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Annie's Mailbox

Ask Amy column

Q. My husband and I are on “silent treatment” for close to three months now!

It all started when we got into an argument and he made a statement: “The only reason I’m with you is because my daughter needs a mom.” I was very hurt by this statement and decided to use the guest bedroom until he feels he needs a wife. It’s been three months, and there are no signs he’s even making an attempt to sort things out. Is it over?

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In the past, he has made similar statements that hurt me, such as, “You are not a priority for me.” He has said, “I don’t miss you” when we were on silent treatment in the past.

Every single time, even though he is at fault, he expects me to break the silence and bring us back to normal. He avoids discussion and likes to brush things under the carpet.

I am really, really hurt. I want to talk about it and resolve it; however, I don’t want to raise the white flag and initiate the conversation.

A. The way you describe the situation — with two parents locked into a silent war — it sounds angry, oppressive, depressing, and sad. You may think that because you and your husband each interact with this daughter separately she is not aware of the dynamic between you, but I assure you, she sees everything. And this sort of unhealthy dynamic and discord affects her greatly.

Your husband is not the only person to brush things under the carpet. I suspect if you took a look under your carpet you would find a multitude of issues -- some put there by you.

As long as you see every issue in your household as being your husband’s fault and responsibility, you will never find resolution. If you see initiating a conversation as a form of surrender, you will never find peace.

Your marriage needs an emergency intervention. Because you wrote to me, you’re going to have to initiate this intervention by seeing a counselor or mediator who can help you two come to terms. And if you cannot come to terms and find a more effective way to air and work out your grievances, then I do think your marriage is over.

Q. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost a year. We get along amazingly. He gave me a promise ring, and we will be moving in together in a month.

There is one thing I am worried about, however. He lies to me continuously about his ex. I have had to assist him in getting rid of anything having to do with her. He lies about getting rid of reminders of their relationship — like pictures of her.

He has lied to my face three times now regarding her. How can I get him to stop lying?

A. I have a surefire, guaranteed way to get your boyfriend to stop lying to you about his ex-girlfriend: Stop asking. Stop demanding. Stop “assisting.” Just. Stop.

Everybody has a past. Erasing evidence of this past does not erase the past.

You don’t say that your boyfriend has any actual contact with his ex. Your attempts to manipulate and control him are failing.

You need to figure out why this causes you so much anxiety, work on your own reactions and find a way to cope with things as they are.

If you cannot cope with your boyfriend’s choices, you have a choice to make: You can declare this nonnegotiable, return your promise ring and move on with your life.

Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.

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