Dear Bunmi, there’s no longer communication from my current boyfriend. Some weeks I don’t even hear from him let alone see him.
I want to end it, but we’ve been together so long— nine years — that I don’t know where to start and don’t want to upset him.
Zainab, by e-mail.
Just do it. The longer you leave it the worst it will be. Sit him down, explain why you’re doing it and how you want more from the relationship.
He may ask questions and get upset, but stay calm and resolute. When you bring it all out in the open, there is a chance he will have been feeling the same as you.
So don’t get too offended if that’s the case!
Am I the world’s worst bastard?
I’m in my 60s with three daughters and four grandchildren. I married my wife 42 years ago, but shortly before our 30th anniversary, I noticed subtle changes that became progressively worse.
She was diagnosed with Alzheimers, became increasingly irrational and was eventually admitted. I was devastated, and so were our daughters.
Eventually she was allowed back home needing round-the-clock care.
Now, I have become close to one of my clients, a widow my own age. Wracked with guilt, I feel I have betrayed my wife, whom I still love.
Our daughters were not happy about it, but they say life is short and if I’m happy, so be it.
I’m not looking for absolution (although I did consider talking to our pastor, then rejected the thought), but an unbiased outside opinion.
Am I the world’s worst bastard or a victim of circumstances?
Bernard, by e-mail.
I cannot imagine anyone judging you as ‘the world’s worst bastard.’ I believe a lot of people will agree with your daughter— and they’re the only ones with the right to judge this sad case.
You stoutly maintain that you still love the wife with whom you shared a long married life, but the painful fact is this— that wife is no longer with you.
One of the cruellest aspects of dementia is that those who love the sufferer are left bereaved— condemned to witness what is, afterall, a form of living death.
You do not say whether your wife still recognises you, but since it sounds as if the progress of the disease was fast, I fear it may be unlikely.
Devastated, you kept going, and then met another lonely person who could offer mental and physical comfort — which (I have no doubt) is as important for her as it is for you.
According to Dear Bunmi, it is a good thing that you have found solace with your lady friend. The wife you loved will never come home to you and you need to seek help on how to contend with the dementia that plagues your marriage.
This will give you some ideas about ways to enjoy the times you have with her. Your visits are important for both of you (and for your daughters), and nothing should get in their way.
As for the rest of the time, when something is lost, the universe often supplies something to be found, and bring joy.
He thinks I’m too ambitious
I love the job I had since I graduated five years ago and feel that I am successful at it. But whenever I discuss my work and my future and what I’m hoping for, my partner tries to discourage me.
I don’t understand it, as I always allow time for us to have quality time together outside work.
He says that all career women are lonely and hardbitten, and tells me he loves me as I am. He also says that our relationship should be enough for me and that I must not destroy it.
How can I make him be more supportive?
Toke, by e-mail.
To hold down any job, let alone build a future, your partner must actively support you, think you are wonderful and be proud of all your achievements.
When he isn’t behind you, it’s much harder to do what you have to do.
Try to get the reasons underlying your partner’s negative attitude. Does he fear he’ll lose you if you find success? Deal with this one together.
Then you’ll need to make him see that any partnership worth its salt is a two-way street.
I’m sure you support him— does he expect to get all he wants and still have you beside him? If he does, then surely he must do the same for you.
No one can tell another person not to strive or grow or reach out for all the things that make our working lives great.
No one has the right to stifle another’s potential or hold her back from what she can achieve. And no relationship can thrive on an unequal basis of shared love and support.
Dear Bunmi concludes that we all change, some of us grow. If he can’t grow with you, then he’s the person who is threatening the relationship, not you.