I have two daughters and a loving husband to whom I’ve been married for 17 years.
Twenty years ago, at 22 and in professional school, an older classmate approached me, 32, asking, "Can I love you?”
I was alone in a country away from family, from a conservative cultural background, without any romantic contacts before.
Though shocked, I said, yes.
I knew he was married and learned that his wife was pregnant. Yet I fell in love with him.
He was the most intelligent academically, well respected by all students.
After three years, I left that country. We promised to see each other soon.
I told my family about wanting to marry him. They refused to discuss it.
I never forgot him, got busy in my studies, then lost contact (no social media then and we didn't have cell phones).
Searching the Internet five years later, I found him. I was then married, mother of a toddler.
My parents had presented my husband to me. I’d liked him after one meeting (we’d talked by phone for four months prior).
I was good in academics but it took a backseat when I was in that first relationship, so I had low confidence starting off. Despite setbacks, I ended up with a great job.
I’ve contacted him four to five times. He’s divorced and remarried. I confided that I’m still trying to get over him.
He said his new wife is "the best thing that ever happened” to him.
He also said that he had no problems with his first wife!
I love my husband but have no passion or sexual desire towards him since getting married. He’s very upset over this but still loves our kids and me.
I’ve felt depressed for years and sometimes don't even like going to work.
I feel I was taken advantage of by this man, though he never forced himself on me. I made that choice.
I think he really loved me as he’d told his family about me and was dissuaded from getting a divorce due to having a young child.
I need professional help but am fearful of disclosing my past.
Your choice was strongly affected by the boldness and academic prestige of the older married man who was asking you for love/sex.
He could see that you were vulnerable – young, inexperienced, alone. Do not dwell on blaming yourself, even if you were compliant.
His move may’ve been legal, but he certainly did take advantage.
Yes, you need professional counselling, and disclosure is your first step toward.
A therapist will help you heal your deep, emotional wounds.
These past events in your life are crying out for you to learn new strategies to deal with them, and move forward with far less burden in your heart and mind.
You’re naturally fearful because you’ve held onto the pain of loss, rejection, embarrassment, and parental disapproval.
But you’re an intelligent woman who’s worked hard to be successful in your work, and you can also become successful at the personal tasks of therapy and self-healing.
Your husband knows that you’re emotionally blocked, which affects your sex life with him. He also must sense your depression.
Tell him that you wish to enter into individual counselling and to hopefully end your depression. He’ll be supportive because he loves you.
You owe this to yourself, first. But your daughters will also benefit greatly when their mother finds peace within herself.
Start the process.
FEEDBACK Regarding the drunk cousin who upset the bride’s wedding guests (Nov. 27):
Reader – “I felt devastated for his wife to experience all this humiliation in front of the wedding guests who came to have fun and support the bride and groom.
“However, this person/cousin has a serious drinking problem. Mental illness and addiction need support and help from family and close friends.
“To the bride - Changing one person’s life, such as this cousin with an addiction problem and that of his wife who’s living in agony, is very important and necessary.
“We have to be kind to one another. I urge you not to get mad and judge your cousin, but help him and give him full support so that he can be better not only for himself, but also for his wife, family and friends.”
Ellie – Only the alcoholic can decide to get sober, but family support and help after that decision, is important.
Tip of the day:
Buried feelings of being used, rejected, and forgotten easily cause depression, and require therapy.