DEAR NATALIE: My husband and I are having a bit of a problem. I just got a huge promotion at work and a big bump in pay while unfortunately, he was just laid off from his job. Now, the pay increase I will receive plus his unemployment will keep us afloat until he can find a new job. He is really depressed, however, and hasn't even celebrated the fact that I am doing really well at my job. He hasn't been romantic toward me, either, and, to be honest, he's been nasty to me. How do we move beyond this issue? -- PUNISHED FOR BEING SUCCESSFUL
DEAR PUNISHED FOR BEING SUCCESSFUL: It's not you. It's him. You didn't do anything wrong to warrant this behavior other than be awesome at your job and get a promotion. Congrats, by the way! You have nothing to move beyond. This is going to fall on his shoulders to cut the pity party, suck it up and be a grown-up. Sometimes in life you fall down. Sometimes you fall down, get kicked in the face and dragged through the mud. And sometimes, this all happens while the ones you love are doing much better than you. Obviously, he feels jealous, but more than that, he probably feels embarrassed, emasculated and depressed. None of this lends itself toward romance, and that can be forgiven easily, but the nasty behavior is unacceptable. Sit him down and say, "Look, I know things have been tense between us. I understand that you are having a hard time with being laid off. But, you are talented and great at what you do and something will turn up for you. However, regardless of your situation, it really hurts me when you make mean comments. I want to celebrate my success with you, and I have been trying to be understanding, but now it is time for you to be supportive. We will get through this together, but you have to meet me halfway." Hopefully, he will apologize and recognize that alienating you isn't going to land him a job any faster and will only make his home life just as miserable as his lack of a professional life right now. And who wants that?
DEAR NATALIE: My partner and I have been together for seven years, and recently I got an amazing job opportunity in another city - Seattle, to be exact. I really want to take the position, but my partner doesn't want us to move our kids out of school and uproot their lives. While I can appreciate this, I can't pass this up. This is my dream job. She told me I was being selfish, and then I brought up the idea of a commuter-relationship, where I would spend the weekends with them and then Monday-Thursday stay in an apartment in the city where my new job is. My sister told me this is a terrible idea, though, and that I should just stay with my family and give up the job opportunity. I'm completely torn. Either way, I lose something important. What are your thoughts? -- CAN'T WIN
DEAR CAN'T WIN: This is a tricky situation because I can see this from both angles. On the one hand, is it fair to your family to make them uproot their lives and move to a whole new place for you? On the other hand, is it fair to you to pass up a great opportunity - which could create a better life for your family down the road - all because your partner doesn't want to move? The only one I agree with so far is your sister who is right in that a part-time family, part-time relationship, full-time job is probably going to create a lot more tension and frustration in the long run. This calls for a family meeting. I don't know how old your children are, but if they are old enough to understand what could be going on, it might be worth having the conversation with everyone at the dinner table. Seattle is an awesome place and could be a great adventure for everyone, but if your partner isn't on board, it will make the sell harder. Fight for this new opportunity, but it has to be a family decision. Find out why exactly your partner doesn't want to leave. Is it that a job is too important? Is it not wanting the kids to be starting all over again? What is the exact reason? Fear? Nerves? Maybe taking a family vacation to Seattle could get your family interested in what it would be like to live there. If this new job has a nice increase in pay, maybe that could sweeten the deal by looking at homes together or better schools? Find the angle and go for it. But don't give up on your dream until you've exhausted every avenue to get the family on board. Even if you don't win, at least you'll know you tried.
Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Body language can either invite or dissuade someone from talking to you. Always turn your body toward the person you are engaging and stand in a way that is opening and welcoming to them. Do not cross your arms, do not lean on something, and, whatever you do, please don't yawn while they are talking.
Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)