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Marriage can’t be saved

By Andrea Bonior By Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior (that's BONN-yer!) is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor, and writer. She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology focusing on individual and group psychotherapy for young adults and specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression.

Q: My husband and I have been in and out of counseling for years, and I want to call it quits. He has always been more invested in us working it out. My heart isn’t in it anymore. It’s sad, but I’m at peace with it. I just don’t know how to tell him. I’m wondering if it’s appropriate to tell the therapist first.

Good marriage counselors are adept not only in attempting to help a marriage get put back together, but in minimizing the explosions and collateral damage when a marriage breaks apart (though many abandon the counseling process before this). So enlisting your counselor’s help could be wise.

I’d be wary of an ambush, though. Having the news come through someone other than you, or in the presence of someone else, could cause more pain than you intended.

If you trust your counselor, you might consult with him or her privately. But after all these years, you know your husband best.

And since your heart is in the right place and you want to end this kindly, it is you who can choose the best circumstances that will most soften the blow.

Q: I don’t like how my sister-in-law (wife of my husband’s brother) dresses around me and my husband and our teenage children. She is very provocative and flirtatious in general, but her outfits are over-the-top. She is in her 40s and clearly thinks she is a Victoria’s Secret model. I live in constant fear of a wardrobe malfunction. Please tell me how to handle this.

You don’t say much about the non-cleavage-ridden aspects of your sister-in-law’s personality, but if she’s a kind and approachable person, she might be amenable to a private discussion. Emphasize how much you love spending time with her but explain that you’d prefer a little bit more modesty in your home.

Say it privately, breezily and with a smile – and if nothing changes, don’t push it. Just pleasantly offer her a sweater every once in a while.

But depending on the relationship between your husband and his brother, a sibling chat might be the best avenue for a discreet intervention – especially if you don’t mind your husband blaming it on you!

Andrea Bonior is a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Friendship Fix.”
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