Re­gain­ing trust key to rec­on­cil­ing

Penticton Herald - - LIVING - Email el­lie@thes­tar.ca. EL­LIE TESHER

DEAR EL­LIE: I was stunned when my hus­band and his col­league were asked to re­sign due to a con­tin­u­ing af­fair.

His ab­sences had been plau­si­ble due to his job and fre­quent travel.

After 15 years and three chil­dren my happy-home il­lu­sion was shat­tered.

He re­turned to our home town to seek em­ploy­ment while stay­ing with rel­a­tives.

He was suc­cess­ful through pre­vi­ous con­nec­tions and our chil­dren, fam­ily, and friends only knew that he was away due to his job.

His col­league quickly re­lo­cated nearby, which in­di­cated that she was plan­ning a fu­ture with him.

I felt my best op­tion was to re­turn to our fam­ily home, which was rented while we’d been trans­ferred here.

My own job prospects are bleak after be­ing a home­maker for 15 years.

I’m alone, un­der se­vere stress, and re­spon­si­ble for or­ga­niz­ing and pack­ing for a long-dis­tance move.

My hus­band hasn’t asked for a di­vorce. He’s a good fa­ther and I hope to keep my fam­ily to­gether.

Have I made the right de­ci­sion? — Un­cer­tain Fu­ture

AN­SWER: So long as you give your de­ci­sion a real chance for both of you to work at, it may prove far from “fool­ish.”

It means that you must ask whether his not ask­ing for a di­vorce means he wants to try to stay mar­ried.

He has to be will­ing to talk to you — and you will­ing to lis­ten — about why he was open to an af­fair.

He must also talk to you openly about what he sees for your fu­ture.

I say “must” not to be dog­matic about ad­vice, but be­cause avoid­ing talk­ing and just try­ing to carry on, won’t work. The af­fair will then be­come the ele­phant in the room, be­tween you.

Some cou­ples can han­dle this con­ver­sa­tion on their own, while oth­ers need the pro­fes­sional mar­riage coun­selling to open up about painful truths. You’ll soon know whether you need out­side help to get past blam­ing or shut­ting down.

How­ever, IF you’re hold­ing the fam­ily to­gether be­cause you fear be­ing alone and un­able to sup­port your­self, it’s a frag­ile foun­da­tion.

You need to be strong, in­formed, and re­silient, for your own sake and your chil­dren’s.

Learn your le­gal/fi­nan­cial rights and build the self-con­fi­dence that you can carry on no mat­ter how the fu­ture un­folds.

DEAR EL­LIE: I was bul­lied by some girls at school. It re­ally af­fected me. I re­al­ized re­cently that I’m ac­tu­ally afraid of them.

Be­cause they used to team up against me in a group, I al­ways felt alone. My par­ents came to know about the bul­ly­ing even­tu­ally.

I think the rea­son I was un­able to move on in my life is be­cause that fear still ex­ists, and also be­cause no one ever stood up to them.

I know talk­ing to th­ese girls isn’t an op­tion, but I’m not sure who to re­port them to. — Still Scared

AN­SWER: Talk to the school prin­ci­pal or a guid­ance coun­sel­lor if one ex­ists. If the re­sponse isn’t help­ful, talk to the school board. Ask your par­ents to ac­com­pany you. Be sure to write a re­port that de­tails the bul­ly­ing that hap­pened, and in­clude the fears that it cre­ated in you.

If there’s no re­newed bul­ly­ing this school year, still ask school of­fi­cials to cre­ate a pro­gram that con­fronts bul­ly­ing in school and how it af­fects everyone in­volved.

Read the writ­ings of Bar­bara Coloroso on this topic, in­clud­ing her book, The Bully, the Bul­lied, and the By­s­tander (third edi­tion/2015).

If still fear­ful, ask school of­fi­cials and your par­ents to ar­range coun­selling for you.

DEAR EL­LIE: Re­gard­ing the mother who’s con­stantly in­volved with three teenage daugh­ters, while Dad is “odd-man out,” (Au­gust 19):

Reader – “I have three teenage daugh­ters too.

“Can you elab­o­rate on how to “re-boot” our fam­ily’s func­tions?”

AN­SWER: It’s easy for a one-sided rou­tine to de­velop, when one par­ent, per­haps with seem­ing-more time, drives the chil­dren, cooks, does laun­dry, etc.

But this is 2017. Both par­ents have skills and qual­i­ties that ben­e­fit their kids and can equal­ize the tasks. Teenagers can pitch in, too.

The “re-boot” is a change that’s worked out to­gether. Ex­am­ple: Dad and daugh­ters cook to­gether one evening or on the weekend and freeze some meals.

You drive to an ac­tiv­ity, he picks up. Or you go to­gether and watch, so you’re both con­ver­sant about what they’re learn­ing, the sport they’re play­ing, etc.

You only need mu­tual will­ing­ness to com­pro­mise to make fam­ily life feel more like a team ef­fort.

TIP OF THE DAY

Try­ing to save your mar­riage is worth the ef­fort, IF you can work at it to­gether and re­gain trust.

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