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Should I have a word with my man’s ex?

By Bunmi Sofola

Dear Bunmi,
My partner’s ex-wife treats him appallingly. They have a son together whom he loves very much. As a result, he has to maintain contact but every time he sees her to collect his son, he comes back really angry and this upsets me. She’s verbally abusive, threatens and belittles him and his self-confidence is shattered.

I tell him he has to be more assertive with her and suggest ways of handling her but he’s too scared to do it. I’m seriously considering calling her to try to talk some sense into her. She doesn’t frighten me and I’m sick of putting up with her bad behaviour. I don’t know whether to tell my partner I’m going to do this or just have it out with her, woman to woman. Enough is enough!
By E-mail

Dear Jane,
Have you considered a third option of not interfering at all? You have a right to be frustrated as you find it painful to watch the man you love being continually hurt. But you’ll make things much worse rather than better by organizing a slagging match between you two. She’s already got your man by the proverbial, and if you step in to fight his battle, you’ll effectively castrate him! He’s already feeling emasculated; stepping in to do his dirty job will make him feel even more helpless.

You need to step back now. The relationship they have is their business, not yours. Telling him what he should have said or done isn’t accomplishing anything, so stop. Change your tactic from trying to protect him to trying to support him.

At the moment, he returns from one battle scene to another from a dressing down from her to you telling him what he’s done wrong. Why don’t you be someone he knows will make him feel better, not worse? Be loving towards him without being judgmental.

Your plan of meeting up with his ex to  sort her out is bonkers.  She’s obviously still hurting from her split with him and is out to cause as much harm as possible. So why do you think she’s going to talk calmly and rationally to you the new woman in his life?

My daughter wants her violent man back!

Dear Bunmi,
I feel so helpless as a mother. A few years ago, my daughter became involved with a very nasty and violent boyfriend.. He was beating her up so savagely the police had to be involved. To be safe, she let go of her apartment and moved in with me.

You can imagine my shock when my daughter told me she’s going back to this thug. I’ve tried to reason with her, but she said she’s made up her mind. She said she loves him. It’s now got to the point where I feel like beating her up myself whenever I look at her.  She’s now planning to move in with him as soon as possible. Nothing I say or do works. So right now, I’m washing my hands off her and letting her get on with it. I mean, what else can I do?
By E-mail

Dear Elsie,
You gave birth to your daughter, brought her up and cared for her. Now you see her behaving stupidly and worse, putting herself in real danger. And no wonder it’s also making you hate her. It may seem a strange reaction towards someone you love, but there is a logic to it. You want to save your daughter, but she  doesn’t  want  to   be   saved.   You’re   scared  because   she’s  in  a  dangerous situation, but she won’t listen.

It’s understandable you should aim your anger at the daughter who is giving you so much stress. But you need to stay focused. Because your daughter is an adult, there is precious little you can do for now. If she’s made up her mind, then that’s her choice, though there is something you could do to help. Keep in frequent touch to let her know you’re there for her. This isn’t important just so you don’t lose her completely. It is also vital because her violent partner may try to keep her under his thumb by cutting off her contact with family and friends – abusive partners often do this. Don’t give up on your daughter. In time, you may be the only one she comes running to.

My  fiance ‘scored’ with my best friend

Dear Bun mi,
My partner of four years has confessed to sleeping with my best friend. An acquaintance saw them leaving together at a party I was to have attended but for the fact our two-year-old daughter was ill.

My partner had not really met this acquaintance before the party but he had openly bragged to his friends that he had scored as they both left together. When I confronted my partner, he was shocked that I knew but said they were both drunk at the time and it was the biggest mistake of his life. My friend on the other hand, denied all knowledge of the incident when I asked her.

I was so devastated that I cut off seeing both of them. I would have gotten married to this   lout but for the fact I was pregnant. We were arranging a new wedding date and this so-called best friend would have been my chief bridesmaid. My partner and I have well paid jobs but I currently live in a flat I inherited from my late father. He was to move in with me after the marriage. Now, I can’t even bear to look at him, let alone sleep with him. Will I ever get over this betrayal?
By E-mail

Dear Clarion,
It’s natural that you feel hurt and betrayed by the two people close to you. Your partner, undoubtedly, must also be kicking himself. He’s shown how remorseful he is making a wanton and foolish mistake while drunk. But believe me, what he did was not unusual or a crime, although it is a pity.

You need time to work through your pain, shock and anger but you need to get your relationship back on course. Let your man know how angry and betrayed you feel and be willing to patch up your broken relationship. You have a daughter to consider and this lapse is obviously a one-off.

Of course, things will never be quite the same between you and your partner when you eventually make up, as you’ll be constantly suspicious of him.

But there’ll be the desire to protect the loving relationship that was almost destroyed by his indiscretion and that could be a good thing!  You have a good man there and I would resume planning the wedding if I
were you!

His tragic death still haunts me

Dear Bunmi,
I lost my husband in a tragic motor accident a few months ago. He was driving and his office associate also died in the accident. We had been married for 12 years and have two lovely children. He was just over 40 and the love of my life. I miss him very much.

I miss him romping with the children and I feel so lonely. What do I do now? People have told me I would eventually get over my loss but I had thought when we got married, it would be forever. I know he lives on in our children, and in me, but I miss him so much I cry most of the time.
By E-mail

Dear Victoria,
It’s futile to tell you that I know how you feel because I don’t know what it’s like to lose the love of your life prematurely. What I do know is that, good or bad, your husband is gone, and he’s not coming back.

The sooner you acknowledge this, the earlier you will begin to heal. People have their unique ways of grieving but there comes a time when you say to yourself, this isn’t going to change, and choosing to be angry or upset isn’t going to help. The adage that time heals all wounds is often wrong. Time itself fixes nothing. It’s what you choose to do during that mourning period that will ease your pain.

My suggestion is that you celebrate the years you two had together instead of focusing on his death and your loss.

The depth of your pain is not necessarily a reflection of your love for him.

When you got married, you had no guarantee you’d have him for the 12 years you had together, not to talk of having him for life.

You have two healthy children at home and you have no idea how long the three of you are going to be in this world. But you can all look back at the happy times you shared with their father. While never abandoning memories of your husband, give yourself permission to move on and let life be about the living.

Your husband would want the family he left behind to be happy with a focused mother. I wish you all the best.

Sex-mad neighbours!

Dear Bunmi,
I’m sure the couple that live next door to the face-me – I face you I rented, are sex-mad. Almost every night, they make love. The walls that separate their apartment from mine are so thin that I could hear all the dirty words they say to each other whenever they’re having sex.

I have two girl friends but they don’t scream the type of obscenities I hear this couple spew when I make love to them. I mean how can a married woman say all those embarrassing things just because her husband is making love to her?

Unfortunately, I don’t get to sleep until they have finished. Sometimes I even have wet dreams thinking of their sordid act. Should I tell them to cool it?
By E-mail

Dear Ben,
Have you thought of moving out yourself? You really have no say on how married couples express their love for each other, especially in the privacy of their own homes.

If you can’t stand the love groans, which are perfectly normal in couples who enjoy a good sex life, maybe you should look for somewhere else to live.

Better still, why not go to bed with ear plugs made out of cotton wool?


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