Ask Dr Louise

YOU (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - Write to Dr Louise, PO Box 39410, Morele­ta­park 0044, or email info@dr­louise.co.za.

I’M CRUSHED

I’m in my late twen­ties and met my boyfriend two years ago. He’s hand­some, has a great job and is the kind of guy girls dream about. I knew women would go for him be­cause be­sides be­ing at­trac­tive he’s also charm­ing and is a gen­tle­man who knows how to treat a woman. He’s not like other good-look­ing men who know they’re at­trac­tive and think they de­serve ev­ery­thing in life be­cause of it. He’s hum­ble and re­spect­ful.

But last night he told me that although he’s tried to fight against his feel­ings, he’s fallen in love with some­one else and wants to be with her – re­gard­less of the fact that he still loves me and will miss me if I’m not in his life.

He says he’s re­alised his love for me is more like what you’d have for a favourite sis­ter, not the kind of love you have for the woman of your dreams. That re­ally hurt. I feel as if he’s not only wasted two years of my life but also de­stroyed all my dreams as we’d al­ready started talk­ing about get­ting mar­ried next year. Leanne, email Love is an in­cred­i­bly com­plex emo­tion and can throw a curve­ball when you least ex­pect it. It’s also one of those emo­tions we can’t re­ally con­trol and have no mas­tery over.

Although it’s painful, it’s bet­ter he was hon­est with you about his feel­ings. If he doesn’t love you the way you want to be loved, you’re not meant for each other. Try to see it as hav­ing had the priv­i­lege of hav­ing him in your life for a short time. You might not be­lieve it now, but you’ll love again and it will be just as re­ward­ing as the love you had for him.

Try to ac­cept and re­spect his de­ci­sion with­out feel­ing that you’re less at­trac­tive, less wor­thy or less any­thing (the way most of us tend to feel when we’re jilted by some­one). Also, don’t get caught up in think­ing “if only things were dif­fer­ent” – this will only make you hurt more.

Start re­build­ing your life. Turn to friends for sup­port. Cry when you feel like it, but don’t wal­low in self-pity. You’re not the first per­son to be hurt emo­tion­ally and won’t be the last. Emo­tional pain is part of life and how we get through it is of­ten a tes­ta­ment to our re­silience and char­ac­ter.

I FEEL ALL ALONE IN THE WORLD

I’ve lost both my par­ents, and lost all my sib­lings even be­fore my dad died about eight years ago.

I’m in my fifties now and don’t have any re­main­ing close fam­ily mem­bers in the world. I feel de­jected and lost and envy peo­ple who have fam­ily as they of­ten don’t re­alise how priv­i­leged they are.

I di­vorced 10 years ago af­ter catch­ing my hus­band in the act with his mis­tress.

We didn’t have chil­dren so I don’t have kids to carry on my legacy. I of­ten won­der what will hap­pen to me when I grow older as I’ve seen many of my older friends be­com­ing de­pen­dent on their kids for sup­port. What will I do, as I have no one? Anne-May, email Hav­ing par­ents and sib­lings doesn’t guar­an­tee you’ll be sur­rounded by sup­port­ive fam­ily mem­bers in your old age. There are many peo­ple who have fam­i­lies and chil­dren yet they’re ig­nored by them and so in ef­fect end up alone.

It’s for this rea­son that friends are pre­cious. Friends don’t spend time with you be­cause they feel they should or are bound by blood or duty. They’re in your life be­cause they like or love you and en­joy your com­pany. These bonds can be much stronger than those based on duty. So cul­ti­vate and nur­ture your friend­ships. Go out of your way to keep in touch with your friends and be part of their lives. Friends can be younger than you, the same age or older, and dif­fer­ent friends bring a va­ri­ety of di­men­sions to your life.

MY LIFE IS SUD­DENLY GO­ING IN AN­OTHER DI­REC­TION

I thought I was gay be­cause for as long as I can re­mem­ber I’ve had feel­ings for peo­ple of the same gen­der. But now I’ve met a woman I ini­tially thought would be a good friend, yet I’m start­ing to feel much more for her than friend­ship.

She’s given me signs that she wouldn’t be averse to hav­ing a more in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship with me. For­tu­nately I’m not in a re­la­tion­ship at the mo­ment and nei­ther is she.

What shall I do? I don’t want to start some­thing I can’t fin­ish and I also don’t want to hurt her.

I have no doubt that I have sex­ual feel­ings for her – this def­i­nitely isn’t just af­fec­tion stem­ming from friend­ship. Gary, email You’re both adults. Just be hon­est with her and tell her you’ve al­ways thought you were gay, but have now de­vel­oped feel­ings for her that are def­i­nitely more than just friend­ship. Then it’s up to her to de­cide if she wants to take the risk of hav­ing a re­la­tion­ship with you.

Hu­man sex­u­al­ity can be much more com­pli­cated than peo­ple sim­ply be­ing het­ero­sex­ual, gay or bi­sex­ual.

In fact, re­search in­di­cates that most peo­ple tend to be bi­sex­ual in their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion rather than grav­i­tat­ing to op­po­site ends of the con­tin­uum. But it’s still a taboo sub­ject, so few peo­ple iden­tify them­selves as be­ing bi­sex­ual.

A mean­ing­ful re­la­tion­ship be­tween two peo­ple is about so much more than just the sex­ual side of things.

It’s re­ally about two souls who con­nect with each other on all sorts of lev­els. As long as you’re open and hon­est with each other, go for it.

Don’t be afraid. The im­por­tant thing is that you lay all your cards on the ta­ble so she can make a de­ci­sion with all the facts at her dis­posal.

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