Be hon­est with your­self: Are you cheat­ing?

Waterloo Region Record - - Arts & Life - EL­LIE Ad­vice Colum­nist Read El­lie Mon­day to Satur­day. Email el­[email protected]­ or visit her web­site, el­liead­ Fol­low @el­liead­vice.

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

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 coun­terat­tack 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 to­ward 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 that 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.

Read­ers’ com­men­tary

“After 42 years of mar­riage, my 65year-old hus­band had a three and a hal­fyear-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 STD’s (sex­u­ally-trans­mit­ted dis­eases) doesn’t in­clude the de­tec­tion of HPV.

“There’s no test for men to de­tect HPV, but women can re­quest a test. 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.

“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 sched­uled Pap test. She may have saved me a bat­tle with can­cer.”

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.

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