DEAR AMY: My wife and I have been together for about 14 years. We have four children, ranging in age from teens to a toddler. We are both 36. Over the past year or so we have had a few bumps in the road, including having an unexpected child who was born with health problems, my wife’s family moving in with us (we later had to evict them), an arrest (mine), and her having a manic episode and being committed to a mental hospital for six days. She has been regulated on her meds and seems to be doing a lot better with everything. She’s a stay-at-home mom. When I get home I give her a break; she goes into her room and listens to music, writes in her journal or goes on social media sites. While this is fine with me, over the last few weeks it’s becoming an issue. I feel ignored. I did something I shouldn’t have done, and I read her journal. I had to see what was wrong with her. Her journal noted that she has always had self-esteem issues. It also stated that she has been trying to make herself more attractive, because she craves attention (which I try to give her), that she has become bored, and sees risky behavior approaching. She didn’t write anything more for two days. The next entry was about how I was jealous of a male friend of ours because they message a lot on Facebook. She wrote that she has no interest in him or anyone else. She said that I need to get past it. I believe all of this is leading us to a path of divorce, lies and cheating. Should I bring this all up? Should I try to change something I’m doing? I don’t know where to go from here and how to fix this. I honestly feel she still loves me but maybe isn’t in love with me anymore. I want her to be happy. Thoughts?
DEAR WORRIED: My first thought is that the main thing you can change is to get your face out of your wife’s private diary. If you are concerned about lying and cheating, perhaps you should look in the mirror. Reading her diary is disrespect of the first order.
Your wife might be approaching another manic episode. If you are worried about this, you should discuss it with her. If you are jealous of her friendship with another man, you should be honest about it, and then consider trusting her if she says she isn’t into him.
You have glossed over your own actions — you mention you were arrested, but you don’t say why.
She is expressing some things in her diary that she should (also) express to you, but she has the right to her private thoughts and expressions. You two should see a therapist together to discuss your considerable family stressors and work on how to communicate more effectively and respectfully.
DEAR AMY: I have a friend I have been seeing once a week for coffee. It feels like a one-sided friendship to me, in that she spends most of the time talking about herself. I am a good listener and ask her questions, but sometimes I feel like I’m more her therapist than her friend. I’ve decided after months of this that I was going to make myself less available, and that has worked out. I had not seen her for several months until a few weeks ago, and the same pattern is there, but the rub is this: She will barely look me in the eyes! I don’t know what to make of it. I keep thinking if she didn’t want to see me, she’d make excuses, but she doesn’t. But whether she’s talking about herself or listening to me, she won’t make eye contact. It’s just really weird, and it makes me feel like something is wrong with me. I’m thinking about just coming right out and asking her. What would you suggest?
DEAR FRIEND: Eye contact is a sign of intimacy and comfort.
By all means, ask your friend why she won’t meet your eye.
DEAR AMY: “Sad” was an older sister who was worried about her teen sister’s use of the drug “Molly.” I appreciated your answer, but you weren’t strong enough. A girl in our town overdosed on this drug. It is very dangerous.
DEAR WORRIED: New and synthetic drugs seem to be flooding into our communities. It is terrifying.