. Ask them to share what they think and how they feel.

How to keep a sense of purpose if unemployed: Exercise reduces stress hormones and helps you keep a healthy routine.


Q - As a married daughter, I’ve remained very close with my parents. But my husband’s past years of travel and having a sister who lives near their parents led to less closeness.

Now, during COVID-19, I’m being swamped with demands. I shop for my parents. His sister said she’ll shop for my in-laws but has an excuse every week (“too tired”, but me, too!).

I have to deliver to them an hour away. If I just drop stuff off, they’re hurt. But if I go in with a mask/gloves on, they’re insulted.

How can I get my husband to pitch in? He works from home.

Too Much

A - Tell him you’re working from home, too. We’re only all in this together, if everyone who can, does what they can.

Both sets of parents need help at a time when fear, worry and social isolation are daily factors in their lives.

Give him a grocery list.

Ellie’s tip of the day:

If a partner’s social behaviour makes you uncomfortable, discuss it and consider counselling.

Read Ellie Monday to Saturday. Send relationship questions to Follow @ellieadvice.


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Ellie Tesher
Ellie Tesher

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