I've been in an arranged marriage for five years, and have a daughter, age 2.
From the engagement, our parents started fighting. This strained our husband-wife relationship.
I slowly realized that my parents were being unreasonable and moved emotionally away from them.
I also realized our marital differences - I had good education and a good job, she'd never worked nor intended to, and considered education temporary. Our life views differ. I didn't enjoy her company as I should; our sex life was ordinary and unsatisfying for me.
Then last year, I fell for a girl. We'd been sharing a ride for several months. I found a lot of commonalities and enjoyed the company. It turned physical. We broke it off, because I couldn't leave my family.
I told my wife about it, and she decided to give me another chance.
After several months of trying, I still lack feelings for my wife and can't get that girl out of my system.
Should I seek professional counselling help?
You're dealing with a stew of emotions and drives - the demands of your cultural background, the conflicts that surrounded your marriage, dissatisfaction with your partner, and an illicit romance cut short.
This is the classic kind of personal turmoil that requires a professional counsellor's skills to help you sift through the problems and determine what's essential in your life. Seek a therapist who understands the background of arranged marriages (you can ask questions about this when you call for an appointment) and expect it to take a couple of sessions before you're sure if you've found the right fit.
Then use the process to weigh all your options, keeping in mind your responsibilities to your child - whether living with her or apart - as one of the paramount issues for your future.
I'm in my second marriage, with two children (ages 9 and 7) from a previous marriage.
My husband verbally disciplines the children when needed; however, he takes it too far by not knowing when to shut up.
After a while of listening to him go on and on about the same thing, I start to defend my children. He gets upset and says I'm not supporting his role as a step-dad and the rules he has for his home.
I've tried to explain that I defend them because I feel he's attacking them by continuing to yell after 20 minutes, and he is being too hard on them. He's not getting the point across, it's just making them feel worse about themselves.
How can I get him to understand that with children you need to say what has to be said and move on?
I don't want my children to have low self-esteem because he's yelling at them like that or end up not liking him.
- Upset Mom and Wife
Tackling this problem wisely is as important a task as having chosen this man as your husband, so you need to be prepared to work on this over time.
First, lead by example: Show your husband how you handle a child's misbehaviour with gentle but firm explanation of what's wrong; clear rules that the child knew beforehand; and consequences that suit the situation.
Second, make sure you and your husband agree on the "rules of his house," and that they're appropriate for children of those ages.
Also, introduce your husband to parenting techniques through books and web sites.
• Author Barbara Coloroso's kids are worth it! helps parents solve everyday squabbles without losing their cool.
Due to circumstantial evidence, I have reason to believe my ex-husband may be gay.
I'm torn between his right to privacy and my need to understand that the failure of our marriage was not all my fault.
How can I ask him?
Or is it truly none of my business? I did the sensible thing and got tested for AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) when the evidence first presented itself.
- Extra Curious
Your ex-husband's sexual orientation is no longer your business, unless he wishes to share that information.
However, your health status IS your business and you were wise to check it out.
Marriage breakdown is rarely the fault of only one partner.
Since you already believe he's gay, be content with that possibility as a partial explanation of why you two needed to part.
Now you can move on emotionally, and get past feeling that you failed.
Tip of the day:
Every relationship involves obligations, yet some need to be weighed against personal unhappiness.