Q. My husband doesn't want to work. I'm working and providing everything in the house. Imagine I leave for work in the morning and i leave him in bed and i still have to come and cook supper for him whilst he spends his whole time doing nothing. is this fair? We've been married for a year and 6 months. He's 36 and I'm 29.
A. Your husband is obviously taking advantage because you are unhappy about your situation but appear mainly to be blaming him, while you reinforce his actions by allowing him to get away with his behaviour. Naturally, you will find someone else attractive in this instance because you are not getting much at home. But you need to sort home first before another relationship.
If you want change, you have to change YOURSELF first. You will not get change in your husband any other way. So, start off by telling him calmly that you have ended up doing everything and you need some help if you are to continue bringing in the money. Then you make a schedule of everything you both do, and clearly mark out what he has to do each week, if he wishes to stay at home. Tell him that the marriage is in danger if he does not play his part. Then put it on a trial for a couple of weeks, no more. When he completes his schedule, praise him for everything he does because it sounds as though he is not getting much affirmation just now with you being resentful of his behaviour. There is nothing for him to feel proud of and staying in bed is his way of shutting out your success and controlling the situation.
If nothing happens from his side, you then have to do something drastic to show him you are serious, otherwise you will simply end up getting more of the same forever and ever. After all, who wouldn't please himself if he had someone to not only look after him through working, but come home and look after him there, as well? I'm afraid you have to stop blaming him and give him some love - and ultimatums - instead. Blaming might make you feel temporarily better, but it resolves nothing at all except to make you out to be the bad guy, the opposite of what you really want. It also makes the relationship stressful for you both.
I think your husband has problems of low self-belief an self-esteem and so takes the easy way out by letting you get on with it. But you should not have put up with this behaviour beyond the first 3 months, otherwise it simply continues, as he thinks you'll always accept it so as not to upset anything. Time for a change, Carla. It's not easy to break a marriage but any man worth his salt would see that his value to his family lies in at least contributing. You really don't have a husband if he contributes nothing. You might as well be living on your own.
Q. Elaine, how can I stop worrying? I wish I could put fears I have about my boyfriend cheating out of my mind. I feel I'm not good enough for him and I know there are a few women who like him. He treats me wonderfully. There is no cause for me to doubt him. But I feel sick with worry sometimes.
A. Let me put some questions to you. Think about your replies carefully.
The TWO main reasons why we worry are:
2. We wish to control everything on our path. But when we just let go we are then in for some BIG surprises. We do not have all the answers to our lives. So the more we worry, the more we stop things from happening, while we become fearful and negative in the process. Tomorrow will happen, with or without us. Why worry about a time we might never even live to see, and which we cannot do anything about?
Let's look at the facts.
He fell in love with YOU, no one else.
It means that if he wanted someone else, he would not be with you, so you can't blame him for anything yet. He CHOSE you. Why should he go after someone else? The main problem lies with your self-esteem. You don't think you are worthy and that will cause you a lot of pain if any of your relationships break, because you are depending on someone else for your happiness and affirmation instead of yourself.
Worry indicates a lack of confidence coupled with a desire for perfection and a fear of making mistakes. FEAR is at the root of it all. Once you let go of that fear and begin to appreciate people, to value love and GRATITUDE, life opens up for you. It means doing your best and damn the consequences; to feel proud of who you are and go for it. But that takes a while to develop when your resources are low and your desire for approval is high. Worrying is not good, as it is likely to turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy which you would have brought into effect all by yourself! In fact, your worrying will soon irritate him and drive him away to someone more confident and appealing.
Learn to love yourself and accept yourself as you are. Learn to know yourself too and where you're heading and you will stop worrying about your boyfriend. You will slowly realise that if, or when, he leaves you, there is likely to be someone better waiting, because you deserve it. You are acting as if he is the only man on earth because you don't love yourself enough. You feel he is the best you can get. But that's all in your head, caused by low self-esteem.
He might be the icing on your cake for now, but YOU are the cake. Start giving yourself some slack and appreciating the unique person you are. Begin to show appreciation for all your blessings by looking outward to others instead of merely focusing negatively on yourself and you won't feel so helpless. You will find that things will come into perspective and your fear will ease. You'll be grateful for what you have and make the most of it instead of reducing its value and taking it for granted.
There are tons of men out there for you and that's what you should begin to tell yourself daily. The more confident and self loving you are, the more attractive you will seem to them. If all you do is worry, you will become increasingly unhappy and unattractive. You will also begin to mistrust your boyfriend, and where there is mistrust, that's a shaky relationship in the making. Mistrust and fear are not the basis for any relationship. They only breed jealousy, insecurity and accusations.
There is nothing attractive about fear. It's love which makes us shine. The day you can say to yourself, "So what if he fancies someone else? He can bugger off", is the day you realise who you are, and the day you truly start to love both yourself and your boyfriend. Fear isn't love, it's control and soon becomes claustrophobic. When we truly love it is unconditional upon whatever the other person does. True love means that you don't spend time worrying about his actions. You just enjoy every moment of his company and give thanks that someone who loves you is actually in your life cherishing you and caring for you. Gradually, nothing else should matter except reciprocating that love.
Your boyfriend is already reinforcing your value to him. When will you stop knocking yourself and reinforce his judgement of you?
Q. My husband and his best friend relationship bothers me alot. They have known each other since high school. He was in love all the time with her. But my husband wants to be a good friend to her still. He calls her his only friend and even offered to take care of her when she was pregnant, to support her and the baby and have them live with us. He even volunteered me to help take care of the baby! Once he informed me that he would be staying some nights at her place. I told him I didn't like the idea and felt uncomfortable about it. He didnt understand why and told me that the only way that he wouldn't stay at her place is if she won't allow him. What should I do?
A. How very stressful and uncomfortable this must be for you. Unhappiness is a health concern which quickly pulls you down, so don't put up with this any longer than you have to.
There are several issues here which need sorting quickly and only you can do them, regardless of how much he is to blame. First you need to ask him a question: If you had a boyfriend like that and stayed with him when you felt like it, would he, as your husband, be happy with it? His answer should tell you where he is now in his head and what you need to do with your life, because no man on earth would put up with a similar behaviour from a woman. Sounds like he has never been out of love with that woman and wants to have his cake and eat it. If he was willing to have her live in your home without even seeking your agreement, how do you know the baby isn't his?
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What your husband is doing is unhealthy, wrong and unacceptable, especially to you. If he is happy with you as his wife, there should be no room for a third person in your lives. Everyone has friends, but there is always a clear boundary between that friendship and the more intimate family relationship. It seems as though he is paying far more attention and care to his 'friend' than he is to you. What is lacking here is basic RESPECT. He seems to have none for you anymore because you have perhaps put up with so much of his behaviour, no matter how you are hurting, he expects you to put up with everything else he does, even when it is clearly inappropriate to your marriage.
When there is no respect in a relationship, there is not much else there either. It seems to be just a sham alliance between you. Why would any man who cares about his wife wishes to spend nights with another woman, whether they have sex or not? And how do you know they are not sleeping together? It sounds as though he has two wives and only you can put a stop to it for your own sanity. The next time he insists on sleeping over at his friend, you go away too and stay with someone without telling him when you are returning, and see how he feels when he returns to an empty house.
You really must do something about this situation because he is treating you very disrespectfully and, unless you treat yourself with some respect and love, how can he treat you otherwise? He is taking advantage of your good nature and you have to decide what you want for your life and do something about it soon because he will simply carry on that way and you just get more of the same. Do you wish to be second best to his friend forever? Do you wish to have your husband sleeping in someone else's house when he should be in yours? Stop putting up with unacceptable treatment and find the courage to act. Then he will have to decide whom he really wants. At least you have taken back some of your power by not talking to her anymore because as long as you are 'friends' with her, it gives him the approval to keep behaving badly. He can continue pretending that you don't mind. But she is not the issue. The key thing here is the both of you and what you want from each other. What kind of relationship do you have now? Something is very wrong and needs fixing, or you need to break altogether. Just focusing on her is not going to do anything because it takes two to tango.
When your husband married you he made a public commitment to you, not to your friend, to cherish and love you. It is time he got his priorities right, if he really cares for you. If he doesn't change his behaviour, then you have your answer, really, and it's up to you to act upon it. We can never change another person. We can only change ourselves to get the change we desire.
Good luck in whatever you do as it won't be easy.
Q. My husband has never really placed much importance on "occasions" but has certainly never forgotten one before. I reminded him about our 10th wedding anniversary as I truly think it is important and would like to have done something special. I was surprisingly disappointed. But he thinks it is not an issue at all and has done nothing to even apologise or attempt to redeem himself in anyway. Am I wrong to have feel let down?
A. You are not wrong to feel let down at all, but if your husband has never forgotten before and he also does not seem remorseful or apologetic for missing such a major occasion, it is likely that he has done it deliberately out of resentment for something else. This is the time to seek a very calm and quiet chat, which will be on four levels:
1. First, to affirm him and thank him for being a wonderful husband and for everything you've both enjoyed so far. Often when something goes wrong, we merely concentrate on the negatives and make things worse.
2. Then let him know how disappointed you were about him forgetting and how surprising that was for you, as it was not like him at all, from your experience.
3. Ask if he's feeling all right about things. Is there anything bothering him you might be able to help with? Is he really happy? And then LISTEN. It is not just about one party in the relationship, and often we focus on ourself a lot forgetting the other person's needs.
4. Tell him that you hope he can appreciate how disappointed you feel as you are proud of the marriage and naturally wish to celebrate it. You are also sure he would be disappointed if you forgot something very important to him. Ask if you can both do something else to make up for it soon. Then see what happens.
Expectations and their unfulfilment kill relationships by encouraging resentment and tit-for-tat behaviour. Yet, if we do not value and respect what matters to partners, what is the relationship about? If he is a very good husband otherwise, I would forgive this lapse, praise him to the skies and wait for the next occasion to see how he behaves. If it becomes a pattern, you may have real trouble brewing!
Q. My husband brings a woman to the house and introduces her to me as his friend. Now they are together. What can I do? Should I ask the friend about it? When we are at church she goes and gets him tea and if she is going to the shop he sits and waits for her. He even allows her to sit in the front of the car while me as is wife have to drive in the back. Should I confront her about it?
A. It must be a very painful time for you, having a woman in your life who is clearly being treated as a greater priority than you are. But do not confront her at all. That would not be wise. Instead, you should do two things immediately:
1. You tell her not to return to your house until you have talked with your husband.
2. Then you ask him for an explanation: of exactly where this woman fits into your lives. She did not take vows of loyalty and commitment, you both did, and that must be worth something still. You can also add that it will be either you or her if he hasn't got an answer.
You must be feeling really bad and excluded just now. Your husband is taking advantage of you and is treating you with a gross lack of respect. Yet at the heart of love is respect and when that goes, there is no love. However, this is not just his fault, it is yours too. You are probably putting up with unacceptable behaviour already because you believe you cannot do without him, or you fear the consequences of any action you might take. So he will keep pushing the boundaries of your patience and tolerance until you are completely edged out of that marriage.
Time for you to stop being a doormat and being passive and stand up for yourself, otherwise fear will leave you with nothing. Do not ask him to do anything. Make up three or four ultimatums and TELL him you need them to be done, otherwise you will have to leave him because he has no respect for your feelings. Even if it doesn't come to that, you would have asserted your rights as a wife. Remember that no one can treat you better than you treat yourself, and if you are taking anything he hands down, you have no respect for yourself either. If you do not react, the situation will simply get worse. By pretending she is your friend too, he validates his relationship with her and has no guilt. Worse still, he will use your 'friendship' with her to overstep the boundaries. Time to do something before you are completely replaced by someone else.
However, from another angle, it seems this lady has something to offer him which you are not giving him just now and you probably need to listen to his explanation of why he is behaving that way and find out what it is. He probably feels neglected, unloved or unwanted in attention - or simply feeling bored with the relationship - and is making up for it elsewhere. Are you the type that may be set in your ways and don't do certain things? Or is he the controlling type who feels the need to dominate women in some way?
Time for some self examination and radical action from both of you. If you do nothing, you will have a very painful and insecure time ahead of you watching this woman taking his attention and goodness knows what else. Good luck with that courage as it cannot be easy being the insensitive pastor's wife at this time.
Q. My boyfriend wears two silver chains on his wrist and never takes them off. The only problem is, one of them is from his ex girlfriend, the mother of his child and says "R loves A" on it. He hasn't been with "R" for over five years now. Also, I get on very well with his ex and love his son as my own - this is nothing to do with jealousy! I've hinted at it a couple of times but he's just brushed it off. Right, so, I want him to stop wearing this bloomin' chain! How should I ask him to take it off? Also, do you actually agree with me or do you think I should just let it go?
A. You might say that it is nothing to do with jealousy, but it is. Otherwise, you would not be at all bothered by it. The problem with any kind of jealousy is that it tends to destroy relationships by eating away at mutual trust and focusing on the perceived negatives while missing all the good things between the couple. He is not a child so you cannot make him stop wearing the chain unless he wants to, but you could lose him in the process of you keep pushing it.
Our past is very important to us. That past has helped your boyfriend to be the way he is, the man you like so much, and his past girlfriend helped to bring him to this point. Being jealous of a gift she gave him when they are no longer together, and he is clearly with you, is not worth your time and effort. I have three bracelets on my hand, all given by the significant men in my life and I would not part with any of them. They indicated that I was valued, loved and desired. They do not suggest that I still love or want any of my former partners. They are integral to my past and meant something in the giving, but they say nothing about my feelings now and where I am. Only my behaviour will indicate that. If any new man comes into my life to tell me to remove them, that would be negating what I value, ignoring my past, and dictating how I should behave. I would rather let them go than my bracelets because the first law of respect is to like that person as they are, not how we wish them to be. As you said, you met him with his chains and he courted you with his chains, having had that one for five years. Now you want him to take it off. Not good.
The only main thing which helps a relationship to last is giving each other SPACE to be who you are and wish to be. Anything else makes a relationship claustrophobic, causes undue anxiety and eventually drives partners away. I think you are saying more about your feelings of insecurity and vulnerability by feeling jealous of his chain, especially if you are good friends with the lady, than any motives your boyfriend might have. I am sure you would hope that if you gave him something you both treasure now that he would keep it forever as a memento, even if you broke up simply because he values you. There is nothing so strange about that.
If that was the only silver chain he wanted to wear, and nothing from you, I would be worried. But it does not sound as though that is the case, so I would simply relax and let him be who he wants to be. Rather than focusing on his chain while you miss the good things between you, I would try to get some balance back. You see, if he hasn't removed it already after your mentioning it, you will then seem like a jealous nag if you keep on about it. It will also be subconsciously affecting other things too between you. That is then likely to make him keep it on for the sheer hell of it. Be careful you do not focus on the chain to the detriment of your relationship. It really isn't worth it. Most important, jealousy and insecurity imply a lack of trust and lack of self love that is never attractive to a partner.
I think your obsession with his chain is a symptom of something else which is frustrating you just now, or that you feel resentful about and the chain has become a symbol of that frustration, perhaps a test of his love for you. Let it go, please. If you make it an issue you could lose even more in the bargain. Focus on loving him and showing him how much you value him by reinforcing what he values too. Who knows, one day, perhaps without you even noticing, he might not wish to wear it again.
Q. I don't like my boy friend. He is scolding me for each and everything. I feel very bad. I don't want him but how to avoid him. Help me
A. Anyone who scolds you and tends to be negative towards you is not good for you. We can only grow and thrive in the right atmosphere and with the right people. A relationship should ENHANCE how your feel, not make you feel worse. If you feel badly with your boyfriend it is time to let him go and find someone who will uplift you, value you and treat you with respect.
Your boyfriend does not value or respect you, that's why he treats you like that. He clearly lacks self esteem, perhaps is secretly jealous of you and so uses you as a handy scapegoat to make himself feel better by putting you down and feeling superior, especially if you have a bright personality. The main question is: Do you value yourself enough to get out of that friendship and away from him before you become as negative as he is? Or do you feel so dependent on him emotionally that you would put up wit clearly inappropriate behaviour to be 'loved'.
The answer is up to you. You need to build your own confidence too so that you can recognise, and act upon, when someone is not right for you, when they do not really appreciate you or when they are abusing you.
Just tell him you don't wish to see him again and have nothing further to do with him. If you stay in that situation for much longer you will soon begin to behave as he expects you to and you will feel even worse. If he persists in seeing you, then you might need to tell someone, but you need to make it clear it is over, to allow your confidence to return, and to move on with your life.
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Q. How do you handle this type of situation? Do you try to be understanding and sympathetic and give them some space or walk away? Do you confront them and hope to work it out? Do you wait until they've gotten some sleep or had their coffee to talk with them?
A. This is a tricky situation because when someone really cares for you, that is not consistent with negative behaviour. They might get mad sometimes, as we all do, but they are more interested in being loving and caring than always being grumpy and argumentative. In such cases, there is a marked lack of respect for the person on the receiving end of that bad attitude. And wherever respect is gone, then one person is always being used at the expense of another. Worse still, that is the beginning of the end for many relationships.
Your man sounds as though he has gotten into a pattern of behaviour which you have unwittingly reinforced down the years or months. Now he feels he has to continue it every time he gets up without thinking of how you might be feeling and the effect it might have on you. Slowly, you are becoming his scapegoat for how he feels and nothing will ever be any different, so long as he believes that he can carry on with that in your presence and you just accept it. You owe it to each other to think about mutual welfare and treat one other lovingly. If he is not recognising that, there are underlying problems which might need sorting.
It is always best to wait until someone is not too tired or have had some sleep to raise issues with them as they should be in a better frame of mind. But if you only see them when they are tired, or that is the only time they have, then conversations have to be made at such times.
It is perhaps time to do a balance sheet of your relationship. Ask yourself some uncomfortable questions which are not going to give comfortable answers. The first one should be: How much love and affection do I receive overall, compared to his grumpiness and moodiness? Often, as people become more negative, the degree of love and sex that they give their partner diminishes too, because one cannot be grumpy or angry and be loving at the same time! If there is increasing anger, the love gradually erodes too, and the relationship begins to feel more like a battleground than a partnership.
Next question is how 'happy' do you really feel overall? Or is it mainly stress and anxiety as you worry about how he is going to wake up next day? If the happiness is getting less and less, it is time to consider your options. Negative, grumpy behaviour which is constant is not good for anyone's health, let alone long term wellbeing. So you might find that a major problem is developing in your relationship which might require some drastic action. But only you have the answers.
Q. I fell in love with a handsome man and soon afterwards I asked him to move in with me. I knew his past was a bit mysterious, but I never asked questions because I loved him. One month after living together, my credit card company called and asked if anyone had permission to withdraw cash advances against my credit card? He confessed to withdrawing $300 from my credit card. My heart sunk. I loved him, and so forgave him, but, in view of what he also did later on, was I wrong?
A. Two things you must always remember in life: You ALWAYS act correctly for that moment because you felt that was the only choice you had then, according to your needs, and NEVER dwell on past decisions because you cannot undo them. You cannot go back in time to change them, it only makes you miserable and, worst still, it actually makes you doubt future actions.
Love makes us do tons of things in life we sometimes wouldn't dream of doing because when we love, we really care, and so it is natural to forgive loved ones and try to protect them. But only you alone can work out whether you did the right thing because only you have all the facts about the partnership. However, from what you have said, the mere fact that he took your credit card without telling you anything suggests the kind of person he is - a user. If he had problems, he could have shared them with you and asked your advice. You might even have offered to help. But I guess his reason wasn't genuine either. So not only was he enjoying your hospitality in your place, but he expected you to provide money too. Not a genuine person who cared for you at all.
Love is supposed to include caring, sharing and protecting. If you really want an answer to see just how much he 'loved' you, recall all the times he did things for you, gave you money instead of taking it, looked after your welfare, etc. If you ended up doing far more for him than you received in return, you have your answer. That's no love. That's taking advantage.
Stop thinking about the past now. If you live back there, you cannot make much of your present either, and you will start losing out on new relationships. You made your decision and whatever happened after that was meant to happen. You couldn't prevent it. So just accept what life throws at you, act upon it and move on without backward glances, much more wiser for it. If you stop thinking about this negative part of your life and start thinking positively, you will attract someone that really suits you. If you keep thinking about your past and living in negativity you will simply keep attracting the same user types and repeat the pattern all over again.
The choice is yours, I'm afraid. So let it be, if you wish for a better life.
Q. My hubby works crazy hours and I'm really understanding as he pays all my bills, but Im tired of this crap, let me tell you. Today he's got a meeting, every Wednesday at 3.30pm. He texts me at like 5pm to say he's almost done and his cell is dying but he will be home soon........well you guessed it: 9.30pm and still no sign of him. Well I worry, so I call his work. They say 'oh he's just left'. Well why didn't he pick up a dang phone and call me? He calls like 9.35 and says 'I'm well on my way', and guess what? His cell phone's not so dead after all. We have a baby on the way and its gonna need his father, so how do I talk to him without it sounding as mad as I feel?
A. You might really hate me for saying this, but I do think he's having an affair. The statistics, sadly, also speak for themselves: most affairs occur when the partner is pregnant. The pattern you describe is too regular and distinct.
How do you know that he has not told someone to tell you that he has just left?
How do you know that the time is not actually being spent with someone at the office? How do you know that he is actually in the building when he calls you at 5pm? As you rightly say, if his cell phone is dying, what happens to all the other office phones? Why can't he call you on any of them and reassure you in some way? It sounds like someone told him you called, and so he left immediately. It seems as though he has primed someone at the office to reassure you.
His actions point to a particular activity between those hours which he does not wish to be interrupted in, hence his cell phone going out of use on those occasions, regularly. And it is the regularity that is troubling. I think there are loads of questions that need answering here and sometimes, when we are afraid of the answers, we are also afraid to ask the questions, or to see that other things we dread could be the cause. Pregnancy is never an easy time for anyone so, I believe that, for your own peace of mind, there is something you need to do, and soon.
The next time he calls you and tells you the same story about his phone etc., accept it. Then about an hour afterwards, invent a reason and go to his workplace. Say something like you being in a tight spot and just wanted his reassurance and couldn't wait until he got home. Then you will see if he is really there or not. If he is there, you might be able to discover where he is exactly in the building or why it seems to follow such a pattern all the time. Working overtime seldom follows such rigid patterns like 5-9.30pm, unless it is regular agreed work times. So that would bother me greatly.
Something doesn't seem right here. No doubt you do trust him very much. The real question is now: Is he still deserving of that trust? Only you and him can agree on that.
There is never a good way to tell your man you love someone else because anything you say means hurt. So, regardless of how the words are couched in gentleness, sensitivity and compassion, it is still going to hurt and be interpreted in a negative way, for three main reasons.
First is the effect on the ego. Masculine ego takes a nosedive when that person feels they are no longer valued anymore. To be rejected for another MAN, especially, brings in the competitive element, and all that will immediately loom large will be sexual: the idea that another penis can pleasure the partner more than his. That is what affects men the most. How HAPPY their partners are going to be when they are with this new person, being loved by this person when they won't be loved by anyone, which makes them feel inadequate in their own capacity to please. This often breeds a lot of resentment and anger.
Second, loving someone else represents total rejection of that partner, what they have to offer, their protectiveness, care, nest building attributes. If they are still in love with the person who is leaving, that is doubly hard to take, because many people cannot imagine or see the reason why their spouse could dare fall for someone else when they have been such 'good' partners. Rejection appears to mean an immediate loss of usefulness, value and low self-perception, and is often very hard to deal with. That is why there is sometimes violence against women associated with a change in partners because some men lack self love and confidence so much, once they are perceived to be rejected by one partner, they interpret that as rejection by every woman on earth. They believe they are finished and turn aggressive as the ego cannot deal with such perceived loss of status and face.
Third, there is immediate uncertainty and fear of the future. Fear of being alone, of not being loved, of not having a 'life' anymore and fear of being unworthy to others. Fear is the dominant feeling when a break-up is threatened, and this fear affects everything else which follows. Fear makes it likely that partners will NOT listen to the reasons for the break, but put their own reasons in to justify how they feel and make themselves more self-righteous and victim-like. Most partners go in denial, refusing to believe that their actions might have had anything to do with the state of the relationship or the decision.
Partners deserve to be told when a new person is on the scene. They should be told factually, without too many reasons why, except that you have fallen out of love, perhaps no longer find them attractive, or just desire a different life - which are all your RIGHT. Emphasise how great they have been as partners, how much you appreciate what has been shared between you and how we all have to accept our emotions. If you start to find reasons relating to your partner why you love someone else, it will merely turn into useless accusations and blame, and escalate the situation negatively. Emphasise that feeling the way you do about your life, and your partner, and your need to grow and develop in a new way, is partly responsible for loving someone else. But it is YOUR desire for something new, something absent from the relationship, which you would like to discover, according to your needs and wants as a living, thinking, aspiring human being.
Once you have told them, DON'T hang around. Leave that person to deal with it in their own way, instead of being a constant reminder of what they have lost. That is why such disclosures are best left until after you have left the home or when you are actually leaving it. You can always communicate by phone, email or third parties later on. But to be still sharing the same space when you clearly love someone else, especially if that person is truly affected by it, is just rubbing salt into the wound and would create huge resentment and animosity.
There are numerous other ways to leave a partner but the main objective is to do it with sensitivity, empathy and gratitude for their presence in your life.
Q. I watched "Dr. Phil" tv show and they had a very interesting topic about having an affair with an older partner. The most interesting story was of a 38 year old woman and an 18 year old boy who happened to be her son's best friend. They fall in love with each other but, according to Dr. Phil, it is not appropriate. He questioned why the woman allowed that affair to happen which she knew it is wrong. Why is it that the society accepts when an older man fall in love with a young woman who is twice his age while others questioned an older woman when she falls in love with a younger guy. Isn't it unfair?
A. You have hit the nail on the head: the double standards enjoyed by men that appear to be quite proper when they do it, but improper when women do the same. After all, were it a man, this question would not be asked, it would be just taken for granted that men have a right to younger partners! Such censure of women is borne out of envy and jealousy at the changing behaviour between the sexes and the growing independence women are now enjoying.
First of all, in this case, both parties are adults. One might be more experienced than the other, but they are both consenting adults in the eyes of the law and that's the key thing which matters: that no law is being broken or any person being taken advantage of. What they do between them is their own business, so long as no one is being harmed. Furthermore, people are aging emotionally at a slower rate such that a 38 year old nowadays is still considered very young in thought and actions compared to someone similar, say, 40 years ago or more. The fact that older people are now sharing the activities and lifestyles of the young is also helping to throw them closer together in routine interactions. It is thus inevitable that there will be far more friendships between the generations than there were before, thanks to social networking sites and new technology.
If the young person is mature enough to deal with such an affair, he/she has to be allowed their free choice in the matter. The world is changing rapidly, the old values are disappearing while new ones take their place, especially regarding personal choices and freedoms. These two adults are free to do what they feel is right for them. Though many people might not regard their relationship as ideal, it is quite likely to be an exploratory phase for the young man, a key stage in his life which helps his own development, especially if it is a very enjoyable encounter. For the woman, it is probably an ego thing, needing to boost her feeling of worth at the thought of being appealing to a teenager, the same as how many men feel with 'trophy' partners on their arm. It boosts their confidence and self-esteem while making them feel more desirable to others.
My thoughts are that this is an 18 year old MAN and a 38 year old woman and they are entitled to make their own choices regarding each other, as they see fit without interference from others. The only inappropriate thing with this case relates to the fact that it is her son's best friend. This will then throw up other issues and spoil the relationship among the three of them. It will certainly become awkward between them, especially for her son. Such an affair should be with a stranger, not someone so close to home, as it will only bring disrespect, resentment and grief in the end.
I overheard one woman asking it of another recently and thought I would have to comment on it. Personally, I am surprised this question is even being asked, unless we pose it for women too! But we are moving in different times where people are becoming more self-sufficient and selfish, so it is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security regarding our need for others.
The one thing which is most noticeable about the world we live in is its balance. Everything has a time, a place and a cycle. There is always birth, growth, death and rebirth. Within that ordered world, with its predictable seasons and events, there is man and woman, deliberately created to complement each other in most ways, especially in the crucially important area of reproduction. Even if sperm alone was needed for reproducing without having a father figure as such, it would still need men to provide the sperm in the first place! So on that basis alone, men are very necessary.
Next is the emotional aspect of life. Human beings are social animals created to relate to others in an emotional way. Without others we would slowly go insane because we need others to affirm us, validate us and help establish our identity through the group. Above all, by being loved, we learn to love and appreciate ourselves too. Yes, there are many physical things we could do without men, but we wouldn't have these beautiful cities, for a start. There would be no one to build them. We would also die out within one generation because there would be no one to provide the sperm to enable fertilisation. We would become hardened, detached people in a very narcissistic way, focusing on ourselves instead of reaching out to others, and that is very limiting in itself. For example, success is only meaningful when it is shared with others.
Most importantly men are necessary to ensure that balance in society because one of the most enriching and reinforcing things in life is to be loved by another. In fact, some of the most miserable and isolated people are those who boast of being eternally single and not in need of anyone; that they can do without men, while they live lonely loveless lives of quiet desperation. If you are drawn to men, there is nothing more life affirming and beautiful than to share that loving connection with a man. Of course men are necessary, it goes without saying! Quite simply, without men, women have no real value, and vice versa. We would have to say goodbye to our world, as we know it!
"I married when I was eighteen, the marriage lasted seven years. I never married again, nor would I ever do so. Once bitten, twice shy! Do you agree, Elaine?"
A. No, I don't, actually. That is very sad because you are assuming that every man is exactly a clone of the other, behaving exactly as each other. That does not allow for uniqueness and individuality. I have a son who prides himself on just being him. I would hate him to be lumped with everyone else.
Would you say that you behave in exactly the same way as every other woman and view the world identically, or would you consider yourself an individual with your own thoughts and actions? I am sure you do. Yet we are quick to treat men as amorphous beings, merging into one another, once something goes wrong. If you also agree that marrying young is not a good idea, then hopefully, you would accept that being more mature would help you towards a better decision, not avoid marriage altogether.
Every setback in life is for our development. The lesson learned helps us to deal with the next setback, the next relationship, the next dilemma. When we deliberately stop that process with fear of being hurt instead of concentrating on the pleasure we might also have, we might not get hurt, but we wouldn't have the joys of an interaction either, robbing our life of its balance. Instead we are likely to hang back there in the past, reminding ourselves of old hurts, while having nothing but bitterness and scapegoats for company. That only makes us unattractive and bitter.
Everything in life makes us what we eventually become and you shouldn't miss out on something important simply because of past actions. Allow life to give you some surprises. As someone once said, 'The past is for reference, not for residence'. We have to let it go at some point if we are ever to fully enjoy the present.
Q. All they care about is satisfying their needs, and not the person. What does it say about a "man" that keeps trying to go out with loose girls that are too young for him? It is destructive when he cannot even stay committed to one woman. Could you trust someone like this? Maybe it's because I have had a bad experience, but I feel men are dogs that only care about themselves. And you? What is your honest opinion?
A. I have a couple of questions to ask you before I comment: If you have a son or brother, would that statement apply to them too? Would it also apply to your father? When we blanket people with negative and derogatory comments we tend to forget that stereotypes are awful things that do not take account of the individual, neither do they exclude your own family either!
Men are no more dogs than women are dogs, and there must have been a lot of women who have hurt men too. There are wonderful men, great men, sad men and low confidence men. No gender has a monoply on goodness. The reason why the man behaves as you have mentioned is because he has a difficult problem connecting emotionally with people. When we are emotionally weak, three things are likely to happen:
1. We have a very strong desire to prove ourselves, usually at the expense of others. We do not care whom we hurt in he process simply because we lack the emotional depth to appreciate the sad consequences of our actions. We tend to close out their pain in order to cope. We expect others to behave like us and so tend to please ourselves, rather than taking their feelings into account. It is also difficult to give the necessary respect and commitment required to lovers and partners because those values are integral to emotional awareness. Hence we would not understand why our actions are not appropriate, or considered wrong, without complete re-education and genuine love from those we care about.
2. We become very selfish. It is all about our needs and we fail to see the hurt we cause others by ignoring their feelings, desires and perspectives. It is not a malicious thing or necessarily deliberate. Emotional deficiency is just like any other illness which has a root cause. This person perhaps had little love and affection in childhood, perhaps was neglected or not taught certain responsibilities, or perhaps was not affirmed and reinforced as a valued person. It is then difficult for him to treat others with any love, respect or genuine affection because he cannot relate to other people's emotional needs, only their physical ones, hence the constant need for some kind of connection in the form of intimacy.
We just cannot give what we haven't got. Worst still, we often assume that everyone is like us in experience, values and expectations. Yet two strangers meeting to form a relationship is fraught with difficulty until both accommodate to each other. That is why expectations should be kept to a minimum in relationships while the learning process is in place in order for flexibility and adjustments to take effect.
3. We keep repeating the same negative patterns of behaviour because they give us the results we desire, despite the pain being caused. People who are emotionally deprived do not usually learn life lessons the way others do and so they seldom get the chance to alter their behaviour to something more positive. Instead, they are likely to believe that everyone else is 'wrong' and continue with the same behaviour, regardless of the consequences. Hence why the guy you mentioned keeps sleeping with women without acknowledging what he is doing, and cannot see how that is affecting you.
The only thing for you to do in such a circumstance is to find yourself someone else who matches the values and qualities you desire. But it is never really our place to stay with someone and blame them or vilify them just because they do not behave to our expectations. Each person is entitled to the life they want, just as you are entitled to yours. We might not like what others do, but it is then for us to choose the kind of people we wish to associate with, so that we can feel uplifted in the process. Blaming others and calling them names merely reducs us to their level and make us no better than they are, especially if we are prepared to put up with their bad behaviour, then chastise them for it instead of changing our own actions and getting out of there.
Yes, it is destructive when a person feels unable to commit and behave badly too. But constantly blaming them for it, while putting up with unacceptable behaviour won't get you the result you seek either, sadly. Furthermore, the way we treat others is the way they are likely to treat us too, in a vicious circle.