Dear Judy,
    I recently went shopping for sunglasses. I had  my heart set on Ray- Bans and had researched them. I  went to the sunglass section of an upscale department store and told the salesgirl what I wanted. She said, “Everyone wants Ray- Bans, how about Chanel?” Before I could say no, she was putting the Chanel glasses on me, and telling me how good I looked. I looked at the price and knew there was no way I was buying Chanel sunglasses. I wanted Ray -Bans..She then had me try on Dior, which I also had no interest in, and then another brand I don’t remember. She then said she had just the pair for me. A pair of Kate Spade sunglasses. I put them on and have to admit, they were very flattering, and only $3 more than the Ray –Bans. I ended up getting them, but when I left the store I felt bamboozled. I felt like I had been talked into something I probably wouldn’t have bought otherwise. I like the sunglasses, but I don’t like how I felt when I left the store. I felt like I had to buy something the salesgirl was recommending because she was working so hard. I felt like it was easier just to go along with her solution. Why does this happen to me?

Feeling Bamboozled in Byrum

Dear Bamboozled,
You are being taken advantage of because you aren’t standing up for yourself and that makes you vulnerable to manipulative sales types who SURPRISE.. want to sell you! She may be getting a commission on other sunglasses besides Ray-Bans, or she may just be trying to sell you the most expensive pair, because that’s what’s good for her. In any case you are the customer and you have the power. You have the money. You are giving the power to some salesperson, because you don’t want to deal with  saying no. Are you worried that by stating what you want, she won’t like you, or you’ll upset her? Are you there to make her day or get a pair of sunglasses you want? It’s not what she wants, it what you want.  This doesn’t make you mean or unpleasant. It sounds like you may have some boundary issues. I’d say your behavior is co-dependent. You want what you want, but you want everyone to be happy with what you want, and if they’re not, then you get anxious and change your mind. Then you don’t feel good because you’re not being true to yourself. This behavior is habitual and won’t change overnight. I’d suggest some practice with being assertive. Next time you’re out shopping, make a promise to stick to your guns, unless you truly are unsure. The person you need to make happy is you, not someone you’ll likely never see again. Take off the dark glasses and look into the light!

Dear Judy,
   My husband and I have been married for 7 years. We are both in our early 30’s and have not been able to have children. We tried in vitro, but it didn’t work. We decided to adopt and that seemed like a solution until the adoption failed. The birth mother of the baby we were planning to adopt tested positive for heroin, and the baby was born addicted. We decided to wait for another child. In the meantime, we are growing more and more distant. I think we may be incompatible sexually. Although I love my husband I think he would rather spend all his  time coaching swimming(he is swim coach and history  teacher at a school), than spend it with me. I want to have sex much more than he does. I feel like I’m attractive, but he doesn’t seem to notice me. When we met, I knew I was more experienced than him, and this seemed to turn him on, but I found out recently, that I was his first sexual experience! I’m mad that he lied, but I don’t know what to do. Sometimes I think we should just get divorced.

Fed up in Fairfield

Dear Fed up,
   There is a lot going on here. First of all, infertility is a huge stressor. That issue alone could cause distancing, depression, and some sexual dysfunction. Not being able to have a child is a big loss, and difficult to reconcile. You decided to adopt and that didn’t go well either and was another big disappointment and another loss compounding the infertility. When you talk about your sexual history it sounds like there are issues there as well. Your husband may be intimidated, by your experience even though he found it exciting. If he has lost sexual interest it could be because he has feelings of impotency around not being able to conceive as well as wondering how he compares to other men you’ve been with. These very basic and sensitive feelings are around his masculinity, and are not easily expressed. They are at the very core of how he perceives himself as a man…as a success or failure. He may be experiencing acute performance issues due to not being able to conceive a child, and in his own mind not satisfy you. I think his preoccupation with the swimming is a diversion, a way of keeping busy with something he does feel successful at, while he isn’t able to solve the fertility and/or sexual issues. These are conversations that need to be out in the open and discussed in a non threatening, non confrontational manner. If you both love each other there is a lot of hope for reconnection once the fears, frustration and disappointment are laid out. I think couples counseling could greatly benefit the two of you. Good luck!