Ben Claassen III (For Express)

Q. I spent a ton to renovate my condo’s kitchen, and they didn’t do a great job, and I’ve realized some mistakes in the design. The layout doesn’t flow well and it feels cramped. I can’t do it over again, but every morning I am resentful and angry as I am in there, thinking of how much money I spent and what that could have bought me, and how stupid I was. — Regrets, I’ve Had a Few

Clearly, this is not how a kitchen renovation (now pricing out at what, four trillion dollars?) should go. By “mistakes in the design” I don’t know if you mean choices that were unwise in retrospect, or actual deficits in their workmanship. If it’s the latter, that calls for a more aggressive remediation. Even in the former case, though, you’ve paid a substantial amount for a life-changing project; it’s reasonable that the contractors would want you to be happier. I’m not saying to browbeat them with complaints, but see if there are a few tweaks or a mutually negotiable solution for the worst of the issues. Time will help you get used to it, of course, but taking action to improve things even a little can go a long way.

Married, without the ‘happily’ part

Q. I’m just not happy in my marriage, but I can’t put my finger on why. My husband is good to me, and a good father to our two children. But I have been pulling away from him for a long time, and I don’t particularly like being with him. I know it’s not fair to him, but I also don’t really know what’s wrong. — Unsatisfied

It’s good that you’re self-aware enough to see the big picture without turning your malaise into blame and constant conflict with your husband. There isn’t an easy answer here; I’m guessing anything from depression to a temporary emotional disconnect to fundamental incompatibility is at hand. How compartmentalized is your unhappiness: Is it really about your husband, or is dissatisfaction with him a symptom of something perhaps even bigger? Did your feelings shift substantially at some point, or has this been a gradual freeze? What were your hopes and goals for married life, and motherhood, and in what ways are they falling short — and what can you do about it? Starting with individual counseling would be wise, giving you insight into what needs to be fixed — and how.

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