Forty years later, still can’t forget
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.