Q: My husband and I have been married for 12 years. For the past six months, he has been slowly pulling away from me. He tells me that he loves me but says he isn’t in love with me. Recently, he moved out for a trial separation. I’m confused because we were once truly happy. We have a four-year-old child who is the love of both our lives. Is he going through a mid-life crisis? Can I do anything to bring us back together? – Sadly separated
Dear Sadly separated: I’m sorry to say, but I don’t think he’s being totally honest with you. I feel that he has been seeing someone. This is appalling behaviour, given that he’s your husband and you have a child together. Do you have the courage to challenge him on this? I sense that you’ve lost your power and that you’re just waiting for him to make the decisions. It’s time to be assertive — for both you and your child. I know it’s in you to take charge of matters. If it’s any comfort, this tryst with the other woman will fizzle and he’ll be sniffing around your door again. But by then you’ll have moved on. I know this scenario doesn’t seem possible, but trust me: You’re a strong woman and you’ll find your way.
Q: My mother-in-law — whom I only see a few times a year — is driving me crazy. She’s very critical of my husband and me, even though we make a huge effort to help my father-in-law and her financially. I always try to be kind and patient, but I’m at my breaking point. Why is she so negative with those who are closest to her yet smiley and complimentary with everyone else? I want what little time we have together to be positive, but I’m dreading our next visit. What can I do? – Burned out
Dear Burned out: Not much, I’m afraid. Your mother-in-law is a deeply unhappy and frustrated woman who is disappointed with the way her life has turned out. I don’t think she even realizes how unpleasant she can be. She’s prowling — and growling — like a lion with a thorn in its paw. If you cross her path, look out! The only thing you can do is not take her criticisms to heart. It’s not about you or your husband; it’s her grim outlook
on life. Sadly, this likely isn’t going to change. When you spend time with her, try your best to ignore her barbs. Fortunately, you only have to enter the lion’s den a few times a year.
Q: I split with my long-distance boyfriend because I felt he wasn’t committed to our relationship. Ironically, I thought this would bring us together because he’d realize how much he wants me in his life. I was so wrong! Now that he’s gone, why am I still desperately in love? – Regrets
Dear Regrets: You played Russian roulette and it backfired; that’s a bitter pill to swallow. I know you’re feeling lonely, but have you really lost the love of your life? My psyche tells me that he wasn’t the one. I hope this experience has taught you the danger of playing games when it comes to matters of the heart. In future, be honest and up-front about your desires.
Photo by Norbert Mayer