I’ve been married for under a year. My beautiful wife and I met through our close-knit families – an “arranged marriage” of sorts.
We share the same religion. Our families strictly adhere to social conservative values.
However, being a social liberal myself, I needed excitement, love, attraction, and romance in my marriage.
For my own selfish and self-serving reasons, I persuaded my wife to ditch her traditional religious garb.
Initially reluctant, she eventually agreed. I hadn’t used threat or duress.
She hired a professional image consultant, and transformed herself into a fashionista: She got her hair done, she had her belly-button pierced, she started sporting skinny jeans, mini-skirts, sun dresses, etc.
I was thrilled and felt that her new image raised her confidence level hugely.
However, she’s garnered plenty of attention - mostly from hordes of random men (on social media and at public settings).
Sometimes, when with her, I feel like a persona non grata. When at the beach, she elicited many compliments on her bikini body.
But many of these hunky men hitting on her thought I was her brother. I’m very upset and experiencing a case of buyer's remorse.
I fear that she’ll be enticed to cheat on me, or may even leave me for a handsome dude.
I realize that I cannot "put the genie back in the bottle."
But can you suggest any crafty ways that I can navigate this awkward situation I’m experiencing?
Upset at Wife’s Attractiveness
You’ve already used a “crafty” move, and it’s not gone as you wished.
The problem here isn’t how attractive she is, but how self-serving (which you admit) and controlling you keep trying to be.
You wanted a liberal, exciting and loving marriage. But you mention nothing about love for your bride, and only see her newfound confidence as a threat to you.
Your whole approach was all for you, not her. That’s arrogance.
Yet when she’s become so attractive, you see that as a threat to your manhood! That’s insecurity!
You’re still locked into very conservative views of what it means for a woman to make her own choices in a liberal marriage.
Get to know her as a person.
Be proud of her beauty as a loving partner, whether at the beach or at home.
Develop your own confidence that you two can have an equal and happy marriage, with respect and encouragement for each of you as individuals.
I’m 25, he’s 27, and we want to marry. However, his parents don't even want to see my family or me because we have different religions.
My parents met him and agreed on marriage if his parents come and ask for my hand. What can I do to change their minds?
I’ll try to change and fit in, but I don't think that will work. We can't elope because our culture won't allow it.
You both want to honour your families and need to both tell them this.
It may not change their minds, but they’ll know you were both trying hard to make your union happen and work.
Your boyfriend should tell his parents that you’re prepared to make some changes that will please them.
You then need to reassure your own parents that your respect for them is unchanged, but that you’re determined to marry this man.
If either side remains unwilling to give permission, you two then must decide whether you can live with defying your parents and upbringing, or breaking up to avoid rejection by your families.
FEEDBACK Regarding the brother-in-law in an abusive marriage with a wife very ill from cancer (May 30):
Reader – “No one should stay in an abusive marriage, no matter the health condition of those involved.
“Additionally, contacting her doctors wouldn’t work. Some health laws prevent health care practitioners from discussing private health information with unauthorized parties.
“The sister could even escalate her abusive behavior if it’s discovered that someone tried to find out about her health status without permission.
“The only course of action necessary here is helping to encourage the husband (and daughter, if she's still at home) to leave this abusive situation.”
Ellie – Your empathic concern is natural here. The letter-writer says this dying woman has “terrorized” her husband and adult daughter all their lives.
Yet, it’s stated clearly, her husband “won’t leave her.”
I suggested that the concerned family help him. But he has to be willing to receive that help and/or leave.
Tip of the day:
A liberal, exciting marriage requires partners who don’t control the other.