Don’t Say, “It’s OK,” If It’s Not

“Say what you want, without blame or recriminations, and you’re much more likely to get it.”

Dear Dr. Trish,

I’m retired, but my wife is still working a high-pressure job. She is on her phone from the time she gets home until she goes to bed, exhausted. I’m tired of this. She’ll take calls during dinner, even. She’ll ask me if it’s ok if she takes this one call, but then she’s on the phone forever. I want to tell her to “Put down the dang phone.” Should I? I don’t want to make her mad.
– B.A., Germantown, TN

Dear B.A.,

It sounds like you miss talking intimately with your wife. Have you told her that? Hmm, maybe not? Maybe you’re just grumpy? And, what do you say when she asks if she can take a quick call? I’m guessing that you say, “OK,” or some such nonsense. Time to tell the truth. BUT – without blame! Tell her you love her, that you wish you could spend quiet time talking and laughing about the day without interruption. Don’t tell her she’s being inconsiderate, don’t shout orders, don’t dump your resentment on her. Just tell her you miss her. And then, give her your full attention, too. That’s one of the perks of retirement.

Here’s a basic truth: say what you want, without blame or recriminations, and you’re much more likely to get it.

Trish Ring, Ph. D.