Forty years later, still can’t for­get

Cape Breton Post - - HEALTH / ADVICE - Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar An­nie’s Mail­box is writ­ten by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, long­time ed­i­tors of the Ann Lan­ders col­umn. Please email your ques­tions to an­nies­mail­box@cre­ators.com, or write to: An­nie’s Mail­box, c/o Cre­ators Syn­di­cate, 73

Dear An­nie: My wife and I have been mar­ried for 40 years. When we were first dat­ing, my fu­ture wife un­ex­pect­edly set me aside to ex­plore the pos­si­bil­i­ties of see­ing another man. It was a dif­fi­cult time for me. The other man was a mu­tual ac­quain­tance, for whom I didn’t much care, which in­ten­si­fied my hurt. Within two months, they stopped see­ing one another, and in due time, we started dat­ing again, fell in love and mar­ried. Sounds good — and it has been. But I have one men­tal de­mon with which I strug­gle.

About three decades ago, when ca­su­ally chat­ting about our pre­vi­ous ro­man­tic in­ter­ests, my wife re­vealed that when see­ing the afore­men­tioned man, they had sex. Since be­ing made aware of it, I can’t let it go. All of those painful mem­o­ries were re­vived by her dis­clo­sure.

My wife has been a won­der­ful friend, part­ner and par­ent and does not de­serve my pe­ri­odic fix­a­tion on some­thing that was a tiny mo­ment in time. Why can’t I, as she re­quests, just for­get about it? How can I rec­on­cile my­self to it and down­size its larger-than-life sta­tus in my con­scious­ness? — Liv­ing in the ‘70s

Dear Liv­ing: It is not un­usual to re­mem­ber some­thing dis­turb­ing and pe­ri­od­i­cally think about it. But if you are do­ing this more than a few times a year and be­com­ing fix­ated on it to the point where it is af­fect­ing other ar­eas of your life, you might need pro­fes­sional help to put it aside. You’ve been hold­ing in your re­sent­ment, jeal­ousy and fears for 40 years and they are still eat­ing at you. Please talk to a coun­selor so you can air your feel­ings to some­one other than your wife and get help man­ag­ing them. Your doc­tor can re­fer you.

Dear An­nie: I read the let­ter from "Had Enough," the 68-yearold woman who was tired of her hus­band’s de­mand for sex. At about that same age, my wife told me that she re­ally didn’t want to have sex. In a lov­ing way, she said that she phys­i­cally couldn’t put up with it any­more.

I was hurt at the time and some­what an­gry. But when I thought about it, I was also some­what re­lieved, be­cause in the few months prior, I felt my heart rac­ing and was ex­hausted when mak­ing love.

I obeyed my wife’s wishes and we stopped hav­ing sex. Then, sev­eral months later, I al­most suf­fered a heart at­tack. I needed ex­ten­sive heart surgery and it took me months to re­cover. To this day, I am grate­ful that my wife was the first to call it off. I might have been dead oth­er­wise. — Ever So Thank­ful

Dear Thank­ful: While it is true that ex­er­tion can strain the heart, chances are that your heart trou­bles would have hap­pened whether or not you gave up sex. And a lot of men would not be will­ing to ac­cept that so- lu­tion, re­gard­less of health. But if ab­sti­nence works for you and your wife, that’s fine with us. You have found a way to make the lack of sex work in your fa­vor.

To all of our Mus­lim read­ers: Happy Eid.

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