Jon and Kate Plus Hate? Healthy Ways to Deal With Common Relationship Stress
Before Jon & Kate Plus Eight, the Gosselins worked like the rest of usshe as a nurse, he as an IT consultant. But things have changed since their family morphed into reality-show fodder, with Kate parlaying her notoriety into a career that includes two books, television appearances, and publicity tours.
“Kates career has taken off and Im a bit lost,” Jon told People magazine in April. Any couple going through a similar changewhether one partner loses a job or takes on a new onecan experience tension in the relationship.
Smart solutions: Couples should speak honestly and listen carefully to each other to see if a career change has affected their relationship.
- The partner who is earning less money may struggle with a diminished self-esteem and feel extra sensitive, while the other may feel resentful about being the primary breadwinner. But both partners need to respect the other's role and recognize their situation as shared. In the case of Jon and Kate, “the only reason she can do what she does is because he probably takes care of the kids while shes giving a lecture,” Dr. Goldstein points out.
- Find family and friends dealing with this same issue. Talking about shared struggles can help couples gain perspective and give them a chance to feel good about using their experience to help others.
- If one partner is out of work, he or she should be encouraged to pursue a new skill set and stay intellectually and physically active. This will improve his or her role within the family and may open new doors in the future.
Stress trigger No. 3: Intrusive in-laws
Although most couples dont have extended family announcing their disapproval on national television, it is certainly not uncommon for couples to elicit criticism from relatives over how theyre raising their children. When people come together as a couple, they bring their own familys rules and ways of doing things with them, says Dr. Robbins.
Smart solutions: Family members may have their own ideas about everything from how often you should go out to eat to what religion to observe to whether or not it is appropriate for children to appear on national television. And in all likelihood, both sets of grandparents may disagree. But you do not have to end up in a war over whose rulesif anyyou will adopt.
- First, listen to your in-laws. But in the end, decide as a couple which rules and guidelines are in your (and your childrens) best interest.
- Talk to each other. If one partner is under more scrutiny, its important that the other listen carefully and that both talk about how they may be affected.
- Present a united front to your extended family. It is crucial that they know you stand together.