Seek out help, not evidence
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 skin-to-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.