Seek out help, not ev­i­dence

Penticton Herald - - LIFE - EL­LIE TESHER

Q: My wife is ac­cus­ing me of cheat­ing on her. How can I tell if she is cheat­ing on me?

Back At Her A: So few de­tails, yet so much is re­vealed! I read dis­trust, game-play­ing, blam­ing, anger, even com­pet­ing at who’s more un­faith­ful.

Your mar­riage is clearly in sham­bles. If there’s any hope for it, this counter-at­tack isn’t the right path. In­stead, be hon­est—at least with your­self: Are you cheat­ing? And if so, why?

Once you can truth­fully an­swer those ques­tions, you have a start to­wards a con­ver­sa­tion.

But be­fore you even try to talk to her, first ask your­self if you re­ally think she’s cheat­ing, or you’re just try­ing to get some dirt on her to de­flect from yours.

If that’s the case, for­get it. It’s an un­der­handed ap­proach. And if you’re both cheat­ing, it would seem you de­serve each other.

Un­less the two of you have no clue how to han­dle a re­la­tion­ship when any­thing gets tough.

If that’s so, and if you’re both will­ing to get coun­selling, go to­gether for help. Ask to learn how to deal with each other dur­ing times of stress, doubts, con­fu­sion, fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties, work­place pres­sure, etc.

Those re­al­i­ties can pe­ri­od­i­cally set in mo­tion dis­tanc­ing be­hav­iour which leads to sus­pi­cions and nasty ac­cu­sa­tions.

When that hap­pens, pur­su­ing your open­ing ques­tion above, in­stead of work­ing to­gether to fix things, will de­stroy any hope for the mar­riage. It won’t mat­ter who cheated or if you both did.

DEAR EL­LIE: Af­ter 42 years of mar­riage, my 65-year-old hus­band had a 3 1/2-year af­fair. When it ended, we both tried to change old habits and re­turn hap­pi­ness into our mar­riage.

Eigh­teen months later, at 69, due to a pos­i­tive Pap test and biopsy, I was di­ag­nosed with high-grade, se­vere pre-can­cer­ous cer­vi­cal cells. My pre­vi­ous Pap tests were neg­a­tive.

In over 90 per cent of these cases, such a di­ag­noses is the re­sult of the sex­u­al­ly­trans­mit­ted dis­ease HPV (hu­man pa­pil­loma virus).

I re­quired a to­tal hys­terec­tomy and, thank­fully, the pathol­ogy was clear. How­ever, this set back our at­tempts to re­cover from the af­fair.

I be­lieve I con­tracted HPV from my hus­band, my only sex­ual part­ner. Though he used pro­tec­tion, gen­i­tal skinto-skin con­tact re­sulted in him get­ting the in­fec­tion. The “other” woman had tested clear, but be­ing screened for STDs doesn’t in­clude the de­tec­tion of HPV.

There’s no test for men to de­tect HPV, but women can re­quest a test at a cost. The Pap test’s pur­pose is early de­tec­tion of ab­nor­mal cer­vi­cal cells. About 80 per cent of peo­ple carry this virus usu­ally with­out aware­ness since most have no symp­toms.

There are up­wards to 100 va­ri­eties of HPV and usu­ally only strains 16 and 18 are the ones that can lead to pre-can­cer­ous cer­vi­cal cells. The HPV vac­cine, given only to cer­tain age groups, pro­vides ef­fec­tive but lim­ited pro­tec­tion.

I’m en­cour­ag­ing all se­nior women to con­tinue with reg­u­lar Pap tests even be­yond age 70 when, in many health-care pro­vi­sion, cov­er­age ceases af­ter three neg­a­tive re­sults.

We all dis­like hav­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence the test and even though one may feel con­fi­dent in a part­ner’s faith­ful­ness, the temp­ta­tions avail­able to­day are hard for many men and women to re­sist. Given that to­day’s se­niors are more sex­u­ally ac­tive than ever be­fore, a woman must be pru­dent about her own health and pro­tec­tion.

I’m for­ever grate­ful to my fam­ily doc­tor for in­sist­ing I have, at age 69, my last sched­uled Pap test. She may’ve saved me a bat­tle with can­cer.

FEED­BACK Re­gard­ing alert­ing an anti-de­pres­sant pre­scrib­ing doc­tor to a sui­cide threat from her/his pa­tient who’s the let­ter­writer’s wife (Nov. 12):

Reader – My own ex­pe­ri­ence in deal­ing with a per­son’s pre­scrib­ing doc­tor about that per­son’s threats and be­hav­iours, got me nowhere.

Due to be­ing very con­cerned about my sis­ter’s be­hav­iour, I called to speak with her doc­tor sev­eral times, and could not get past the re­cep­tion­ist, who cited “pri­vacy con­cerns.

Per­haps the re­cep­tion­ist passed along to the doc­tor my in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to my sis­ter, but I will never know.

Frus­trated EL­LIE — Never give up on try­ing to get help for some­one whom you care about. You had the right to ask that re­cep­tion­ist if she would and did pass on that in­for­ma­tion. That’s not a breach of your sis­ter’s pri­vacy — it’s an at­tempt to pro­vide the doc­tor with in­for­ma­tion he oth­er­wise wouldn’t have.

You can seek le­gal ad­vice on how to get se­ri­ously wor­ri­some in­for­ma­tion to a pa­tient’s doc­tor. EL­LIE’S TIP OF THE DAY When both part­ners are sus­pected cheaters, the re­la­tion­ship’s ill-fated un­less both seek pro­fes­sional help in­stead of damn­ing ev­i­dence. Read El­lie Mon­day to Satur­day. Email el­[email protected]­tar.ca.

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