Family

My husband and I are newly married and we share all of our money. This is new to both of us and even though we discussed it before getting married, issues keep arising. I like to spoil myself every now and then by getting my nails done, treating myself to a dinner, or getting a massage. I don’t do these things too often, but I work hard and like to unwind. He says he doesn’t do the equivalent so it’s not really fair. How can we work this out? – It’s my money too

Dear It’s, Congratulations on your recent marriage! Marriage is a sharing of many things, including, but not limited to, time spent together, living space, and, of course, finances – all of which, when agreed upon, build trust between the partners. Over the course of a marriage, however, this trust is tested. Some couples, for example, may face a partner’s infidelity,…

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Dear Dr. Faizal
Family

I worry about my brother. He’s over 40, overweight (basically obese) and has given up on love. He’s not lonely in the sense that he has strong bonds with his family and friends but has given up hope on finding that special someone. What can I do to help him? – Older Sister

Dear Older, I imagine that you, being an older sister, have always taken care of your younger brother (and any other younger siblings you may have). It is natural for older siblings to take on the role of surrogate parents. But even parents, at some point, must let go of their children and allow them to lead a life that…

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Dear Dr. Faizal
Dear Dr. Faizal
Family

We finally told my mother-in-law that my husband and I are not going to have kids. She seemed to take it much better than we expected but she hasn’t been the same since. She and I were very close before we broke the news but something is very different now. I think she blames me for the decision we made together, as a couple. How do I make her understand that this is our choice? I miss our friendship. – No Kids Mom

Dear No, Most couples nowadays accept that they have options besides the conventional family structure, with a father, mother, and children. Today, some married partners prefer to nurture a family with only each other – an arrangement that allows them obvious benefits like more time for and with each other, more money saved for vacations (and other luxuries), etc. One…

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Family

I’m ready to father a child but my wife wants to wait. She is very serious about her career and does not want to put it on hold. I understand that, but I don’t to wait much longer. Sometimes I joke about getting a surrogate or adopting but she doesn’t think it’s funny. I love my wife and her priorities are my priorities. But what if she decides she never wants kids? – Ready to be daddy

Dear Ready, Bringing a child into the world can be a very joyous experience – everything from the conception, to the first ultrasound, to feeling the first kick, to holding and making first eye contact with your son or daughter – if, and only if, both partners have similar wishes and needs. It’s obvious that you are eager to take…

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Family

I am a single mother, trying to raise my daughter with religious principles and values. It’s why I was shocked when I caught my four-year-old daughter playing with her genitals in the living room during a party at my house. I immediately chastised her in front of my guests and sent her to her room. I’m now feeling guilty for the way I reacted. Could I have done something else, and how can I fix this mess? – Motherhood Challenges

Dear Motherhood, As a therapist, I’m wondering what is the real issue here – do you have an issue with your daughter “playing with her genitals,” or do you have a problem with the fact that others saw her doing this? First of all, all children go through a time when they are curious about which parts of their body…

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Family

I am a middle-aged man. About one year ago, my mother, whom I was very close to all my life, and who I did not want to leave behind when I immigrated to Canada, passed away. Ever since her death, I don’t have any motivation to do anything. I stopped playing with my kids, and have no desire to smile at work. I spend most of my time sleeping. My wife says that I have stopped feeling. How can I be happy again? – Grieving Loss

Dear Grieving, Losing a loved-one is a challenging experience, and the resulting feelings, like sadness, anger and guilt, must be dealt with functionally for mourning to occur. Your symptoms of long-term lack of interest in family and work, excessive sleeping, and perhaps a fear of expressing feelings describe a person who may be depressed. To deal with your immediate situation,…

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Family

I can’t keep my plants alive. I forget to water them, or water them too much. Somehow, I always manage to kill my plants. It seems like such an easy job. Why can’t I do it right? Is something wrong with me? If I can’t even keep a cactus alive, how could I ever be a good mother? Plants should be easier to manage than babies, right? My friends always joke about this but I’m starting to think that maybe there’s some truth to that? – Motherhood Undetermined

Dear Motherhood, Simply put, to care for plants, you could go online and acquire information on proper watering etiquette, make a watering schedule and hang it in a conspicuous place (like on your fridge) and set an alarm on your phone for the times you need to water them. But your concern isn’t really about plants, is it? Caring for…

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Family

My family always celebrated Christmas with fervor. We always bought the biggest tree and bought our children lots of presents. Earlier this year, I lost my full-time and part-time jobs, and have been living off my investments, which are almost depleted. How can I tell my kids that there will not be a Christmas this year? – Christmas Blues

Dear Christmas, You have been very fortunate to have celebrated Christmas in the past with such financial “fervor.” In today’s society, most people associate one’s love for another by the price of one’s gift, by the size of the coniferous tree in one’s living room and by the Christmas carols played on one’s new home stereo system. It must be…

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