How Can I Tell If I Still Love My Wife?

Dear Sober Dad,

How can I tell if I still love my wife?

—XXX S, Moline, Illinois


Dear Sober Dad,

My wife and I met and got married when I was still drinking. I don’t feel we have that much in common now that I’m sober. She was never much of a drinker, so it’s not about that. We have two kids. Now what?

—Barry J, Tempe, Arizona


Dear XXX and Barry,

I’m answering your questions jointly because they are so deeply related.

I’d like to take you back to my 11th grade English class, where Mr. Jameson had us read the novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey. The lesson of the book, he taught us, was that in a relationship, it doesn’t always happen that two people love each other the same amount at any one time. Continue reading “How Can I Tell If I Still Love My Wife?”

What’s the Best Way to Express to My Family How I Feel When They Hurt My Feelings?

Dear Sober Dad,

What’s the best way to express to my wife or kids how I feel when they hurt my feelings? I don’t want to be a jerk about it, but at the same time, they need to know.

–Steve T., Fort Myers, Florida


Steve,

I appreciate the fact that you are a true New Age Sensitive guy – I think there’s a song to that effect.

But while your heart is in the right place, I have to question your basic premise.

There’s a rule of marriage I learned early on, and it goes like this: Continue reading “What’s the Best Way to Express to My Family How I Feel When They Hurt My Feelings?”

I Don’t Understand One Of My Kids And I Feel So Guilty

Dear Sober Dad,

I have three children, 14 down to 7. I do fine with my 14-year-old and my 7-year-old, but my 12-year-old son gives me fits. I feel like I don’t understand him at all. It’s so frustrating. What do I do?

– Natalie T., Denver, Colorado


Dear Natalie,

Sober Dad feels your pain.

He went through the exact same thing.
With my four children, I always used to say that there was one I didn’t “get.” I didn’t understand why he thought the way he thought or acted the way he acted. We butted heads and it was not pretty. Continue reading “I Don’t Understand One Of My Kids And I Feel So Guilty”

My Marriage Stinks But We Have Kids. Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Dear Sober Dad,

We have children in middle school and our marriage is not in very good shape. We don’t fight a ton, but there is not a lot of intimacy. I’m afraid that it is affecting the kids. It’s certainly affecting me.

I’m not sure that my wife has either the interest or the capacity for emotional intimacy. My wife is a stay-at-home mom by choice. I think she’s burned out on me, on parenting, maybe on life in general. I’m sure we’re not the only ones, but it’s deeply frustrating.

I’ve thought a lot about leaving, but I realize I cannot be as good a parent outside the home as if I stay.
So I stay, primarily because of the kids. Thoughts?

– Mike S., Astoria, New York


Dear Mike,

Thoughts? Many.

Sober Dad is not a therapist, but he is a husband and father who has been through many struggles in his own marriage along the lines that you are describing in yours.

I once remember hearing a study described on the radio to the effect that women who work outside the home were happier and more fulfilled than those who stayed home with the children. Continue reading “My Marriage Stinks But We Have Kids. Should I Stay Or Should I Go?”