by Sherry Hughes email@example.com
I’ve had a problem lately with my wife. We’ve been together for four years. I think she is spending a lot more time on the Internet than I would like. When I get home from work, she is online. When I go to bed, she is online. I know she works on a computer all day too at work, so I know she is e-mailing people and looking at Web sites at work too. I want for her to spend more time with me. She insists she is having fun and not hurting anyone and that I shouldn’t be so controlling. I haven’t ever thought of myself as controlling, but maybe she’s right.
If she is up until 2 or 3 in the morning on the Internet, do I have the right to be mad?
You are entitled to feel whatever you feel. And certainly if your partner is using the computer more than engaging in life with you, you have reason to wonder what that means in your marriage.
Women often complain about men watching too many sports on television or going fishing or hunting too much. This is the same kind of thing. You don’t care that she uses the computer at home, but you are starting to feel as if that thing is more important than you are.
If you haven’t had a conversation with her about it — and I don’t mean a fight — ask her out for dinner and plan what you want to tell her. Try to be clear, concise and honest — not blaming or shaming. Just tell her that you miss her. Tell her you want to be closer to her and talk to her more or maybe go out together occasionally, if only for an evening walk around the neighborhood.
Ask her if there’s anything wrong, if she is unhappy about anything. I say that because the computer is an escape in the same way television can be. If she is unhappy with something going on, she may just be shutting it out by turning on the computer.
After you tell her how you are feeling, be sure to give her a chance to talk … and listen to her. Don’t interrupt.
If things don’t improve, you might want to get the help of a professional; maybe a marriage counselor. And if she doesn’t want to go with you, go on your own.
Sherry Hughes welcomes letters from readers at firstname.lastname@example.org
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