Sense & Sensitivity

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I have been married for four years now. I've been stressing a lot, and my therapist told me to stop and analyze my life. Analyze my life, relationships, interactions — just everything. By doing so, I can begin to pinpoint the problem. After sitting and doing the exercise, I noticed that I'm not satisfied with how my marriage is going. I've been with him for so long now that somewhere down the line I lost the feisty woman I once was. I'm now this meek person who just lets her husband run the show. I do everything he asks of me and rarely hold him to the same expectations that I'm held to. I don't really complain, and he seems to have taken control of this relationship.

Ever since I realized this, things haven't been the same. I feel like I have to constantly pick an argument to prove that I am still myself and that I do still hold some sort of power over this relationship. I hate that it's like this, because I know that I'm not really trying to argue, but just trying to salvage what little power I have left. I had dreams, too, none of which were to be a meek housewife, but I guess life has other plans sometimes. I want to go back to my feisty self, but it seems that the more I try to do that, the more we tend to argue. My husband says that he doesn't know what's gotten into me. I guess he likes me better when I don't have an opinion. How can I explain to him that I miss my old ways? Is there a way for me to tell him that I'm not happy with the way the relationship is going, without it sounding like I'm not happy with him? I just feel like it should be 50-50, not 100-0 in a relationship. — 50-50 not 100-0, Denver

DEAR 50-50 NOT 100-0: I would like for you to think about your marriage differently. Give up the idea of power in your relationship and think about companionship and love. Rather than thinking you need to pick fights, think of creative ways to get your husband to be more flexible. Think about what you would like for him to do for you, and ask him. Recall what you enjoyed about your relationship in the early days. Create similar dates now. Rather than saying you miss your old ways, suggest that you want to spice things up and talk about how. This way he won't recoil or think you are criticizing him.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter is overweight, and I'm sure eating candy contributes to it. My mother and my husband constantly bring candy and other unhealthy snacks to our house. Before I know it, they have been consumed. I'm worried for my daughter's health. How can I get her to stop eating so many sweets? — Sweet Free, Cincinnati

DEAR SWEET FREE: Forbid your husband and mother from bringing sweets into the house. Cite your concerns about your daughter's health. Throw out any bad snacks that make it across the threshold. Talk to your daughter about healthy eating habits. Also, get her a complete checkup to learn the status of her health right now.

You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o United Feature Syndicate, 200 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016.

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