The Mail on Sunday - You - - Dear Zelda -

I had an affair with a lovely, car­ing, in­ter­est­ing and fun man in my so­cial group. We talked about leav­ing our part­ners, but couldn’t go through with it as we both have young chil­dren, so we re­luc­tantly agreed to end it. We still see each other and meet so­cially with our mu­tual friends, but noth­ing sex­ual has taken place since we ended the affair – even though we’re both at­tracted to one an­other. We have agreed that we want our spe­cial friend­ship to con­tinue. Is this ac­cept­able? When is an affair not an affair? The won­der­ful an­tic­i­pa­tion of se­cret meet­ings; in­ti­mate con­ver­sa­tions; a flir­ta­tious kiss, hug or touch of his hand; a lin­ger­ing ca­ress that makes your heart skip a beat. With the sex­ual ten­sion mounting when you’re in each other’s com­pany, could you re­ally set­tle for just be­ing good friends and not fall back into bed to­gether? Even if the fling was not sex­ual, an emo­tional affair can be just as dam­ag­ing to a marriage and both of you would still be de­ceiv­ing your re­spec­tive part­ners. How would you feel if your hus­band had a sim­i­lar re­la­tion­ship with an­other woman? There is also the pos­si­bil­ity that you could be caught out. I re­ceive so many let­ters where an affair has been dis­cov­ered be­cause of an in­dis­creet text or email. Also, when you are so­cial­is­ing, ei­ther one of your spouses could pick up on the in­ti­macy be­tween the two of you and sus­pect an affair. So you could be putting your marriage at risk. Would it not be better to work on what might be missing in your marriage, which made you turn to an affair in the first place? learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties. What should I do? This must make you deeply un­happy and I am so sorry for you. It is dev­as­tat­ing to feel unloved by a par­ent, es­pe­cially as your mother is the only one now that your father has died. Sadly, it is not al­ways pos­si­ble to re­pair frac­tured re­la­tion­ships with a par­ent. It seems as though your mother favours your broth­ers and sis­ter and their spouses and chil­dren, and is con­stantly push­ing you away and let­ting you down. This is hurt­ful and pos­si­bly also makes you an­gry. Could you talk to any of your sib­lings and ask them why your mother treats you this way? Per­haps they could ex­plain to her how much you are hurt by her con­stant re­jec­tion. If noth­ing changes, ask your sib­lings if you can turn to them for support. You don’t men­tion whether you have a part­ner or friends, who could help you a lot. Ask your GP for a re­fer­ral for coun­selling or cog­ni­tive be­havioural ther­apy to help you to build the con­fi­dence to de­velop these ar­eas of your life – and for support with this dis­tress­ing sit­u­a­tion. Also con­tact the Sa­mar­i­tans (sa­mar­i­, 116 123).

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