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'I don't know how to save this relationship'

By ANU KRISHNA
January 19, 2022 10:18 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.

Relationship problems? Feeling lonely? Ask Anu

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 Anu's latest offline session with readers:

 

Hi, I am 33 years old; happily married for the last 4 years and have a 3 year old kid.
There is no problem in my married life however I had a huge crush on one of my batchmates during college days.
The entire college knew about it including the girl but it never materialized further as I was never able to confess directly to her.
We parted ways after college and I accepted that this girl was not for me and moved on.
This was during the pre-social media era.
However, off late, especially during lockdown I came across her photos on FB/Insta and my old emotions resurfaced.
Now there is not a single day when I don't remember her and think about an alternate life with her.
It's not like that I don’t love my wife anymore or romance has fizzled out between us but it seems that old crush is constantly on my mind and I’m not able to get her off my mind.
I can’t tell this to that girl as she is already married and has no contact anymore with me.
I can’t tell this to my wife as well because she has absolutely no hint about it.
I am just thinking about how to get this monkey off my back and erase that girl completely out of my memory.
I tried to block her on social media, but it doesn’t help much.
It feels like some unfinished business which keeps bothering me every moment.
Can you advise me how to get out of this situation?

IK 

The challenge of What IS v/s What could have been!

Our minds over time have been trained to ‘CHASE’ what we don’t have/possess and dream of what it could have been if we had it in the first place.

Indulging in this can lead you to creating an alternate rosy reality that you start to live and feel is true.

Let’s get back to the factual reality, yeah?

You are married with a 3-year-old child; happy.

Social media intervenes, throws you off balance as you reminisce and feel each emotion come alive; and well, the girl is married as well!

Here’s reworking the situation for you.

Erasing memories doesn’t happen, you can only dull them over time as the feeling diminishes. And you do seem to be willing to move on…

Yes, moving on is the answer when you know that there truly isn’t a future with the other girl.

Why would you focus on something that’s a fairy tale, why would you not focus on your romance filled marriage more?

Sometimes, boredom can lead to leaning into newness and freshness and also what could have been!

I would point you in the direction on more focus and leaning into your marriage; making it exciting, bringing in freshness and newness.

Spend more time as a couple; have someone watch over the child while you rekindle the spice in your marriage.

Instead of focusing on avoiding the other girl, do you feel that you must start to put your energies into your marriage?

You might see your wife in a new light altogether that might create room for ‘being’ with her more. Newer focus, newer perspectives, newer feelings…

Happy 2022 and wishing you the best!

Ma'am, I'm in a relationship for three years now.
Everything was normal in the beginning. But the past year has been extremely tumultuous for us as I've been expressing unnecessary anger towards my significant other.
I never used to yell at him or push him to the point where he'd get annoyed of me and stops talking to me.
While I'm the kind of person who likes to talk things out after a few hours of the argument but he's the opposite. He takes his own sweet time which is not wrong.

I realise I treat him differently from my friends as I know subconsciously he won't break up with me.
The last fight we had over something trivial made me feel like I pulled the last straw and I'm very guilty about it.

Even I've started to realise now that somewhere along the way I took him for granted and kept hurting him as he gave me a lot of chances to improve.
He is a very sweet person but I feel like I've turned him into an egoistic monster who doesn't want to see or talk to me anymore.
I don't know how to save this relationship. I don't know if I should kill my hopes of continuing this relationship.

We haven't spoken to each other for more than 2 weeks now and I am using this time to change myself and learn to control my anger and to speak with everyone with respect and understand them better.
I want to tell him that I'm genuinely improving this time but he doesn't seem interested in listening to me as I've misused the prior chances so obviously he feels like he's being deceived this time to.
So I made my mind to speak to him after a month until I feel like I've changed at least a little so I'm worthy of his love. Also I don't let my short temper and rudeness affect our relationship.
But I'm afraid he might hate me even more for not trying to talk to him.
I'm confused wondering if he'll move on and not realise in trying to change. What should I do?

AM

Dear AM,

Oh my dear, why are you being so unkind to yourself? It takes two to tango!

Maybe, you realize that you have been taking him for granted, but hey, there’s an expiry date to punishing yourself over it.

Once you know, it’s time to work on your relationship and that certainly doesn’t mean being harsh.

This could also lead you to feel victimised and not be a very favourable mindset. Instead, what if you get to the root of the challenge at hand?

Here’s a few reality check questions. It might give you a chance to go back to the drawing board and reevaluate your relationship with a fresh pair of eyes.

What is causing me to have that temper?

What usually triggers the arguments?

What did I see in my partner when I chose him to be my significant half?

Do I still see the same in him even now or has it changed? If yes, what has changed? Am I willing to adapt to the change?

What causes me to be afraid of him moving on? Am I in a co-dependent relationship?

What will happen to me if he moves on?

Why is important for me to put so much energy into changing myself? Is it for myself or to keep him from moving on?

You get the drift?

You can add to these questions and give your mind an alternate way of processing things into a solution space.

Having said this; it’s time to give yourself some love too, no matter what, prioritize yourself and create some mind space to reevaluate where you are to where you want to be.

Happy 2022 and best wishes!

Dear Anuji,
My aunt lost her husband to Covid and is 42 years of age. She is extremely afraid of going to another city, station, elevators.
She panics. This condition was known to her and family after she had a fracture and was taken for CT scan where she panicked and begged for a place by the window.
She was claustrophobic we learned and later she was afraid of going to any place other then just remaining home.

Kindly please help us step by step with your valuable guidance.
Thanking you,
With respects,
BG

Dear BG,

I am truly sorry for the loss in the family.

Take your aunt to open spaces like parks, beaches…the fear of closed spaces and gasping for air could be triggered from any past experiences.

It’s the way in which she has perceived the experience in the first place that has become her truth and reality.

This needs to be substituted with the experience of open spaces into closed spaces.

Ask her to imagine a beach while she is in an elevator; but make sure someone accompanies her on these trips till she is ready to make trips by herself.

Work with a mental health therapist if she doesn’t want or refuses to make this change.

All said, do make sure that she is not forced with this and it is a slow process as she is still in the process of grieving.

Please help her heal from the loss before suggesting any changes. She needs the love, care and support of the family.

Be well and happy always!

Dear Mam
I am a 33 year old male working in a PSU at middle management level.
Six years ago I was married happily as per my wish to a girl of my choice.
Everything was just perfect. My wife is 4.5 years younger to me. I had to go against my parents wish as they were not comfortable with a non working wife.
Mine was not a love story but yes I met girl through a common friend and went ahead for the alliance.
Our sex life was also great in the start and we welcomed a baby girl just 2 months short of our first wedding anniversary.
However now when I compare I do understand that because of household chores she could not give proper time to me, but still I feel a strong urge to have sex with her. She somehow does not reciprocate well and is dull in having sex.
Apart from this we still fight over silly things and tolerance level of both of us have gone very down. Sometimes I feel to this extent that I should walk out from the marriage because I really don't want hot talks in our relationship.
I agree I have a 5 year old baby girl. I do control my feelings and anger too to some extent.
My wife also does the same but really small things trigger me on.
Also I always have a huge sex drive and I feel that if I don't get it from my wife I should look out for other options.
I have not cheated with her but I feel that given the option I can because of sex urge. May be this is due to higher libido and I do masturbate occasionally fantasizing my neighbour or other female friends and sometimes my wife too.
I don't know what goes through me but seeing your column I felt I should tell you these small details so you could give me an honest answer.
I don't want to leave her, I do love her a lot but these fights really make me lose my cool and feel depressed.
What should be done according to you ? Should I see a psychiatrist?

AY

Dear AY,

I will ask you to introspect and ask yourself: When did things start going downhill?

What event led to this? Surely, things don’t happen all of sudden, so something or some thought must have led to this.

Also, it’s important to understand that managing home and a child is a full time job and it tires the woman a lot.

To be in a mood for sex, the woman needs to be relaxed and calm…if the work at home is tiring, try and hire a domestic helper or any extra help that will ease her.

That way she will have more time to care for herself and her needs as well. Offer to pitch in and this will also bring the two of you closer.

Your theory of your high libido which is not being matched by your wife may or may not be true as sometimes that solution is simpler than you think.

Sadly, we are used to complicating things and look at what’s obvious in front of us.

Sex outside of marriage seems to be an option that has crossed your mind, but I do understand from your letter that you care and love your wife a lot.

Let not a moment of weakness make you shake the foundation of a beautiful relationship that the two of you share.

Have an open chat with her. Express how you feel and speak of your sexual needs.

Most often, communication solves most marriage issues. If this doesn’t work, kindly seek professional help with a marriage therapist.

Ultimately, you know why the two of you are married and why you chose her to be your wife.

Bear that in mind and a lot of yours mind struggles will ease and you will be able to think more usefully and also move into a better marriage space.

Happy 2022 and here’s wishing you the best in life!


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ANU KRISHNA