Dear Dr. Romance: My wife is reading romance novels

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Dear Dr. Romance: My wife is reading romance novels
Dr. Romance helps a reader learn about his wife and romance novels.

Dear Dr. Romance

For many many years, i have been the income earner for our 4 kids and my wife while she was home raising the kids.  Day in day out I was working sometimes three jobs. I got into a career that took 10-15 hrs per day for the first three years - the money was great and I thought everything was going awesome especially since everyone was enjoying spending my money on lavish things.

Then my wife started taking courses in night school with her friend. Dressing nicely, make up the whole bit...for school? Then one course led to another, and she took some with my eldest daughter as well. Then one day i noticed that she was getting emails from a classmate who was male.  It was pretty personal stuff like "what do you want to do with your life?" type questions.

I also found that she was reading tons of romance novels. we had it out, cried lots, and mended our relationship.  She said i was always cranky and in bad moods.  I guess from being tired, working always and coming home to a messy house and lazy teens did that to me. Anyway, she said she was going to stop reading romance, because it bothered me so much, and that she wouldn't email any "guys" from class.

1 yr went by and things have been awesome...until i found some new romance novels. They disturb me because they are fake, about affairs, etc...why read them? I confronted her and she said she would never stop reading them. It bothers me so much that she won't stop reading them.  I feel belittled that she is reading about hunky guys and sex.  I stopped facebook, I stopped the occasional drink of beer, I stopped lots of things because it bothers her, but she can't stop the one thing that bothers me. I've even said, I don't care what your read, just not that filth. It makes me feel bad. What to do?

I know she is not cheating because we are always around each other; unless she is occassional teaching at the school which she did lots of this past year. Help! Am I nutz, or do you see a problem?

Hi, Jason:

Awesome for you may not be awesome for her. You are obviously an excellent provider, and most women want that, but when good providing means you neglect your wife, marriages tend to suffer. Romance novels are a women's version of porn, because women are not turned on by sex, but by romantic attention.

She's trying to get from books what she's not getting from you. The problem these books create is that real life can never live up to the romance novel version, so the books (like porn) can become addictive.

Your wife isn't feeling loved, wanted, needed.  She probably feels pressured, controlled and not respected.  She's somewhat emotionally immature, in that she's not recognizing her own needs and coming to you asking to fix the problem. Instead, she's escaping into romance novels to get her "fix" of affection and attention. Your own emotional immaturity shows in that you don't realize when you're being neglectful and cranky, and take charge of fixing that.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.
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Dr. Tina Tessina

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Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.
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tina@tinatessina.com
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Location: Long Beach, CA
Credentials: LMFT, MFT, PhD
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