I've had two marriages end and the second is much more challenging to get over. I'd been to counselling, my fiancée and I had long discussed whether we were in love, and a good fit.
Yet six months after marrying, she was cheating. Two weeks after the "discovery," I learned she was pregnant. It's my child, but our relationship ended within a year. She now lives with that guy and so does my daughter, half the time.
Over two years later, I'm still angry, sad, frustrated. It's affecting all new relationships.
Previous counselling hasn't seemed to work. I cry. I feel like I get nowhere. Is there a type of counsellor I should be looking for?
Finding the right "fit" with a counselor requires some research, but, more important, is being ready to absorb what they say.
If you know, deep down, that you bring serious baggage to any relationship, you need to accept a longer process. Otherwise, go for short-term therapy based on finding solutions - e.g. to attraction to the "wrong" women, or getting attached too soon.
Check out local counsellors through association websites, findatherapist.com, or the Yellow Pages, and then ask questions about their approach and the fee. Remember, it's costlier to have repeated relationship breakdowns.
Over a decade ago I met my husband. I was early-50s then, he's 12 years older. I'm Asian, he's European. I didn't question his bullying initially, because in my culture, men frequently direct things.
We don't eat together nor eat the same food, because he cannot live with my work schedule and odd hours. He also says he cannot stand the smell of my food. But I was new here, had just ended a difficult marriage, and was happy to have some assistance with things. Also, I was working and planning to go to school.
Soon he came to live with me. He immediately ordered his own phone line and fixed a slide-bolt on the inside of the bedroom door. I'm not to ever use that phone, never answer it, or ask what calls are being made or received.
He has long, private conversations with women, with the door locked. Conversations with men are out in the open.
I've never enjoyed a single social event with him. He talks about his previous social life with his second wife (I'm the third). He's kept pictures of her in his bedside drawer.
He leaves the house to go away for long hours, though never overnight. I am not to ask who he's visiting, or where.
One greeting card sent to him read, "You make me feel excited and content, all at the same time." I recently confronted him on this. He accused me of attempting to restrict his movement and telephone calls. He says he gets from this person the love I've refused to give him.
He says if I want a divorce, I'll have to take the initiative, and he'll sue me to the hilt. I am the sole earner and really have nothing to be sued for.
I'm angry with myself for ever submitting to this emotional abuse.
Talk to a lawyer, because as the sole earner you need to prepare ahead if you ever do plan to leave. It's hard to see any benefit to you at all in this marriage, yet you've stayed though no longer "new" here needing help. Counselling may help you weigh your options (see above). And a lawyer will spell out your rights.
FEEDBACK Regarding the married man who developed same-sex feelings for a colleague (March 9):
Reader - "He's not a repressed gay man. It's possible for a man to consider himself straight for many years, find women attractive, and then suddenly realize he's attracted to another man. I would know this, because it happened to me.
"I went through the usual "am I gay?" questioning for years, before finally accepting the reality - I'm bisexual. So is the man who wrote you. He needs help accepting his bisexuality, not help to discover if he's gay or not. I sought professional help and thankfully no one tried to make me pick "gay" or "straight," and I was able to work it out on my own, that I'm neither. I'm bisexual."
Every male or female, who feels confused about their sexual orientation, inevitably must follow his or her own journey of discovery. Counselling can help.
Tip of the day:
Bring a ready willingness to absorb what a therapist tells you.