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Q: I have been in AA for three years. I feel like I have made great progress, individually, but in my relationship, things are still not good. Actually, my relationship is worse! Can you believe it? You’d think if I got my act together, my boyfriend, “Hal,” would like me better and surely, we would do better as a couple. WRONG! How it really has worked is that the more together I got, the worse our relationship has become.
For instance, before I used to be unmotivated in my job…or should I say…I didn’t even have a job. I lost one job after another, and I spent long periods of time not looking for a job. When I did get a job, I messed around on the job, just to lose it again. Hal used to say that I wasn’t grown up and that he had to take care of me.
When I got into trouble, Hal bailed me out, again telling me that I hadn’t grown up. When I was into drinking, Hal took care of me when I couldn’t take care of myself. (He doesn’t drink.) On and on….
Well, I have grown up. I haven’t had a drink in 3 years. I not only hold down a job, I am advancing in my job and I love it. I am a financial asset to our relationship, not a financial liability.
As I said, my relationship has gone down hill, not up. I can’t believe it. So, I’m writing to you. Maybe you have a clue. Sometimes I’m sorry that I got myself together because my reward seems to be that since I’ve gotten together, my relationship is falling apart.
A: It sounds to me that Hal gets his value from being a caretaker. I realize that he protested regarding your drinking, getting into trouble, and bad job record, but in reality, he got his value from taking care of you. If this is true -I can only guess from your short letter -he probably doesn’t understand this in himself, and can’t admit that he wants you to be a screw-up so that he can take care of you, thereby, feeling good about himself. I would suggest that you both get into couple’s counseling in order to deal this and any other issues that are going on between you. When one person in a relationship changes, it changes the dynamics in that relationship, and adjustments need to be made if the relationship is to survive. Good luck!
Thin and not lovin’ it
Q: This may seem like a different kind of problem, but believe me, it is a problem for me. People call me skinny and I am not flattered by it! I have been thin all my life and no matter what I do, I can’t put on weight. I don’t like my weight and wish I could look better, but I can’t. I work out at the gym, eat high calorie foods, supplements, etc. My doctor would like me to gain weight, too, but it just doesn’t happen. My doctor says that even though he’d like me to put on 20 pounds or more, I am in good health, so it is not a health issue.
Another thing, if people aren’t saying how skinny I am, they are constantly asking me if I have an eating disorder, or they are looking at me like I am. Jody, I don’t have an eating disorder. I don’t over exercise; I don’t throw up; I eat continually high calorie foods as well as good foods for me.
I don’t know why it is not considered good manners to mention that a person is overweight, but when someone is underweight, it seems that we are fair game for nasty looks and inconsiderate statements. I’m writing to you hoping you will print this and people will think about what how it can hurts when they are called “skinny” or looked at as though they must have an eating disorder.
A: You said it well, and I hope your words help others to understand how a thin person feels about such comments and looks. Thank you for writing.
Have a problem? Send your letters to: “Dear Jody,” C/O Between The Lines, 20793 Farmington Road, Suite 25, Farmington, MI 48336. Or, e-mail: DearJodyValley@hotmail.com