DEAR HARRIET: I’ve been going to the local gym for many years and have always loved it; the gym is my happy place. I try to go every day after work, and usually spend most of my free time there.
Unfortunately, some of the new members (young adult males) make me a little uncomfortable.
They often engage in unwanted conversations, gobble up all the equipment, and stare too hard at the women who go to the gym (myself included).
My friends tell me that it makes no sense to cancel my membership because other gyms have the same problems.
I don’t want to leave the gym I’m so used to. What should I do?
DEAR FITNESSMAN: Since you’ve been a member of the gym for a long time, talk to management. Point out your loyalty and longevity in this gym, as well as your current discomfort with the behavior of these new members.
Explain that the abusive behavior is not just directed at you. Invite management to observe these new members and how they interact with others, especially women, in the gym. Ask management to speak up and reprimand them for being a nuisance to other members. If necessary, ask other female members to also speak.
DEAR HARRIET: My family and I spent the weekend with old friends – for the first time since the start of the pandemic, we risked being with someone together. In a way it was a wonderful visit, but one thing bothered me a lot.
For as long as I can remember, my husband and I have had quite a few fights, but usually when we’re out in public, so to speak, he’s outgoing. While spending time with others, he often doesn’t pay much attention to me.
Well, this weekend I was the butt of all his jokes and poison. It was so uncomfortable. It seemed that whatever I said, he objected, denied it and pushed me away. I tried to ignore it, but at times it was too much, so I reacted. This only made the situation worse.
I’ve been asking my husband to come with me to therapy for years, and he refused. I want to ask again, but I’m afraid of a big scandal. What should I do?
Tired of fighting
DEAR TIRED OF FIGHTING: You must go to therapy on your own. You deserve better treatment, but for some reason that doesn’t happen in your marriage.
Work with a counselor to get to the bottom of your problems with yourself and your marriage. Invite your husband to join you for therapy, but feel free to go on your own. Something is clearly wrong if your husband treats you so badly. Figure out your role in this interaction and decide what you are going to do about it.
Whatever the reasons, you don’t have to put up with abusive behavior. Decide what your line in the sand will be like when you think about getting out of this toxic environment. If you can’t figure out how you two can communicate more respectfully, this marriage may no longer be healthy for you.
Harriett Cole is a stylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.