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'I Want To Save This Marriage'

By ANU KRISHNA
May 25, 2022 09:15 IST
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In this weekly self-help series, mental health and life coach Anu Krishna tells you how to take control of your life.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com

Is your relationship causing you stress?

Are you feeling lonely, helpless, indecisive?

You are not alone!

As part of an initiative to help Rediff readers, mind/life coach, NLP trainer and mental health guru Anu Krishna wants you to talk about your problems.

Every week, Anu will answer your queries, address your concerns and offer expert advice on how you can take control of your life.

Dear readers, if you have a question for Anu, please e-mail it to getahead@rediff.co.in (Subject: Ask ANU) for her advice.

Meanwhile, here's the unedited excerpt from Anu's latest offline session with readers:


SN: Hi, me and my husband are married for 12 years now, we have a daughter. Both of us are totally different, like north and south pole.
He is very extrovert, tries to be the centre of attention, always needs his social circle, his work, friends circle is all that matters to him.
I am a total introvert. I don't care about having friends, I hate parties, all that matters to me is my family.
First few years, he made me feel that I am a misfit in this world and I had a huge pressure to be an extrovert like him.
He was always like how can this famous Mr Extrovert can have such an introvert wife, that's so shameful. I tried changing myself because I was so desperate for his love and respect. All that mattered to him was my looks, how I conducted myself in front of people and after pregnancy, all that bothered him was my weight gain. I started hating myself, believed that maybe I just don't deserve to be loved. I went into depression after pregnancy. I had to leave my job to take care of my baby, his mom who was bed ridden by then, his dad who had serious health issues.
I told him, thought he would at least care then. It took him 3 years after that to even come with me to a psychiatrist. He never cared.
I always thought it’s my fault, tried to patch things up but now I am tired, really tired. I feel suffocated. I am afraid of separating from him.

As a person, he is good but we are totally misfit for each other. I still cannot come to terms with all the emotional abuse I went through.
He didn't intend to harm me, he thought he is only helping me to improve and be better but now, I don't know what to do, I am not happy.

Dear SN, It’s a wonder why anyone would go to such lengths to change themselves for another; especially their personalities: what makes them who they are! All in the name of saving relationships and love.

True love within a relationship doesn’t demand that the other person change themselves upside down, but it embraces who the other person is unconditionally.

And what makes you think that an extroverted person has the right to change an introverted person?

Did you try and change him to be like you? No! Then why is the reverse even being given so much importance. Also, your husband does not any right to mock you!

His world is different from yours as much as your world is different from yours. And kindly remember: Extroverts (if you want to label them), ate people who are happy with a lot of company around them, are vocal about liking being in a crowd and having a good time spending time with people.

They are not ones who poke fun at the way their spouses look, try and change them to suit their personalities.

So, who you are living with right now is a man with very poor self-esteem and huge insecurities and is blaming you for these and trying to change you will make him feel better.

Do not feed into this game; as once you begin to show that you will yield to his demands, that’s all you are going to do for life. He has to change from within!

He has to understand that what is going on within him is the cause of his misery and not you. But of course, doing something for a spouse even when you don’t like it has to be out of your own will and not forced. Now you take a call as to how you are going to deal with this in your marriage.

READ WHAT YOU HAVE WRITTEN: He didn't intend to harm me, he thought he is only helping me to improve and be better!

Do you really need help or does he? You have started to actually believe that you are at fault and that it is your problem.

Bottom line: You change only if you wish to and that too with things that don’t challenge your value systems. Never be forced into anything; period!

Either sit him down and assert this point or ask him to visit a professional to take care of his state of mind.

All the best!


HV: Hey Anu, Straight to the point, life is full of comfort and I hate that part.
Well I want to seek your valuable opinion on my past. I mean I just get stuck into him
So there was the guy and I fell with him. But there is a saying whatever falls or breaks, happened to me.. he had gf he didn't tell me that factor even after 4 years of our togetherness.  Then after right now he got engaged with some other girl near to my home.
I’m not able to give up on him. He doesn’t prefer me. I’m aware of that neither first nor ever. I hate myself for that part only. I don’t want to be that type of girl.
I accept the rejection but he made me feel like that I lost everything about me. Selflove is really really missing.
Thanks in advance

Dear HV, So he loves you (A) and then he didn’t tell you about his girlfriend (B) and then he goes on to be engaged to another girl (C).

What are we looking at here? A vegetable market with vegetables on display?

Because that’s how he seems to be behaving. He seems to be fidgeting about finding girls and yet you pine for him.

Anyway, what do you feel that you must do?

Pine for someone who isn’t clearly steady for a relationship and who hides facts from you and that too when he is engaged?

Isn’t it abundantly clear to you that he isn’t interested in you or are you waiting for a few more instances to reveal themselves?

Yes, you are right! Self-love is missing…if you were to treat yourself the way you would treat a friend, your mother, a baby…what would you do for them?

Treat them with care, love, respect, right? You would indulge in them and pamper them!

Do the same for yourself…Do what you love and indulge in yourself. Spend time with people who love you and be with Nature a lot.

You are your own priority and I know that you know what you must do with priorities in one’s lives. Just do that…

All the best as always! Love yourself more…


SV: I am a doctor and was in relationship with my colleague for 1 year and was planning to marry.
But one problem was our religion. He’s Hindu and I am Christian. We did not mind that and he went forward to tell his parents about me but they refused and threatened him to stop talking to me or they will stop his career.
We still went forward with our relationship until one day they called him home and fixed a girl for him.
He could not say anything in this matter as the whole family got involved and gave him no choice. He told me he tried his best but they did not even want to hear about me.

Meanwhile when I'm understanding how difficult inter religion is to work...I’m still heartbroken and cannot stop thinking about him.
I was ready to marry him even understanding the whole situation. Now I don't know what to do...
I can't go on thinking about him but I still love him and he does too. But we are helpless and I feel like I lost my heart.

Dear SV,

The heart can be strong and weak at the same time! Depends on what you have been feeding it through the mind.

When you have understood the difficulties of inter-religion marriages, you still choose to focus on it and pain yourself more.

Do inter-religion marriages work? Yes, they do but it does take a lot of work and keen understanding. And he has already succumbed under family pressure and moved on…So, move on…How?

De-focus…

Focus on things that appealed to you before he stepped into your life.

What interested you back then?

What were these dreams that took a backseat once you started a relationship with this person?

What were the promises that you has made to yourself before this commitment?

Revive them all…Live each one of them in a larger-than-life manner and most importantly, tell yourself: I am my best friend and I know what’s best for me! You are heart is with you; safe and sound!

All the best!


VA: Dear Anu,This is Vish this side 38 years old, male, single.
In October my cousin moved to my place due to some issue in her marriage. She is clear now she doesn't want to go back.

She is five years older to me, we both share a very good bond. She has many friends online whom she talks to and all many of them even propose her.
She tells me everything, even the last boy with whom she was like unable to stay without talking to him. But suddenly all has changed and she talks to me more than before, and keeps telling me she doesn't have a boyfriend.

I like her but, how should I know that she is interested in me. I would like to ask her but scared she should not think something different and leave me and go.
I am confused what to do. Should I just leave it and continue how it's going or ask her to be in a relation with me?
Please guide.

Dear VA,

Both of you are weakly piling on each other it seems. When there are so many wonderful people that you or she can connect with on the outside, why would you want to enter into a relationship with a cousin of yours?

Don’t you ever think of how the family will react to this?

They might strongly oppose this OR Have you thought of what it would mean to have children with a close relative? Health issues in your off springs?

She is in a weak mind space searching for someone and just because you like interacting with her does not mean that have to fit in to fulfil that space.

You can still be friends and support her in a caring manner.

But of course, the choice is yours; you could either be that friend or approach her with your proposal bearing in mind the challenges around it.
All the best!


JS: Dear Ms. Anu Krishna, I came across a couple of your Columns "Ask Anu" this morning and instantly thought of taking your advice/opinion for the problems I am facing in my marriage.
And I would like to go anonymous for obvious reasons. Pls spare 5-6 mins to read below.
I am a 30 year old guy. I will try to keep it very short. I have been married for the last 6 years and we have a 4 year old child. It was a love and arranged marriage. Going to the past quickly, my wife and I got into a relationship about 2 years before marriage.
My wife is also the same age as mine, just 30 now. Though my wife never voluntarily revealed it earlier, later I got to realize that she was almost in an 8-9 years relationship with her school mate which started as early as from their high school. Since the boy was from a different religion, the boy's family did not accept their relationship and said no when the girl's parents approached with a marriage proposal after she spoke to her home. Since the boy did not have the courage to argue with his parents, they broke up their relationship with mutual consent however remained as friends.

During this time only we got to know each other and she instantly liked me and we got into a relationship. Several times I was suspicious about her so-called friend's (ex- bf) behaviour. But my gf never revealed it to me.
At one point of time I bumped into her red handed as she lied to me and went on a dinner date with him and after she saw me face to face she revealed he was her ex bf and he now says he want to marry her and doesn't care about his father's approval. I was shocked to hear this, as my gf was asking me what she should do. Her ex-bf talked to me saying to let her go as I was just a rebound relationship in her life and she loves him and their relationship is stronger for over 8 years as mine was just less than 2 years.

Though my mind could understand it, my heart did not.
When I asked my gf about this she said she loves me only and not to trust him however I could see she was not confident. Then she said we should get married soon to avoid such problems coming up. She spoke to her parents, they agreed, they liked me instantly.
My parents were slightly worried as I was in my early 25 year and so was she. However since I was in a very good job and well paid, so was my gf, I pushed my parents into accepting the marriage proposal promising we would be happy. We got married. After which problems started.

She was always very sad and down. She never showed that happiness how she used to be in our two years of relationship. She did not mingle with my family and friends. She always kept it to herself. She never wanted to be physical with me. She either said some random reasons or somehow avoided it. She used to go to her parents house very often and I noticed she was very happy there but not when she came back here.
Meanwhile she got pregnant with my child on one occasion where we got intimate and though she could not control that incident in advance, she kept saying let's stop this. But it happened. She got conceived and our son was born. Since she got conceived till date (5 years now) we hardly have been physically intimate less than 10 times only, out of my compulsion that too. The last time about a year ago she went to her parent's home and she did not return at all. Now she says she doesn't want to live with me and says there is no love and care in this marriage life. Now I tried several attempts to talk to her about what the issue was, she was never ready to discuss and it became bigger fights and bigger gaps between us. Her parents took her side and my parents are hopeless as they feel I have been hasty to enter married life in my very young age.
Now my wife stopped showing my son to me completely, in spite of my literally begging at least to let him be in touch with me., she denied and deprived me. Now she is asking for divorce. She left her job after marriage and now lives on her parents' support only. She vacated her house and lives in some apartment with her parents I guess, for which I don't know the address.

I feel she is in touch with her ex-bf which might be the problem for all this chaos, however I am unsure of it. I want to save this marriage. I really don't know what to do. I offered her many solutions like she can do higher studies or start some business if she likes or can go to work, and I am ready to support her wholeheartedly. I have told this several times since she quit her job voluntarily after marriage. She isn't ready for any and all she wants now is divorce. I approached the senior members of her relatives where everyone says they are unaware about her whereabouts. She has not responded and returned my calls or messages for almost 7-8 months now.
I don't want to get divorced. I love her. I love my son and I miss him.
I want to fix it somehow. She isn't ready to go to for couples counselling to solve this, neither responds to any mediation from my side senior members of the family and relatives.
About me, I am a good-hearted guy. Yes, I have flaws, sometimes I am a little dominating and might get angry and speak harsh words. I have changed a lot over the years and it's gotten better these days. Apart from that, I don't have any negatives I believe.
Help me. Pls give suggestions on what to do.
Thanks in advance Ms. Anu. Sincerely awaiting your sincere advice/solution.

Dear JS,

You love her, but does she love you? Has she ever loved you?

Be very truthful about answering this…What’s the point pursuing a relationship when there isn’t any to begin with?

Why do people think that marriage or having children can bring two people closer or set things right in a relationship? They are not FIX-ITS; so let’s stop pretending that all will be fine once you do this, this and that.

Look within; boyfriend still hangs around to tell you to let her go.

Didn’t you think it was necessary to clarify things with her before marrying her?

Anyway, a lot has happened, and I can only empathize with you. You do have the right to meet your child and the only route is the legal one as she is clearly set not to get back with you.

Ask yourself these reality check questions:

Is she going to come back and make the marriage work together?

Is she going to allow me to meet the child without any resistance?

Is she willing to do a lot of inner work with a professional?

If the answers to the above are NO, then step up and do the right thing for your child as well. He does have the right to receive love from his father as well.

Marriage or any relationship requires a lot of love to grow together and shedding of egos.

A strong WHY to be in the relationship. When the foundation itself is weak, how can this work?

Being good-hearted is great, but if has begin to erode your peace, its’ time to re-evaluate and be good to yourself first.

If you want this marriage to work, do establish, connection with her, and please go into therapy together. Make the foundation of marriage so strong that it’s built only on trust. Love, compassion and respect. So, now you know what you can do and how.

All the best and be happy!


Anu Krishna is a mind coach, author and co-founder, Unfear Changemakers LLP and Soulful Exploration LLP. She's an NLP Trainer (National Federation of Neuro Linguistic Programming, NFNLP, USA), Energy Work Specialist (Institute for Inner Studies, Manila), Executive Member of Indian Association of Adolescent Health (M.I.A.A.H) and Member of Quality Circle Forum of India (QCFI). She has authored the self-coaching book: The Secret of Life – Decoding Happiness.

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