Couple Wars: All Guests

Couple Wars: All Guests

Tracy and Billy's five-year marriage has been so rocky, they say they've come close to divorce several times. They admit to arguing 24/7 about everything, and that their biggest disputes revolve around trust and money. "Billy can't have an ATM card because he would go out all the time," says Tracy. She explains that she controls the family's finances because "I don't trust him with money."

 

Billy responds, "She can control the money, I'd just like to see where my paycheck is going."

Dr. Phil points out that the number one power lever in a relationship is money, and asks Tracy, "Is controlling it so important that you are willing to absolutely run the relationship in the ditch in order to maintain that control?"

 

Tracy answers, "Sometimes I think so, yeah."


Billy reveals, "We're both very, very stubborn people, but I wouldn't want to be without her." He claims that he doesn't want to control the money, he just wants to see where it's going. He also says his weekly allowance of $100 isn't enough to get by. "I'd like to have an ATM card," Billy explains. "I'd like to be able to go and get her something nice, which I can't do now. I've got to put money in the gas tank to get back and forth to work to pay the bills."


Dr. Phil asks, "What would she have to do for you to be the happiest guy in the world?"

 

Billy pleads, "I'd like to be able to have trust and to be able to look at my funds." He says he also wants access to the money and respect from his wife.


During the show, Whitney tells Dr. Phil, "It's really tough [when they argue] because I feel like I have to listen to both sides and tell them how to work out their problems." Whitney doesn't want to be in the middle anymore but says, "I know I have a good life and they both individually love me." Whitney would like to have family time but sadly states, "We could be in the best place in the world and we don't enjoy it because we don't like being together."


Dr. Phil asks the couple if they know how many millions of people in America would love to hear their teenager say, 'I want quality time with Mom and Dad'? Angie responds by admitting that she is staying in the marriage solely for the kid's sake.


Dr. Phil asks Sidney, "Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, 'How much fun am I to live with?'"

 

Sidney jokes, "I wouldn't want to go to Disneyland with me." Sidney defends his negativity by saying that he's tired when he gets home from work and doesn't want to be bothered with the children's homework or household duties. "I know I'm wrong," admits Sidney. "I know I need to put more into this marriage than money."


Dr. Phil urges the couple to be very specific about their needs. "The formula for success in a relationship is based on an underlying friendship and in large part, a function of how well you meet the needs of your partner," says Dr. Phil. "And what she's telling you here is that she has needs that you're not meeting."

 

Dr. Phil tells the couple that they both need to get back to being good friends and figure out what each other's needs are and do whatever it takes to meet those needs.


Turning to Tracy, Dr. Phil asks, "Do you ever stop and think, 'What in the world is wrong with me? I have choreographed my life in such a way that I am going through this hellish existence every single day of my life?'" Tracy admits that she doesn't feel like she's doing anything wrong.


Dr. Phil explains that all of us are life managers: "You've got one client and that's you. You can influence [Billy], but you can't control him. The only person you can control is you." Dr. Phil continues, "You have put together a set of choices that have put you in a situation where you are miserable every day. If you were my life manager, I'd fire your butt. But you can't fire yourself. Don't you ever wonder why you are treating yourself that way?"


A defensive Tracy responds, "So I'm treating myself this way? Is it my fault that he doesn't come home?" Dr. Phil clarifies, "I didn't say fault. I said choice."

Dr. Phil contends that both Tracy and Billy are blaming the other person completely for the problem and advises the couple to own their part of it. "Both of you are fighting to be right and neither one of you is within a country mile of being right in this situation. You are sabotaging this relationship every single day." Dr. Phil encourages the couple to create a truce but is not convinced that they really want one.


Dr. Phil sums it up, "Everybody's not supposed to be married. Just because you two got married, doesn't mean that you're each other's soul mate."


Dr. Phil urges the couple to think about what each of them can do personally to make the relationship better. Dr. Phil adds, "And unless and until you can, you may as well sign those [divorce] papers because this is a dead-end street."


Steve and Karen have been married six years and have two children: Angelica and Hope. Hope is their oldest child, but unlike Angelica, she's not Steve's biological daughter. Karen claims that there's a lot of friction in the house because Steve and Hope do not get along. Steve admits, "The fighting between Hope and I has had a very big impact on my marriage with Karen."


Twelve-year-old Hope is well aware of her parent's constant arguing and blames herself for their problems. Hope admits, "I feel rejected by my dad ... He doesn't want to spend time with me like he wants to spend time with my little sister. Sometimes I get so mad that I don't want to live here anymore."

Steve tells Dr. Phil that Angelica is his baby and that he loves her with all of his heart. When asked about Hope, Steve admits, "It's hard for me to say whether I love Hope or not."

 

Dr. Phil recalls, "You also said in our interviews with you before that you just don't think it's possible to love a non-biological child the same way you do a biological child."


Karen says she feels torn, "I love Steve very much, but on the other hand, I love Hope with all my life and she will always come first with me. The word divorce has come up in conversation. We're trying as hard as possible not to go down that road." She continues, "My worst fear is that my family will split apart. That Steve will go one way, Hope and I will go another way, and that we'll have to fight to see which way Angelica goes."


Karen mentions that Steve has never said "I love you" to Hope, and that he doesn't hug her, read her bedtime stories, or pay her any attention.


Steve admits that he gets angry with Hope for watching TV in the living room instead of her bedroom, and for not doing the laundry or taking care of the cat.

 

Dr. Phil cuts Steve off, saying, "Let's get real. If she feeds the cat, are you going to love her? Is that what you're saying?" Dr. Phil tells the couple that they are "playing with serious fire. I believe that you are sending her a terrible message."


Karen tells Dr. Phil, "I asked Hope, 'Do you want me to divorce Daddy?' She said, 'Mommy, I know how much you love Daddy, no.' She wants me to be happy."


Dr. Phil firmly states, "Don't ever have that conversation with her again. It is a bad enough problem that right now she's saying 'I know I'm a problem here. I know they fight over me. I feel guilty about that.' And then you go to her and say, 'You tell me if you want me to get rid of my husband, the man I love.' Do not burden a child with adult issues."

Dr. Phil tells Steve that he has "a moral duty, an absolute high order of priority to say, 'I have put myself in this young woman's life. I am required to make a positive experience for her.'"


To both Steve and Karen, Dr. Phil says, "Hope's home must be her soft place to fall. She's got to know that no matter what else happens in this world, 'there are two people that think I am the most special thing to ever come down the road.' She needs to feel that. You need to change this with her before the sun sets today."

Angie says her husband, Sidney, is "the most negative person I have ever met." She admits they argue about everything and anything, and questions how much longer she can continue in her 19-year marriage. Sidney counters, "I think I work very hard to support my family. When I come home, I would like a little peace and quiet."


The couple's relationship problems have become family problems. "My parent's fight at least once a day like clockwork," says their daughter, Whitney. She continues, "I know things that I should never know and no kid my age should ever think about."