I’m a man, 39, who married my first wife at 26. She soon went from being attractive, affectionate, and ambitious, to becoming lazy at home (I did all the chores, most of the cooking, cleaning, dishes, etc.) and disinterested in her job or me.
A former colleague heard about my unhappiness and made a big play for me.
I eventually got divorced and dated her, until we bought a house together five years ago. Everything was great for only the first few months of settling in.
She quit work and wanted me to pay for everything, refusing to use her considerable savings. She demanded that I put the house in her name only, (I refused) and that she join my bank account since she was now “unemployed.”
She spent huge sums on a new wardrobe, and started renovating the house, which she’d initially said was perfect.
She was relentless, and also withdrew sex as her “punishment” if I didn’t give in to her demands.
I’ve since left her and lost money on legal/court fees and some concessions to her on the house. I’ve also lost my confidence in moving forward.
I chose badly twice, but still want to find an honest, loving relationship in the future. How can I even begin to trust another woman?
You desperately need to learn to “trust” yourself.
That means reflecting on what you missed paying attention to in your previous relationships, and recognizing what you have to do differently.
Your first wife’s behaviour suggests many symptoms of depression. Perhaps you were both too young/inexperienced to seek medical or counselling help for her, which may’ve led to a different outcome.
Your second partner’s overt “play” for you might’ve been more transparent had you exercised caution. Her grasp for money and security at your expense were only obvious after you moved together.
Now, it’s crucial that you use this past pattern for better judgment. If you meet women who seem genuinely interested in you as a person, make sure you enjoy your time and conversations together, not just a physical attraction.
Build friendship and respect, and trust will follow.
Every time I visit my friend and her two-month-old baby, she drinks a beer or two. I don’t drink because I drive there.
I don’t have children, but know through research that one should refrain from drinking during breastfeeding.
When I tried discussing it, she said that it’s not a big deal and there’s not enough alcohol in her breast milk to detect any, so it’s not getting to the baby.
I don't want to ruin our relationship, but I worry that the baby could be at risk developmentally.
How do I stick up for the baby without offending her? Otherwise, she’s a great mom and takes great care of him.
Mothers who drink alcohol during lactation could be affecting their breastfed baby’s cognitive abilities, according to a 2018 study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
When infants were exposed to alcohol through their mother’s breast milk, the child had a dose-dependent reduction in cognitive ability by ages six and seven. A study co-author concluded, there’s “pretty good evidence that drinking while breastfeeding does affect the child.”
Show your friend the study, which you can find online, and simply tell her you see how devoted she is as a new mom but you’re concerned for the baby if she’s unaware of these latest findings.
Reader’s Commentary “Regarding the ex-wife with child access/support issues and concerns about her ex’s new relationship (Oct. 6):
“This father should be permitted to tell the children of his new relationship in his own way and time. It isn’t the ex-wife’s place to discuss his choices with the children. She should avoid alienating them from their father by not judging his life or making comments about it to him or the children.
“To help herself and her family move on to a new future, she should stop being so interested in her ex-husband’s life and find other things to talk about with her friends.
“If her friends are only interested in gossiping with her about him, she needs new friends who permit the family to move on.
“In my experience, an ex-wife who resists moving on and continues to complain about an ex-husband is far more detrimental to the children’s healthy development.”
Ellie – Wise commentary.
Tip of the day:
Be alert to what’s motivating a partner whose behaviour changes, and when someone’s coming on too strong too soon.