Taken for granted

My boyfriend and me have been friends first (for 5 years) and have started dating a year ago. Initially we were extremely okay with the whole change in the roles and priority in our lives. Both of us share feelings towards each other and have been happy overall. However past week or so has been rough as I have realised that he takes me for granted very often because I never object to anything. He did something last week which upset me, and I objected it but to his defence he simply told me that it’s his nature. I am upset with the fact that he is not understanding that some things could affect me, and I may not be okay with. I don’t know if my expectations are unreasonable here. Please help.

Ans: I have in my control my life, I do not have in my control my boyfriend’s life. Because I have in my control my life, I have in my control my choices, reactions, responses and reactions. I do not have in my control the other person’s choices, reactions, responses and choices. Having said that, it is human to not feel understood and feel upset as a result. Do not allow this instance to bring about a breakdown in your interaction and communication. Building trust and understanding is a process and takes time. Be patient, continue open, honest and frank give and take even if the response may not be to your liking. It is important for you to share how you feel without bottling this up. This will aid in the journey of getting to know each other better and you will begin to compliment each other as a result of the understanding that will develop.

Worthy confessions

I was born with a defect on my lower back and got a surgery done when I was 10 years old. I am 26 years currently and just got into a relationship with a guy who I know from office. The relationship is very comfortable and we both value honesty towards each other. He has been very transparent about his strengths and weaknesses and I feel I should tell him about my surgery as well. The defect was quite progressive and hence left a nasty scar on my back. I am worried that once he knows about this he will probably rethink about the relationship. I don’t know when is the right time to tell him about it.

Ans: Now is the right time to tell him, the sooner the better. The foundation of any relationship is trust, openness and honesty. The fact that you say that “you both value honesty” is a critical factor that you continue on that path by sharing this with him. In addition, his being transparent with you warrants the same from your side if the relationship has to be solidified and if it has to evolve. The longer you delay, the more difficult this conversation and its effects can be. And if he rethinks the relationship as a result of this reality then it is better at this stage than much later. Much later could and would involve far more damage at various levels along with a breach of trust and being let down.

When parents part ways

My parents divorced 2 years ago and since then there has been a custody case being fought by them. I have to appear in court whenever the case is being heard and each time I meet my parents together I only sense hatred. I live with my mom but also meet my dad often. I see others around me and wonder why is it that my parents couldn’t live together. I question my mother at times about this, but she has already explained me the situation and there is nothing much she can do about it. I understand her situation, but I am getting affected by it every time we have the case date. What can I do?

Ans: I am so sorry about what you are going through at this time. It must be very hard seeing families where parents live together with their children as a single unit. However, reality is not always visible on the surface and what meets the eye in the reality of others may /may not always be 100% true. In addition, having the family as a single unit where all live ‘happily ever after’ is desirable but not necessarily a parameter of happiness. In your unique situation, you have an independent relationship with your father and an independent relationship with your mother. Please continue to build and nurture those two relationships independent of each other. Having to go to court and witness what may be the bitter give and take between your parents can be very challenging. However, you have to try and control your response to the situation rather than focus on the situation. Please focus on the positives that you have both your parents and that you have and can build conducive and constructive relationships with both even though their relationship with each other may not be ok.

Wife’s weird behaviour

Me and wife have been married for the past 5 years and very happy with each other. Both of us had our own work routines and also share responsibilities at home. Things were very smooth until May this year. My wife lost her job due to downsizing in the company. Since then she is finding a better replacement but to no avail. She seems gloomy and sad and only thing she would be relatively be happy about was going out and shopping. Initially I let go of this behaviour as I wanted her to get better. But lately I have been receiving credit bills with enormous charges, all done by my wife. I am suspecting she is using this method to cope with something deeper, but I am at loss as to how to help her. Please guide.

Ans: Having a job, working and bringing in an income can be very validating for one’s inherent self-worth. The loss of your wife’s job and her unsuccessful efforts to get another job may have dented her self-worth and self-esteem. In an attempt to escape reality, individuals tend to distract themselves by engaging in various activities. The challenge arises when these activities cross the threshold of common sense and reason like overwhelming credit card bills. This itself is a red flag. While she may or may not be using this behaviour to cope with something deeper, you from your side must take responsibility in the situation by beginning to have a conversation with her. Reassure her that this conversation is more about your concern for her. Communication helps one discover those elements that one may not be aware of. Bringing specific behaviour to the other person’s notice helps in jolting the other person out of the behaviour at times. She will hopefully be able to express to you her inner struggles and feelings. Frustrations will be voiced but awareness will begin. Do not be hesitant to lay the concerns on the table and speak to her. As a result of this, if it is identified that the behaviour is a manner in which something deeper is being covered up, please encourage your wife to seek professional help. And reassure her that you are with her all through this journey.

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