After eight months away, our marriage is different

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I had to leave the state to take care of my mother. This separated me from my husband for eight months. We talked every day on the phone.

I came home after I had taken care of business. Things are different now, and I think it's all in my head – or is it? He never got into Facebook or had his phone like glue next to him before this. I come back and all of a sudden he's talking to a friend (male), supposedly from the Army. He never ever mentioned this guy.

He is so sensitive with his phone. I have mentioned this to him and he said, "I'm not doing anything. You're oversensitive for some reason." Really? I don't think so. I been married to him for 15 years! I know him better than he knows himself. Meredith, has too much time passed between us? Are we trying to keep something together when you can't use Elmer's glue to hold together two pieces of wood? Thank you.

– Confused Housewife

Eight months is a long time. Even with daily phone calls, it makes sense that he developed new routines, new people to contact, even new games to play on whatever technology is around him. Meanwhile, you expected to return to your home as you left it. That wasn't going to happen.

Also, you probably returned exhausted from caregiving, and on his side there might be some complicated feelings about what it was like to have you away for so long, prioritizing someone else, even someone as important as a parent.

I guess I'm saying that yeah, maybe he's keeping secrets, but more likely there's resentment, a new schedule, and an old friend who joined the inner circle. It's possible.

Instead of playing detective, make some plans. What can you do together now that you're back? What can you share? Also, what about getting some help? One conversation with a counselor might give you tools for better way of dealing with this. There are caregiving support groups for people whose lives have changed after helping a parent. If your husband was in the military, there might be services available to both of you. There's something familiar there, too. The idea of a spouse going away for many months and then returning to a home that's moved on in a new way. A counselor within that community might be the best person to help you both make this better.

– Meredith

Readers? Advice for someone who just got home?