DEAR AMY: My husband and I have been married for almost five years.
The last few months have been hard. It has become pretty clear that both of us are unhappy. It seems that most of our arguments are based on a combination of relationship boredom and feeling taken for granted. We've agreed to work on these problems and make a go of making the marriage successful.
Now comes a new problem. I just found out that, despite taking my pill regularly as prescribed, I am pregnant. I haven't told him yet. Although the pregnancy is unplanned, I'm actually really happy. However, as long as we have been together, he has said he doesn't want kids. Well, a baby is coming, and I'm not sure how to break the news — on top of all our other concerns.
DEAR NERVOUS: The way to have a difficult talk is to prepare yourself as well as you can — and then plunge in. You make a plan, rehearse your side of the conversation, set up a quiet time (don't bring this up in the middle of an argument or an unrelated conversation) and start by saying, "I have something important to talk to you about."
Do your best not to anticipate any specific reaction from your husband. You can assume that this will shock him. Give him time, and don't pressure him to express any particular point of view right away.
You both could benefit from professional counseling to learn how to communicate about this — and other matters relating to your relationship. This may be a deal-breaker for your husband, but you won't know until he has time to think and make a considered response.
DEAR AMY: On April Fools' Day, with my knowledge and consent, my boyfriend of five years posted on Facebook a picture of a beautiful engagement ring with the caption "What happens after a lovely Easter dinner ... "
This is a joke because we have declared we would never remarry (we are both divorced). Many took the bait — followed half a day later by the news that it was an April Fools' prank. I didn't share this on my own Facebook page because I didn't want my 12-year-old daughter to see it and be upset by it.
Now I'm not enjoying the joke very much. I didn't really like the idea of joking about something as big as that, but he seemed really jazzed about it, and I thought I would be overly sensitive if I objected. (He wouldn't have done it if I had objected.)
I'm upset at myself for not voicing my feelings but also upset that he'd think this kind of thing would be a real hoot. This comes on the heels of a big disagreement we had a couple of days before about a jealousy issue. Am I being a big baby?
DEAR FACEBOOKED: You agreed to this tasteless prank (to me, it seems especially unfunny to pull friends and family into a false engagement rumor), and now you are paying for your foolishness. Not sharing it on your own Facebook page shows sensitivity toward your daughter, but it also reveals some naivete about Facebook; surely this engagement news/hilarious joke could have reached her eventually by other channels.
You both suffered from a humor deficit and lack of judgment. When you discuss it with your guy, you should start the conversation by saying, "I want you to know that I take equal responsibility for this prank, but now I really regret it." It is entirely possible that he, too, is having second thoughts.
DEAR AMY: "Checked Out" reported her disappointment that her husband was so emotionally removed from their young family.
This wife reported a glaring issue that you did not mention in your answer: her husband's regular use of marijuana. I believe this is the reason he is "checked out," and this needs to stop.
— Regular Reader
DEAR READER: Many others mentioned this, but the wife was already urging her husband to stop marijuana; her question was whether she should continue to try. I encouraged her to make the effort.
Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Amy Dickinson's memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.