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I can't compete with wife's lover.

MY wife and I have been married for 18 years.

I love her more than anything but she's having an affair with a man at work and looks after his two children.

She said she loves me but that she needs something more. She said I'd always be number one, so I agreed to share her.

Three years later she says she doesn't love me after all. She loves him and she wants me to leave. The thing is we go to bed and nothing seems different, we cuddle and make love.

I'm so desperate to keep her. But at night I think to myself she's cuddling me and she's thinking of him, so I suppose I should just accept that it's over and move out. But I want her so much it hurts.

NOT many men would put up with this arrangement.

You're obviously a very patient man as this state of affairs has been going on now for three years.

It seems to me that she wants everything her own way. By agreeing to her terms you've given her permission to leave you in limbo and be grateful for a few crumbs of affection from her table when it suits her. I realise she may be confused about her feelings but, I'm afraid the more you allowed her to treat you as a doormat, the more she has selfishly walked all over you.

She's taken advantage of your desperation to do whatever is necessary to hold on to your marriage. The more generous you are, the more she thinks she can take from you.

What woman wouldn't get a thrill of excitement to be adored by two men. But it's decimated your self-confidence.

What puzzles me is this man doesn't seem to be offering her very much in the way of commitment and is using her as his unpaid childminder.

I have my doubts that, if you left the coast clear for him, they'd be looking forward to a "happy-ever-after" ending.

It's probably a good thing that at long last you're facing up to reality, even though it hurts so much.

In truth you can't keep sharing her indefinitely or keeping your relationship going without any input from her.

Why do you want a woman who treats you so badly? Do you really think so little of yourself that you're willing to be second fiddle in her eyes to the other man?

I'm not for one moment dismissing the strength of your feelings or the depth of your despair, but I'd be failing you if I didn't point out that she isn't irreplaceable as a partner for you.

Cut off from my stepson

MY wife and I split up seven months ago and she now has a new boyfriend.

She has a son from a previous marriage whom I adore and she said she'd bring him to see me.

But from that day forward I've not seen him once. I was so devoted to him and it's really upsetting me

CLEARLY you think the world of your stepson and that's wonderful because time and time again I hear stories about stepfamilies not getting along.

Although it's hard on you, it's important not to make the boy the object of a tug of love. He's likely to be feeling very confused and it may be better for him at this stage if you back off to avoid antagonising your ex-wife.

I hope she's not using her son to wage a vendetta against you. I suspect if there's another man on the scene, it's more likely she's afraid he will be jealous and give them both a hard time if he thinks you have a strong bond with the boy.

Your stepson is obviously very important in your eyes and it's likely that he feels the same about you. If it's any comfort, there's going to come a time when he can decide of his own free will to see you.

In the meantime, keep in touch by sending the occasional letter, postcard, birthday and Christmas card, maybe even a small gift.

I'VE been married for 35 years and have had problems all my married life. I've always been scared of having sex because of my upbringing.

Fortunately my husband is very patient and caring and, although we have four grown-up children and are grandparents, my problem stays with me.

At 55, I feel I am too old for a sex therapist so any advice would be helpful.

I'VE thought long and hard about what advice I should offer and, to be honest, I've found this a difficult reply to write.

Nothing I can say could be an adequate substitute for the work of a sex therapist and I don't want to pretend that it could be. I think it would help enormously if you could talk through your feelings with someone who understood and was trained to help. I would argue very strongly that you're not too old at 55 to benefit from sex therapy and would be even more vehement about your being too old to bother about an exciting and satisfying sex life.

However, I sense it was a big step to acknowledge to me that there's a problem, and seeking one-to-one professional help is something you'd probably find impossibly difficult at the moment.

While I hope that sometime in the future you will think again about this idea, I don't want to let you down because you've already shown so much courage. But do remember that this reply is just a starting point.

I HAVE terrible mood swings and a temper. I'm selfish and sulk if I don't get my own way, especially where my boyfriend is concerned. I need to sort myself out.

I'm moody, miserable and nasty to everyone. No one at work likes me because I either ignore them or I'm in a mood and they leave me alone. Where can I get help?

YOU really are angry, aren't you? Why? It's important you get to the root of it because anger limits clear thinking and leads to impulsive actions which are often regretted. At the time it may make us feel we're in control of the situation but usually anger leads to behaviour which makes things worse.

And that's what seems to be happening in your case time and time again. We feel as we think and if you can change the way you think you are likely to change the way you feel, and subsequently the way you act and behave.

Anger stems not from what happens to us but from our attitude about what happens to us. The truth is that, although we may dislike or disagree with what someone has done or said, the decision to have an argument about it is ours alone.

The most effective form of treatment is therapy which makes use of role playing techniques. It's called cognitive therapy and your doctor will put you in touch with a psychotherapist who'll help you understand your anger and then control it.

I'VE been diagnosed as having irritable bladder syndrome.

My GP has given me drugs for the pain but I wondered if you could help me. I'm in a lot of discomfort. I'm going to see a homeopath in a couple of weeks and I'm pinning my hopes on him.

HERE'S a list of what some homeopaths recommend to treat irritable bladder. For each of the symptoms below you can take a dose every 15 minutes for four doses during an acute attack. Don't take anything without discussing each remedy with your homeopath.

Urge to urinate but nothing comes - Nux vomica.

Pain which is relieved if urination is postponed - Equisetum.

Urine feels like scalding water and is violently painful - Cantharis.

Burning pain at the end of urination and afterwards - Sarsaparilla.

Stinging pains improved by cold bathing - Apis.

Drink at least 2 litres of water daily to make sure you empty the bladder completely each time you urinate. Always wipe yourself from front to back after going to the toilet and empty your bladder after intercourse.

I'm sending you my leaflet on Irritable Bladder Syndrome. Strengthening pelvic floor muscles may also help and I'm also sending my leaflet on Pelvic Floor Exercises. The more you do these the stronger the muscles will become.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Stoppard, Miriam
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 25, 1998
Words:1386
Previous Article:Sir, you're a dunce.
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