DEAR ZELDA

The Mail on Sunday - You - - In this Issue -

Your prob­lems an­swered

I am a fit 74-year-old man and have been hap­pily mar­ried to my wife, who is 55, for the past 20 years. She is won­der­ful and I love her very much. About a year ago, we moved to a new house in a lovely vil­lage. I joined Weight Watch­ers and met a pleas­ant woman. Then she stopped com­ing to the classes. I dis­cov­ered that she had can­cer and then I was di­ag­nosed with can­cer, too. My wife and I vis­ited her and we ex­changed mo­bile num­bers. We have kept in touch, sup­port­ing each other through oper­a­tions and chemo­ther­apy. Some­times we text up to 80 times a week when one of us is go­ing through a lot, or is in hospi­tal. We have strong emo­tions for each other and go to the lo­cal can­cer sup­port group to­gether. I love her com­pany and she makes me laugh. My wife hates this. The three of us met in a pub re­cently and my wife ac­cused me of star­ing into this woman’s eyes. She wants me to stop see­ing her, but nei­ther of us know how long we have left to live and we love be­ing good friends, noth­ing more. I am in love with my wife, but it helps to share my thoughts and med­i­ca­tion ideas. It makes us feel less scared of the fu­ture if we are in touch. I know that if one of us faces death, we will want to sup­port each other. We just want a lovely, pla­tonic re­la­tion­ship. I am sorry that you and your friend have can­cer. I un­der­stand that the sup­port of some­one who is go­ing through the same ex­pe­ri­ence is im­por­tant to both of you. Some­times it feels as though only some­one who has been through the same ma­jor life event can truly un­der­stand you. How­ever, I can also see that your wife feels ex­cluded and she might fear that you are fall­ing in love with this woman. You say that you have strong feel­ings for each other, af­ter all. I am sure that your wife is also hav­ing to deal with her feel­ings of fear, anx­i­ety and grief about whether you are go­ing to die. I ex­pect that she wants to be there to sup­port you and per­haps she feels side­lined by your re­la­tion­ship with your friend. Talk to your wife about all of this and maybe you can have joint coun­selling or talk to a Macmil­lan nurse to­gether. I also think that you should cut down your texts to your friend to two or three a day.

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