My fiancé’s son went to Europe; no T-shirt

Joey Garcia remembers to pay attention to her breath.

My fiancé's son just got back from Europe. He visited a country I have always dreamed of seeing. When Jake got back, he called his dad to get together for a visit. I asked if I could come along to see the pictures and hear about the trip. Normally, we get together periodically, since he is in college and lives in a different town. The answer was no. He hadn’t seen his son for a while and wanted to visit alone. Well, I understand (I guess) but feel hurt and left out. After talking about a future together, I am wondering if it will work for us. I don’t want to feel like an outsider, and I don’t want to be treated poorly. What is your take on this? I appreciate your sound advice.

The strength of your disappointment says everything. Often when couples grow stronger in their commitment and begin to imagine a forever future with each other, one or both unconsciously start to unpack their greatest worries and biggest fears. Of course, I don’t think your man is doing this, I believe that you are. One of your fears is that you don’t belong. So the problem is not that your man refused to include you in the post-vacation photo viewing and storytelling session with his son, it’s that, at the core of your being, you fear never being fully accepted by anyone you love.

Your belief that you don’t fit in is likely rooted in some childhood experience. But it doesn’t help that all humans have a sense of this discrimination. It’s like emotional DNA handed down from our common tribal ancestors who wandered the wilds and hoped to be welcomed, not killed or enslaved, by whoever they encountered. The desire to belong and the fear of being outcast runs deep.

Another reason for your discomfort over this situation is the deferred dream. Your fiancé’s son enjoyed a country you long to visit. How many of your dreams exist without a foundation and structure to support their transition to reality? Channel your disappointment into a commitment to establish a travel account at your bank and begin saving for your own adventure. Then invite your fiancé’s son over for dinner to help you plan your own European holiday.

My husband is tired of working. He wants to quit and go back to school and study nursing. I work part-time, and we have two young children and one on the way. My husband talks about quitting daily and acts like he will do it before the end of the year. He says he wants to have “a leisurely life” like I do. I am so angry I can’t talk to him.

Hmmm. Whose idea was it to have a third child? My guess is that it was yours, and now your husband is acting out. One way to determine if he’s ready for something new is to ask him to use his remaining vacation time to be a full-time daddy while you visit a friend. That way, when he opts to be a full-time student, he can be a full-time papa so you can work the 40-plus work week outside of the house. If your hubby can manage the household, children and school, great. If not, he may want to find a new job, but he will probably realize that he has it pretty good as is.

Another option, of course, is to invite your husband to explore his new career ideal the same way high-school kids do: Find someone to shadow, visit nursing programs and create a schedule for university and grant applications. Taking a mature approach, rather than just quitting his job with only a vague plan, should assure both of you.

Meditation of the Week

Back in the day, people dreamed that in the 21st century, robots would do all the work. Whenever I see someone with a Bluetooth headset, engrossed in electronic conversation but out of touch with everything around them, I know the dream has come true. But instead of creating androids, we’ve become them.