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My husband’s friend is destroying our marriage

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Aunty Julie,

My husband of two years is very sociable and has many close friends that we meet up with for dinner. But he also has clingy friend who comes to our home every Friday and stays until Sunday afternoon. I am often lying around in very little or feeding our baby. One morning he bumped into me naked in the bathroom. I feel as though my privacy is being invaded. My husband just expects me to chat to him but I am getting angry and we end up having huge fights. If I blame my husband, his friend jumps in and ticks me off. When we went to his house he put on a pornographic film and both he and my husband started grinning at me. Even on our first anniversary supper this man turned up at the restaurant and joined us for coffee. My husband promises to talk to him but nothing has changed. He texts and telephones my husband every day. This man is nice and he loves our daughter, but I feel as if I am in competition with him for my husband’s attention. How can I stop him coming around all the time.

Anonymous, Lagos

 

Dear Anonymous,

Neither your husband nor his friend are being fair to you. To use Princess Diana’s much quoted phrase, there are three of us in this marriage. No wife would want another man there  all weekend, leaving her little time to be with her husband. It is difficult enough to find time to just be a couple when there is a new baby, let alone when there is someone else there all the time. So talk to your husband once more and ask him to tell his friend that you want more time as a couple. It would be fine if he stayed over once a month or came for supper sometimes, but not nearly so frequently. If your husband does nothing then you should talk to his friend yourself. Explain that you like him but you want more time as a couple. You could offer to find him a girlfriend to keep him occupied . He should definitely not be joining you on your next wedding anniversary. I assume your husband and this man are not in a relationship.

 

 

How do I forgive his sexting

Dear Julie,

My husband and I appear to have the perfect marriage and family that everyone wanted. In fact, many people said so. The truth is, it was not as great as they or I thought. He is successful in his job and his colleagues speak very highly of him. By chance, I discovered that he had been sending sexually explicit photographs to a woman he works with. I had met her a couple of times but never thought she could rival me for my husband’s affection. He says he has broken off contact, but I still think about her all the time. How can I trust him again. He would describe other people doing this sort of thing as very seedy, so why would he do it. If he had been going out with her, that would have made more sense. I hate the thought of him sending pornographic photos to another woman. I now ask myself, do I really know him. How can I move on.

Bidemi, Delta

 

Dear Bidemi,

Sexting is so foolish and so high risk apart from being caught out, it can have far wider consequences. The photographs could end up on internet, especially if a relationship is ended against someone’s will. That person often wants to take revenge and might even circulate it at work, which would be hugely embarrassing. Most people would be devastated if they discovered their partner sexting and your husband has let you down. Tell him how hurt and betrayed you feel and talk about why he did it. Hopefully, he can reassure you that it went no further. It does undermine trust and that takes time to rebuild.

If you’re the kind of person for which cheating completely dashes your trust in someone; if it’s going to make you crazy with worry and suspicion; if you’re going to start snooping and lashing out; if it’s going to do negative things for your mental health, then you’re likely not going to be able to make a relationship work.

Some people can forgive and forget. So ask yourself if you think you can. Can you not snoop through his phone? Can you be at peace when you don’t know where he might be going or with whom? Will you eventually stop worrying about his straying? And, for his part, does he make a concerted effort to change? Can you tell that he’s dedicated to the marriage? Does he seem remorseful? Is he making strides to really and truly become a more evolved person in your marriage? These are questions you can answer through time, observation and in therapy. Your answers to them will determine whether or not you two can make this work.

 

 

My life revolves around dad

Aunty Julie,

I am a 62 year old retired civil servant. My husband died many years ago and I live with my father, who is 82. Until he suffered stroke nine months ago, we led a good life together. We went for walks, read, listened to music and shared the household chores. I have no close friends but I enjoy my own company. I love travelling by train and used to do so regularly here and abroad. Although my father has made a good recovery, our lives now consist of shopping and watching television. I do all the house work and I’m too tired for any hobbies. My father and I quarrelled recently and he accused me of being selfish. I have plenty of information about help services but they are not my kind of thing and my father would never countenance them. I cannot see an end to all of this. I just wanted to tell someone how I feel.

Widow, Lagos

 

Dear Widow,

Try to see it this way. Your father is lucky to have you there looking after him. Sometimes, you need to put yourself first and this is not being selfish. You should continue the train travelling that you love, both here and abroad. So be a little firmer with your father and say that you would like to still do this.

Sometimes, you can arrange for someone to do the cooking, cleaning and shopping while you are away. Don’t see outside help as not your thing, but as something you both need. It’s important that you have your own life.

 

 

I feel uncomfortable around my father-in-law

Dear Julie,

My father-in-law watched an intimate video of myself and my partner. I didn’t know my husband’s father is computer literate and operates the lap-top very well. A video of his son and I smooching and making love was saved in my lap-top which was in the sitting room the day he visited. I was in the bathroom and when I came out, he was already on the lap-top. My husband was not around. I didn’t like that and ever since,I feel funny and strange around especially after he made comments about my body.

Is it okay for me to feel uncomfortable when around him and when he comments on my body, saying things like, “I don’t understand why men are still attracted to women with stretch marks.”

Ese, Auchi

 

Dear Ese,

Unfortunately awkward situations do happen, such as people seeing things you don’t intend them to. It is very normal to feel awkward and uncomfortable as a result. It sounds like you would prefer for your father in law to forget he ever saw the video and not speak about it.

If you feel that he is saying these things on purpose, it needs to stop. It isn’t okay for him to make you feel uncomfortable or ashamed of your body. It might not be a pleasant conversation, but you do need to speak up for yourself and tell him calmly and firmly not to make these comments to you. Sometimes people prefer to do this in a letter so that they can express themselves clearly. If that is also too daunting perhaps your partner can have the conversation?

Take some time to think about how you want to express your views so that you can do it calmly, as yelling or threatening certainly won’t help the situation.

 

 

 

 

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