At 24, I met the woman I consider the love of my life. Our chemistry was through the roof instantly and I fell madly in love.
We dated briefly, but her demanding career left little time for being together. I had difficulty finding work so returned to school for a one-year program away.
We Skyped and messaged each other daily. She was finally learning to balance the demands of work with a social life.
However, she met someone else and became committed to him.
They've married, built a house, and adopted a dog together. We've remained very close in the six years since, sometimes engaging in inappropriate conversations and emotional cheating.
I feel I still have no control over my feelings for her.
I've been unable to connect with any woman and am miserable with serious depression.
I've tried to cut her out of my life so I can move on, but each time we realize that we care too much about each other.
How can I set boundaries and pull myself out of this debilitating fog?
Heartbroken in Boston
Like the ad says, Just Do It.
She’s had six years to decide if she made the wrong choice. Instead, she’s kept her marriage, plus the game she plays with you. It keeps her secure in her lifestyle, and adds the spice of flirtation and teasing.
Good for her, bad for you.
You have to put boundaries on YOURSELF. Say that if she has any real feelings for you, she has to accept there’s to be no more contact.
Worse for you than the emotional cheating, is the co-dependency of this relationship. She feeds on the outside flattery, you on false hope that sustains your depression. End it.
During five years of marriage, I’ve made sure that my husband’s family members receive thoughtful presents from us for every event.
His sister has only thanked me once or twice for gifts I send her son. She knows it’s me who picks them out, and gets them shipped to him in time for whatever the occasion.
But she won’t thank me for anything. For his mother, I always send several things over a few days including Mother's Day.
None of them have ever remembered my birthday. I only get a message from his mom on Facebook - probably because she gets a reminder.
For Christmas, his mom sends a check usually addressed only to my husband, card, and all. And they give him birthday gifts.
His mother has sent my son a check for a couple of his birthdays only after my husband tell her to do this.
I feel they don’t really accept me as part of their family.
My husband is upset about this since I’ve raised it with him. He feels maybe he isn't as close to his family as he thought if they’re so quick to forget his wife's birthday.
His upset is over what it says about his family’s relationship to him.
You’ve apparently married into a cold group of relatives here. But your husband chose warm, generous, caring YOU. So, with a little teaching, he can learn better responses.
It’s his job to tell his mother and sister that he loves you dearly and wants you acknowledged. And has to follow up if they don’t change their pattern.
Meanwhile send cards when appropriate, keep up a connection to your nephew. You don’t want to lower to their standards but don’t have to knock yourself out either.
FEEDBACK Regarding whether women are more controlling than men (Jan. 27):
Reader - “It begs the question: Why are men so weak?
“My ex-husband once told me I was controlling. He continues to be a man unable to express his feelings, have an opinion or even a backbone.
“Throughout our marriage he was incapable of making any decision - couldn’t pick a meal, plan a holiday, or tell me what he was feeling.
“So I began making decisions, ran a household, and took care of our son.
“Since I’ve been single again, all the men I’ve met share similar traits as my ex.
“I work hard at teaching my teenage son to stand up for himself, speak his mind, and have an opinion. Every man and woman should.”
Ellie – Yes, they should. But when they don’t, the other person doesn’t have to appear “controlling.” You’re choosing the wrong men.
Tip of the day:
The longer you keep up false hopes, the lower your self-pride and outlook.