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ASK ANU: I've been sleeping with my best friend'

By ANU KRISHNA
July 04, 2022 08:45 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!

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:


A: Hi Anu, Nice to contact you.
I came across many of your conversations online and I would like to share my life situation. If you could help in any way it would be a great support.
I am married since 4 and half years now but we have stayed together only for 1 and half years. Rest of it was purely long-distance relationship.
It was an arranged marriage and I entered it with great hope and dreams. I still believe I have had only bare minimum expectations from my partner as that of any young woman.
After the marriage got fixed I had to leave my job and stay at my hometown. He works in a distant state. We were all hoping that after marriage, I’d go and live with him so will search for a job later. Even during prewedding discussions the talk was that he will shift to a new home before marriage and after marriage he will take me along with him.
But two weeks after our wedding he left to work leaving me at his home with his parents in our hometown. He didn’t explain or give any reasons. It broke me. Those 2 weeks were wonderful and the best time of our marriage life.
He came after 2 months, rented a new house and took me with him. It was good although small and silly arguments would happen. He loved me and I stayed there for a month. We returned to hometown after a month. He left me there and returned to work in 1 week’s time.
I stayed with his parents (in between his mother met with an accident and I stayed with her for like 2 months). He took me back to his place for 3 months. When financial circumstances got bad, he changed. He stopped expressing love in any form other than getting me variety of food items. There was no romance, small talks or travelling outside. He sent me back to my parents’ place for 7 months. It made me really mad and we started to fight over the phone making us more distant.
He was facing financial crisis, I wanted to be supportive but he never shared his feelings or plans with me. I never felt involved. Without a job I went into depression. To sort things, I stayed with him for 9 months looking for a job. He never showed any interest. I stayed at home for all those months feeling depressive and insecure. There was no romance, emotional or physical.
He is perfect in his words and promises but never in his actions.
I believed and waited for 3 years. Then my in laws suggested a job but it was at my native place. As it suited my educational qualifications I showed interest and he said okay. I applied and got the job. Since then I have not visited him at his work place. It’s been 2 years now and I stay with his parents. Due to covid he didn’t come for home for a 1 and half. A few months ago he came and stayed for a week.
When people see us it’s 4 and 1/2 years of marriage but for us it’s not. Since we don’t have kids people are suspecting a lot. I don’t blame them.
Clearly not everything is alright.
My husband is a lovely person and he cares so much but I feel he is controlling me. May be because of his lack of emotional availability. But many things have bothered me a lot since our wedding.
My husband and I have never visited or travelled a place alone, ever. We never had a honeymoon.
My husband has never introduced me to any of his friends.
I know nothing of him through a third person, all I know is what he has told me.
These days he hardly calls me. I tend to get more frustrated and cry sometimes by sharing my feelings with him if he called very late at night. So he stopped calling me. When I asked he replied “when I call at night you are complaining, fighting and crying so I don’t call”
He is running away from situations. I replied to him “you know that I will cry and there is a reason for that. Instead to solving the situation and not to make me cry, you would rather prefer not to call”. He said “Yes”. So he refrains from anything that upsets him. Long time ago due to some misunderstandings I refused to be physically romantic with him and he did the same to me for months and years which is also why we don’t have kids. But I cant explain or share this with anyone.
I doubt about my future as I am scared that I will never be blessed with a life with shared love and romance.
I miss myself being in love and happy.
I miss my own very smile.
I don’t put all the blame on him because I know am not perfect. But am not that evil to be punished like this in my life. I do deserve some happiness.
He hasn’t abused me but absence of abuse doesn’t mean a healthy relationship. I have always felt lonely.
Rather than love I have felt more judged for my actions and thoughts.
There is not a single day in life where I do not think about leaving this relationship but it has become very difficult to picture a happy healthy future with him.
It has become hard to have a simple conversation with him now.
I hope for a healthy relationship in which my partner and I could be vulnerable to one and other.
Am I expecting too much from him? Is it that am not good enough for him?
Will this too pass? I am worried.
I would like to stay anonymous.

Dear Anonymous,

These are your words that stood out for me.

‘I miss myself being in love and happy.

'I miss my own very smile.'

So, who is stopping you from these? Be in love, be happy, smile when you want.

You have tied these things to your marriage and have hoped that putting things together will bring a smile back on your face. As much as it’s true, it won’t be long lasting.

Now let’s focus on your marriage. What is this ‘being sent here, sent back there’?

What are you, some parcel/courier package to be sent here and there at will?

The first time that you felt that this being sent here and there was NOT OKAY, that would have been the time to voice it out.

Situations of a husband and wife being physically apart can come in anytime during a marriage. But this has to be handled with a lot of love and communication and not keeping silent and controlling it his way.

What has caused your hurt is the fact of non-communication from him, inability to validate your feelings, making you feel guilty for expressing your feelings and his unwillingness to work on this?

Request a person known to both of you to mediate to set up a meeting if both of you want to be in this marriage and live in peace and harmony. If you don’t step up now, things will be emotionally draining.

Also, as a woman, you don’t have to feel guilty for saying that something is not alright and that you want things to be different. You do not have to mask it with a statement that ‘he is a good man’ etc.

Be honest to yourself about what you feel and what you want. It helps putting things into perspective faster. STEP UP NOW and SPEAK.

Do that favour onto yourself please and also expect things to go the other way especially if he does not want to mutually set things right.

No matter what, know that strength from within is what will help you sort things for the better.

Be strong and value yourself. All the best!


A: Hello, I had a question for Anu ma'am. I have been in a relationship with a guy since 2021. He is a very sweet, loving, caring guy, is always patient with me, tries to understand me, puts in more effort than I do, loves me more than any guy ever would. I love him too but I have been sleeping with my best friend. She has a boyfriend too.
We both feel that we've never experienced this kind of love before with any guy. We want to be together but also do not want to hurt these two guys. They've done a lot for us. Sometimes we think of running away but we know that no one's family would support us since we're of the same gender. I feel very helpless and stuck. Neither can I let my guy go, nor can I let my best friend go. I love them both. Could you please help me out?

Dear A,

Before you confuse yourselves and others, seek professional help from someone who specialises in sexual orientation and challenges from it.

It can be very confusing to deal with this alone especially in a society that can scoff at same gender relationships.

Surround yourself with a lot of love and people who value you for who you are.

You need an independent view who can ask you questions that will put things into perspective and help you negotiate better with your confusions.

Remember confusions precede clarity, so never stop and keep moving.

Love yourself and your best friend even more as that’s what is going to help the two of you sail through this challenging time.

Sexual orientation moving away from what’s ‘normal’ can be scary and can throw us off balance as we have suddenly cut off the oxygen supply of support: which is society, family and friends who may or may not understand this.

Whatever this is, the confusion needs to be handled, so bring a third person’s expertise to move ahead. It definitely helps!

All the best!


S: Dear mam, I am a working woman married for 14 years with two kids. Ours was a love marriage. But immediately after my marriage I noticed that my husband was over aggressive and very possessive. He wants me to be under his control all the time.
Whenever I say something against his will he starts abusing me and family.
He has suicidal tendencies and has attempted in the past also.
When his anger gets controlled he starts conversation with a sorry.
This situation will continue for a few days and after that he will start again.
This has been my life for the past 14 years.
Sometimes he does manhandle and indulges in forced sex. I am fed up with this nature of his. Please suggest what I can do.

Dear S,

It’s time someone showed the man what a MAN truly is.

Do you have a close family member who can talk to him?

If NO, this is your husband. No one knows him better that you do…

Notice:

  • What actually triggers him to become aggressive and possessive?
  • What situations have led him to attempting suicide?

If there is a mental illness that we are looking at, it needs intervention ASAP.

Never be afraid to push back when you are forced into sex…It is called ‘Marital Rape’ just in case you didn’t know.

It’s not Okay and it is definitely not mandatory that a woman needs to give in to satisfy her husband’s sexual urges.

If he continues forced sex, you can approach a local NGO that supports women with domestic violence, and they can help you with the next course of action.

Do not feel obliged to put up with things that eat your soul away.

Make sure you keep your sanity intact by surrounding yourself with the best people who care and love you.

Pick up a hobby that fills you with joy; this joy can help you think with a clear mind when you step into your marriage for the day.

One step at a time, but take that STEP…You are important.

All the best!


Anonymous: Hi, I'm someone. Sorry for taking your time please read this and help me I really need someone to guide me in my life right now. Sorry for this long mail. I would be really glad if you take time and read this.
I am 23 years old, a married girl. I got married to my husband on December 10 2021 last year. It was an arranged marriage. Our family met along with us in 2019 and fixed our marriage. At first I didn't wanted to marry because it was too early and I was just pursuing my bachelor's degree but my family didn't listen to me as I was the elder one so they wanted me to get married before they got old.
I agreed and slowly started developing a fondness and liking towards my fiance and later fell in love with him. But after our marriage things started to feel a bit weird. He has too many female friends which I'm absolutely fine with. I'm not that conservative. They all were invited in our wedding and I met them. they seem nice people but one of his friends is bothering. Let’s call her Y. My husband keeps talking to her on calls and messages all the time and the conversations are absolutely boring like they don't have anything to talk but still they keep up the conversation. I used to think it's fine or maybe I'm being too possessive but when I got to know that he spent 12 lakh on her I was shocked. He also spends money on her on a daily basis. He books an Uber for her daily. Whenever she needs anything he will immediately say I will bring it for you. Y is also married her husband is fine with it because he also takes money from my husband. In fact her whole family takes money. They're financially not very strong so I understand this thing of helping someone. What I don't understand is why does my husband have to talk to her all the time? Even when I'm sitting right in front of him he would ignore me.
Apart from Y, there is one more person he treats the same way, his ex.
A few days after our marriage I checked his phone (I know it's wrong but my instinct let me do to so cause of his behaviour) and I found some messages from 2019 between my husband and his ex. The conversations clearly proved that they were in a relationship and broke up in 2019. When I asked him indirectly as I didn't want him to know that I checked his phone he said that the (ex) is his sister. He lied! And I found that they are still friends which I understand. I'm fine with that. But I cannot be fine with them talking on a daily basis and my husband fulfilling all her wishes just like the first girl Y. He even took a screenshot her picture (ex) and saved it when she uploaded it on her WhatsApp status a few days after our marriage. When I asked him why are you keeping her picture, he denied and said "oh aise hi, I guess by mistake" So I ignored that. But he calls and sends gifts to her. He even takes me along with him to buy presents for her so that I don't think that it's wrong.
I always ask him why are you talking to your ex and Y all the time; you don't even spend time with me. Because of this there are lots of fights happening between us. He said he has work load and is frustrated with his life, dealing with depression, so to avoid those feelings he talks with his friends. I understood and allowed him to talk but he spends Rs 8,000-9,000 every month on them. He once said that he has to give them money so that they won't stop talking with him; that's how friendship works including Rs 5,000 flight ticket and taking loan worth Rs 12-13 lakh for them. I am a fool in love so I got easily manipulated and allowed him but not completely. I set a limit for him to not over spend more than Rs 5000 per month on them.
My family and friends are constantly suggesting that I leave him as he doesn't care about my feelings that I have given him way too many chances. Whenever I try to confront him for meeting up with them or spending too much money on them he immediately starts caring for me the next day. Because of this I always get confused that maybe he loves me too and I'm just being a possessive wife. I told him I will divorce you if you keep treating me like this and keep talking to your girls day and night. He said I shouldn’t talk like that and doesn't want me to divorce him as he loves me and he wouldn't have chosen me in the first place if he liked them.
Whenever I try to confront him about the girls, he says "I think you have a boyfriend and you are cheating on me. Give me your phone I will check your phone".
I heard call recordings of him and Y. He records the conversations he has with the girls. When I asked he said he does it so that those girls or anyone won't blame him in future that he said something wrong. Anyway, I heard my husband saying bad things about me to Y in one of those recordings after being frustrated with me as I fought with him because of them. I was really broken. He said I don't give him space which is not true and he wants to go alone to places like markets or KFC or wherever he wants but I'm not letting him do that. At the same time he asked Y if she wants to join him and meet up at a certain place. I don't understand him. If there isn't anything wrong then why is he talking with her day and night and not being bored and with me he rarely spends time and wants space.
His parents are fed up with him they told me he has been like this always. They support me and want him to get away from those girls. They married me to him so that he would leave those girls and stop spending such big amounts of money on them. But he doesn't want to get away from them. He said that if by chance one day those girls stopped talking to him for some reason then he will definitely leave them. But they never stop. I don't understand why is he waiting for them to stop and why doesn't "HE" wants to stop. Depression? Maybe I don't know. I even told him let's meet up with a therapist but he refused and said he's fine and I'm being dramatic.
He talks to them at work and at home.
If he doesn't talk to them for a day he will get mad. I remember one time he was panicked and kept saying I want to talk to Y. It's not like they are blackmailing and stuff; they don't even want to talk with him. He is the one who keeps calling them; it's very weird. He is fighting with his family, fighting with me, just for them. He manipulates me a lot. He has lied to me several times about not meeting with Y.
Please advice what I should do. My friends say I should divorce him as my mental health is deteriorating because of him. I love him a lot but he doesn't care. He says he loves me but I don't find honesty in those words as he keeps repeating the things that bother me and our relation.


Dear Anonymous,

What exactly are you waiting for me to say? Haven’t you seen enough red flags in your marriage?

  • Your in-laws telling you that he has always been like this
  • Your husband playing the victim of Depression to gain your sympathy vote and then refusing to see a therapist
  • Spending money to earn the validation and attention of two women who are possibly using him
  • Spending valuable time away from you to indulge his feelings elsewhere
  • Complaining about you to a person outside of marriage
  • Invalidating your feelings arising from this situation and making you like the bad one for complaining

Do you want me to go on?

How much more do you want to give in?

If you truly want this marriage to work, he needs to turn himself into a new leaf, which means he needs to address his insecurities, his behavior and more.

Is he willing to go through all that?

Maybe have an honest sit-down talk with him and then decide keeping yourself at the centre of all this.

You matter and matter to yourself every moment, so DO SOMETHING about it.

You owe a lot of happiness to yourself, so get ahead NOW.

All the best!


Anonymous: Hi Anu, 3 years before marriage I was in a relationship with someone who asked for my hand for marriage and I was impregnated by him but he went away leaving me devastated.
This incident is somehow known to my husband after 1.5 years of our marriage.
At the same time a girl in his office proposed him knowing that he is married and my husband is getting attached to her.
He is always talking to her romantically and justifying his affair from my past mistake and it makes me mentally and physically very weak.
He is very rude. How to handle the situation since both our families are involved and are not letting us to get divorced also.

Dear Anonymous,

I understand that he is hurt but how convenient! Things happen, like the way it happened to you before marriage.

But to use that as an excuse to have an affair is very convenient. He needs to look at the situation for what it is now and work with that.

It’s great that the families are involved. The elders in the family can now act as a good mediator to bring the two of you to the discussion table.

Your husband possibly is hurt from your situation before your marriage.

Keeping these kinds of things can draw a wedge in the marriage. He now needs to recover from that before he can be a husband to you in the marriage.

When he found out, how did you deal with it?

That is very crucial to understand as all his actions are stemming from the fact that the situation is unresolved in the mind, and he feels victimized and turns to another woman to feel some sense of normalcy.

As much as it seems disturbing and inappropriate, the fact that it was hidden from him is disturbing him.

So, work with this and as families let this be handled delicately, so that he begins to trust you all over again.

Till then be patient…

All the best!


S: Hi. Please keep my identity anonymous.
My elder sister has been married for 20 years and she has had turbulent times with her husband. During the first few years of marriage, she did all she could to please him and get his attention. She went out of her way to keep him happy. But her husband always chided her for her looks. She was lean initially but put on weight after pregnancy.
Unfortunately her husband had a playboy nature and she caught him red handed committing adultery thrice. Last time he went physical with his young cousin who was brought up in my sister's place as their own . She went into depression when she found out and was on the verge of committing suicide and killing her daughters but relented. Although she forgave him for the first two times, this time she could not control herself. We had to toil hard to counsel her not to take extreme measures.
While this incident happened few years ago, from outside things appear to be normal as before. But deep within I feel she is leading a fake life. She says she has to put up a brave face for her daughters’ sake.
I know that she has a lot of anger and frustration inside which can burst out any moment. She doesn't want to talk about the incident despite me advising her to seek psychiatric help. I want to seek your opinion on what I can do as a brother? I sometimes feel I am worthless seeing her suffer silently.

Dear S,

It’s unfortunate that relationships outside of marriage seem to be used as a way of escaping something that is deeper.

Your sister’s children I presume must be older where they understand what is happening to the mental health of their mother. It might be wise for your sister to relook at her life in a new light.

Children have grown up and now she can think for herself; even if she is financially not independent, things can be sorted out.

She needs to take the decision to what that change else as a brother no matter what you try, it will not work as your sister is used to living life as a victim and this possibly offers her a roof over her head and that of her children.

Also, it isn’t easy to live life as a single woman and hence she might have never allowed herself the thought of being independent.

Give her a lot of love and support her, but tell her that giving up on her life only will mean that her husband would have achieved a clear path to do more of what he already has.

Set up an environment for her to flourish, maybe she can study something or start working.

It will empower her to take strong decisions for herself and her children.

Enable her to do the right thing for herself.

Best wishes!


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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