Following are leftover questions from my online chat, “Can You Forgive A Cheater?” (July 29):
My father died suddenly a couple of years ago, and my mother “re-connected” with her former teaching colleague six months later. He moved in.
Seeing them together, it’s obvious they’ve been close and intimate for a very long time.
I asked my mother if she’d cheated on Dad and she brushed me off, saying there are things a parent and child don’t discuss.
I’m an adult, age 25. I’m furious at both of them, disappointed in my mother, hurt for my dad. I don’t see how I can ever forgive her.
Your mother’s trying to protect you. Whatever went on in your parents’ marriage is her business, and she’s wise to not share her past with you.
Maybe she had an affair with this man, maybe not. Maybe she had reasons for turning elsewhere, maybe not.
Her decision to not respond is for your benefit, not just hers. And, for the sake of your relationship.
You may be upset now to not want to be close, but you may still want and need her later.
You only have assumptions, suspicions, and doubts. And, understandably, grief.
But you have no “evidence,” no background information for understanding it with compassion, and without seeing their happiness as a personal insult.
Be glad that your mom’s able to be happy now. Your father’s sudden death was a shock to her, too.
It confronted her with many changes – emotional, financial, and more. No matter the new situation, she also suffers his loss.
I’m a man who doesn’t get it when I hear about women or men who give up on having sex with their spouses.
I occasionally hear that women friends of my wife have decided that after having kids, they were “done with sex.”
Also, a colleague at work speaks openly about how sex is “a bad deal” for wives who end up doing double the work – outside the home, and then cooking meals, doing laundry, etc.
She proclaims that she’s not going to keep “rewarding her husband” for doing only half a share.
To me, giving up sex is like cheating on the marriage vow. What do you think?
A–IF a wife or husband arbitrarily gives up sex with his/her partner without pursuing what’s caused the change – whether medical, psychological, a serious rift in the marriage, etc. – I agree that it’s wrong, hurtful, and even mean.
And be assured that I get emails to this column from both sexes about their spouses giving up sex.
However, there are sometimes solid reasons why people experience a change in their libido. In any union, these changes should be acknowledged, discussed, and researched.
Some health changes that are serious and need early attention could be a cause, so could excess use of alcohol and drugs, as well as certain medications. That’s why a medical check is necessary.
Hormone changes in both women and men can lower the sex urge, and there ARE treatments, some natural therapies, etc. It doesn’t mean that you have to accept aging as a cause that can’t be modified.
Most important is the discussion that needs to take place between the couple, so that both know that it’s a mutual challenge they need to confront together.
Meanwhile, other intimacy can still occur – cuddling, stroking, kissing, compliments, and appreciation, and, if possible, mutual masturbation.
The marriage vow is “to love and cherish.” Sex isn’t the only important part of that vow.
I really want to cut off communication with my ex because he is seeing other girls. So I really want to avoid him.
You’re not clear whether he cheated on you while you were together… your brief email conveys anger, either that he played you, or moved on very quickly.
Given that anger, it’s best to avoid him. You’ll only embarrass yourself if you blow up at him publicly.
If he tries to contact you, don’t answer – not texts, emails, or phone calls. Let a couple of weeks pass before you even read what he has to say.
If you respond on any social media in an angry mood, it stays there forever and can make you look foolish, needy, and nasty, etc.
Take this time to heal your hurt feelings. Hang out with close friends; get support from your family.
But avoid drama. It only prolongs negativity.
Tip of the day:
Don’t judge relationships that have background circumstances that aren’t your business.