My husband Paul and I have been married for five years and have a four-year-old daughter. Paul was laid off work a few months ago. His severance is coming to an end, and it has put a huge wedge between us. All we do is fight. The job market is challenging, and we live in Toronto with a mortgage, car payments and living expenses that can’t be managed on one salary. Our daughter cries and is crankier than ever. She feels our tension.
I’m hoping we’ll get through this with our marriage intact, but as each day passes, we are growing further apart. Inappropriate comments are being said that can’t be taken back. The love we shared is taking a back seat to this stress. Help!
Dear Marriage Meltdown
Money problems can ruin a marriage, and yours has been hit squarely in the face by our economy. The fear and constant anxiety of the unknown are overwhelming. You need to regroup both emotionally and financially. Take a deep breath, put your anger aside and communicate as a team. You need a concrete plan.
Toronto is a very expensive city. This can work to your benefit. For starters, you are homeowners at a time when prices have soared. Depending on when and where you bought your home, it’s probably increased in value. Talk to a good, experienced real estate agent who knows your market, as well as markets outside of Toronto. It’s free. You may discover you are sitting on some substantial equity.
Create a realistic a budget you can both stick to. Can you manage with one car for now? Where can you sacrifice? Seeing numbers on paper forces accountability and makes it easier to trim expenses.
In the grand scheme of things, this is a blip, albeit a big one, in a lifelong marriage. Don’t forget to make time to enjoy yourselves, too, with family activities like a walk in the park, ice skating, tobogganing or playing games. You need fun to balance the stress and to remind you of why you fell in love in the first place.
Work together and support each other though this challenging time. It won’t last forever. Hunker down and ride it out. You have a strong common goal: your family. Working together through this crisis will empower and strengthen your marriage. You can do this.
I agreed to meet Andrew after connecting online. We met at Starbucks and talked for a couple of hours. He asked if I would like to continue our chat over dinner, and I agreed, until he suggested we go to his place for dinner.
I was really taken aback. How could he think I would agree to go to his place after knowing this stranger for two hours? I suddenly felt incredibly uncomfortable and realized I had misjudged this guy. He was shocked at my reaction. All I wanted to do is get out of that coffee shop and run. What do you think?
Couldn’t Run Fast Enough
Dear Couldn’t Run Fast Enough,
Good for you for not allowing yourself to be pressured into a situation you are uncomfortable with.
Dating requires a balance. You allow yourself to be a little vulnerable by letting your guard down so your date can get to know you while staying true to your feelings and never doubting your instincts.
Never allow yourself to be in a situation where you don’t feel safe. If Andrew can’t understand that a first date should never take you to a secluded place where you are alone together, then Andrew is either completely out of touch with the etiquette of dating, or he has an ulterior motive.
Either way, bravo for not allowing yourself to be pressured into feeling like you’re the one with the problem. You’ve got your values and intuition intact. I only hope that anyone else who comes across Andrew is equally as confident in their decision, or is a specialist in krav maga.
Ella is the author of Hidden Gold – A True Story of the Holocaust. Her advice is not a replacement for medical, legal or any other advice.