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He refuses to deceive my parents

Dear Bunmi,
I GET on very well with my current boyfriend. In spite of the fact he’s always been honest, he’s an atheist. My family is catholic and they have invited us over on any weekend we choose. This will be the perfect opportunity for him to meet them as long as we don’t all drag him to church on Sunday. He says he doesn’t want to compromise his principles. But surely, he can stand the few hours we’ll be in church for my sake?
By e-mail.

Dear Lola,
IT’s natural for you to want a perfect meeting with everybody getting on, but this would be asking your man to be something he’s not. Come to think of it, your boyfriend and parents are not that different. He feels as strongly against religion as they do for it. Perhaps your parents will recognize this and respect him for standing by his belief. But you need to let them know about your man’s belief before accepting to spend a whole weekend with them.

Should I settle for marriage instead of passion?

Dear Bunmi,
I HAVE had good and intense relationship in the past and had hoped this would continue with my current boyfriend, but life with him is quieter and though the lovemaking is okay, I wouldn’t call it earth shattering. I just turned 30 and would love to have children and my new man could be a sensible choice as he’s financially solid.

Only, I’m not that excited about spending the rest of my life with him. My married friends have told me that passion fades with time anyway and I should stay with him because he’s a good catch. Am I wrong for wanting to hang on for someone I feel passionate about?
By E-mail

Dear Constance,
WE’RE not talking about a business partnership here but a love match. Like your friends, some people would argue differently, saying marriage plus children is a type of business arrangement and the qualities you search for in a husband are different from those in a lover. The danger here is that if you settle for Mr. Sensible – chances of having affairs with men who turn you on are high.

Who you choose to spend the rest of your life with and why has a lot to do with your personality, if you want a passionate, intense relationship, chemistry is crucial. But if you would rather settle for ‘content’ then chemistry’s not important. With real passion, the more involved you are, the more you have to lose and some people are wary of this.

If you’re after a more powerful, emotional and sexual experience, then hand on for the person you want to instantly fall all over you! Passion won’t guarantee you a lifetime lover but it’s a good start and is likely to make you stick around for the finish. And remember, even good relationships have a lot of boring bits and passion is what keeps us hanging in there, rather than dashing out the door the second problems start.

Sex with my step father

Dear Bunmi,
I AM an undergraduate in one of the universities and I’ve recently done something really terrible. My mum was a single mother of two for years until she got married to a nice widower last year. The man has just completed his house, so we all moved in with him along with the three children from his first marriage. We had the house-warming party around Christmas and we all had too much to drink. In the night my step dad came over and we had sex.

My head cleared in the morning and I’ve felt horribly guilty ever since. My step dad now carries on as if nothing happened but I feel really guilty and don’t know what to do. I don’t want mum to know what happened, yet she needs to be aware of the type of maniac she is married to. Please help.
By e-mail

Dear Augusta,
THIS is definitely a tricky situation, your mum will definitely be hurt if you tell her what has happened. In fact she may be so bent on defending her new found happiness she might choose to trust her new husband and not you. Your best bet is to have a heart to heart chat with your step dad.

Tell him how much you love your mum and how you’ve both betrayed her trust by sleeping together. Then let him realize you’re willing to put the ugly incident behind you if he promises it won’t happen again.

Sadly, what you’ve just experienced is not new though that doesn’t make it right. If this man breaks his promise and tries again, then you’ll have no option than to tell your mum or confide in a trusted member of the family who can effectively intervene.

She left me heartbroken

Dear Bunmi,
I’D lived with my partner for almost two years when she suddenly left me. I never left her in any doubt that we would get married any time she was ready, but she told me she was leaving because her feelings for me had died. It’s been two months since she left me and I just don’t understand why I confided in any of our friends.

From the look of things, there’s no one else involved, it’s a really weird and confusing experience for me, I need your help in getting my head round this. What can I do?
By e-mail.

Dear Clifford,
YOU need to gather as much information as you can about your relationship with your partner. There must have been clues, no one just leaves without any warning. Ask yourself what your relationship’s been like recently. Less talking? Less sex? More arguing? Ask friends or family even if your partner didn’t talk to them, they may have noticed something wrong.

Most importantly, ask your partner about it. Meet face to face and beg her to tell you what she’s feeling and thinking. This will help you come to terms with the situation and it might give you a chance to get your partner back if you can show you want to understand her point of view.

He quickly replaced me with another woman

Dear Bunmi,
I WAS married for close to 10 years but my husband was never around and money was tight. We had three children and when I tried to make him see why he had to spend less on himself so we could make ends meet, he didn’t want to know. To teach him a lesson, I moved out for a few days to let him cope without me. It turned out to be the biggest mistake of my life. The day I left, my husband moved another woman into our matrimonial home.

As soon as I realized this, I tried to go back home but he wouldn’t take me back. That was years ago and I’ve never forgiven myself for not fighting for my children. I now have some contact with my two daughters, but their brother wants nothing to do with me because he believes I deliberately abandoned them. I can’t put back the hands of the clock but I want to make things right with all my children. Can you help?

Did he buy this gift for me?

Dear Bunmi,
AFTER all the expenses of Christmas and the payment of school fees that followed, my husband and I made a pact not to spend too much on our impending birthdays which are weeks apart. I recently found a receipt for an expensive set of earrings as I was emptying his trouser pocket a few days ago.

If my husband had stuck to our promise, what he paid for this earrings was far too much for what he’s supposed to get for me. But what if the earrings were for someone else? Should I confront him or just hope this gift is a surprise?
By E-mail

Dear Ndidi,
I WOULDN’T be too quick to jump into conclusion if I were you. You never know – your husband may have bought the earrings as a surprise gift for you.

If you don’t get them on your birthday, however, you’ll understandably start to feel crossed and betrayed. As a result, the only option you have is to confront him about finding the receipt. If your worst fears are confirmed, then at least the truth will be out and you’ll know where to go from there!

Dear Modesty,
YOU made a bad decision years ago and you need to forgive yourself for it. Don’t beat yourself up for not having the strength to fight – especially with a husband that was bent on revenge. The speed with which he moved in another woman is indecent, to say the least.

Why not write to your children, even the daughters you have contact with? It’s quite possible they’re not aware of the whole story. Tell them why you had to leave and let them know you’re proud of who they are and what they have accomplished.

Say you’ve thought about them every day and that if they would be willing to get to know you now, you will take things at their pace. Their dad’s bitterness about your leaving must have given them the impression that you deliberately abandoned them. And this has to be corrected.


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