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Ask Lisi: Arguing over world events bad news for couple

How do we bridge this gap and stop allowing the world’s troubles to negatively affect our marriage?
Advice columnist Lisi Tesher

Dear Lisi: My wife and I are constantly fighting, and it’s got worse as the news gets worse. We’re not on opposing sides of anything, but we just don’t agree on how the media handles the news and our interpretations differ.

She’s a soft, peaceful soul who only thinks about the humanitarian side of things. I’m more of a realist who needs facts to form an opinion. For example, when the immigration issue was at a high between Mexico and the United States a few years ago, all my wife could focus on were the children in cages. Don’t misunderstand — I was appalled at the treatment of these children. But I was more interested in the numbers, in the government’s plan, in the politics of it all. Needless to say, we fought hard.

Similarly, when Russia invaded the Ukraine, and now with the trouble in the Middle East, my wife and I are at odds. As usual, she is focused on the suffering of the children, and I’m focused on the politics. How do we bridge this gap and stop allowing the world’s troubles to negatively affect our marriage?

Polar opposites

In all honesty, I am not someone with strong political views, and would probably lean more towards your wife’s thought process. I’m admittedly losing sleep over the plight of the hostages, and the children caught in the middle of this war in Gaza. I’m not siding with your wife in your personal arguments, I just see things more from her viewpoint.

And I’m assuming that she is more emotional, whereas you are more detached. Understanding her compassionate and emotional nature, you should be able to give her the love and comfort she probably desperately needs. You can still talk about your politics, but perhaps avoid discussing the plight of the innocent victims together. Or, start off by saying how dismayed you are at the treatment of the civilians and then move into the politics.

Your wife will hear your compassion and will then hopefully be able to compartmentalize and discuss your issues. If things remain heated, you may need to find your own peace treaty.

FEEDBACK Regarding the dying mom (Oct. 25):

Reader — “Today’s letter from Dying Mom really struck a chord, as I have a sister who is non-verbal with multiple exceptionalities and physical challenges. At the time of our mother’s death — she was my sister’s primary caregiver — and my sister lived alone with her. My sister moved in with me. If I had not been willing to take her, she would have been in a homeless shelter with round-the-clock PSW support.

“There are no instant openings for supportive living. Wait-lists are long — my sister waited over two years, during which time I had to quit my job to stay home with her.

“It is critically important that this family begins getting on wait-lists and signing up for all the support they can get. If the daughter who needs support is not already on ODSP, getting that in place is important. It is a prerequisite to many supportive living placements.

“Relying on a man who has not been supportive in the past seems like a much worse option than reaching out for government support. Government support, though available, takes patience and persistence to acquire. It can be exhausting. The sooner the process is begun, the better. Connecting with your local Home and Community Care Support Services office is a good starting point.”

Former stay-at-home sister

My babysitter has just told me that whenever she puts my eight-year-old son to bed, he cries and begs her for a kiss on the lips. She’s not comfortable doing this, so she lays down with him. He then pretends to fall asleep, and flings a hand onto her breast. The first two times, she thought it was just coincidence, gently moved his hand, and left the room. But it’s happened several times since.

Is this normal behaviour? How do I deal with this? I don’t want to shame my son, but isn’t he young for anything sexual to be going on in his head?

Shocked Pops

Children often associate breasts with soothing, especially if they were breastfed as babies. He may also just be curious. But nonetheless, the behaviour has to stop as it’s inappropriate, especially with a babysitter. Talk to your child and explain that touching another person’s body is unacceptable, just as no one should touch their body.

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send relationship questions via email to or