Brief synopsis: Jeff loves acting and finally decided to take the plunge and move to Hollywood. His wife Pam followed suit, even though it meant leaving behind her loved ones, her pets, and her job. Now she is stuck in a job she hates along with being the sole caretaker of Jeff’s ailing father. Her resentment is building while his career is just taking off — what does Dr. Berman suggest they do?
Couple: Jeff and Pam
Challenge: He moved their family across the country so he can make it big in Hollywood, but she is stuck caring for his elderly father. Will his ambition and her resentment ruin their bond?
How they cope: Pam is a wonderfully supportive partner who has been taking care of Jeff’s ailing father. Although she wants to do it all, the truth is that she is feeling overwhelmed and misses the privacy of living alone with Jeff. However, instead of expressing her feelings and letting Jeff know that she is overworked and exhausted, she expects him to figure it out on his own.
Where they’re stuck: Pam is resentful of everything she has given up for Jeff, yet instead of expressing this openly, she uses humor and passive comments to gloss over her true feelings. She wants him to read her mind and know what’s wrong, but that’s simply not happening. What can they do?
Dr. Berman’s Homework:
When you give too much, you can’t receive: Some people think they have to give, give, give in order to be good partners. Women in particular are at risk of this syndrome. Yet when you give too much, you not only become tired and resentful, but you also aren’t open to receiving love from your partner. A relationship has to be built on a equal give-and-take, and that’s why it’s important to make “me” time and focus on your own needs.
Ask for help: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even though you think your partner should know how tired you are, the truth is that he isn’t a mind-reader. Speak up and voice your needs clearly and honestly. You will avoid plenty of arguments and heartache, and your partner won’t get frustrated trying to figure out what you want.
Spend time together as a couple: Get away from your real-life responsibilities and spend time together as a couple. It doesn’t have to be an expensive date night. It could be just a walk around the neighborhood or a picnic in the park. Just take some time to be together and enjoy one another’s company outside of the stresses of the real world.