ASK ANU: ‘I love her. She calls me bro’

In this weekly self-help series, mental health and life coach Anu Krishna tells you how to take control of your life.

Is your relationship causing you stress?

Are you feeling lonely, helpless, indecisive?

You are not alone!

Mind/life coach, NLP trainer and mental health guru Anu Krishna wants you to talk about your problems.

Every week, Anu will answer your queries, address your concerns and offer expert advice on how you can take control of your life.

  • Ask ANU: ‘I feel suicidal. What can I do?’
  • ASK ANU: How do I deal with loss of a loved one?
  • ASK ANU: Are couples fighting more in the lockdown?
  • ASK ANU: Do couples have less sex after marriage?
  • ASK ANU: How NOT To Talk To Your Teen
  • ASK ANU: Stressed by online classes? Seek help!
  • ASK ANU: How to leave a toxic relationship

Dear readers, if you have a question for Anu, please e-mail it to [email protected] (Subject: Ask ANU) for her advice.

Meanwhile, here’s the unedited excerpt from Anu’s latest offline session with readers:

PB: Hi Anu,
Myself Praveen. I appreciate your writings on Rediff. First of all thanks for that.
I would like to ask guidance or your thoughts on establishing a relationship with my lady friend.
I met her 4 years back in my old office and we got in company soon and started talking and somewhat share most of the personal s***s too.
I started having feelings for her. I mean I wish to have a marital relationship with her because I am very comfortable with her. But I was unable to make any move or feared of losing her company if I tell her my love.

That time I never knew her age. Later I moved from that job to pursue some personal goals so I moved to some other place without the knowledge of my own family.
The only person who knew about it was her. She stood with me and emotionally supported me and was knowing that it was my strong wish of having that dream/goal.
We were in touch as nice friends.

Her phone calls were happy moments for me because I was alone at my new place where I’d gone to pursue my dream.
Someday she called me and during call she was upset. That day she shared some of her personal things and during the conversation I realised that she is 8 years older than me and she is at her mid 30s.
Firstly, it was like a shock for me. I wondered why a beautiful girl like she not got into a marriage or any other serious relationship still that age. Okay, that doesn’t matter me.

However, knowing about most of the complexity in this partnership including support from both family or cliche society thoughts; I decided to have her as my life partner. But still I am not able to make a move like that.
Somehow, I had to come back to my homeplace and sorry to say that I failed to pursue my goal which was bit depressing.

Still I couldn’t make a move to talk her about this. I am getting an odd feeling that she treats me as a brother or a nice friend only.
I am confused when she calls me bro.
Some days ago she told me that I am her good brother. Frankly I don’t like her calling me bro. I still love her and I always see her as my life partner.

The thing is I fear that I may lose her company if I express my love for her.
Also I fear that she may emotionally get low if she really considering me as her brother. I don’t want to give her any pain, but meanwhile I couldn’t miss her in my life.

Nowadays, we rarely talk on phone or meet because some of her professional engagements. That is not a problem for me.
I respect her as well as her personal space. Only thing I want is to communicate her about my mind and having a relationship with her.

I know she might also be concerned about our age gap as well as what society may say, but I don’t care such rubbish.
I strongly believe that I can be a great partner.

Share your thoughts on making an approach without giving her any emotional pain or trauma.

Dear PB,

Thank you for your kind words on my writings and columns. Highly appreciate it.

I cannot assure you of the fact of her not having any emotional reactions. Her reactions are not something that you can control.

The easiest way to resolve this confusion that you are going through is to simply express it. It’s similar to how children are.

Have you seen them say things without a filter and unfazed by how the other person will react?

Then along came the adults and asked them to keep quiet and then the child in us grew up to become a recluse and ignore our own feelings.

I agree there is an etiquette and social norms to be followed as adults but to not be able to express our feelings is nothing but conditioning from our childhood.

And what did it teach us? It taught us to avoid the rejection and ensuing disappointment.

That’s exactly what you are running away from; all the rejection that may happen and the disappointment from that.

But what use is that love if you can’t express it for fear of rejection. If you feel so strongly about it, approach it boldly and very gently.

Yes, it may shock her and it’s possible she has no feelings or sees you as a brother, but at least you know where the connection stands.

Now whether she is going to be hurt or not is a question of how emotionally mature she is.

So, before you start the conversation, do request her to hear you fully and not judge you for your honesty. This may ease her shock and help her respond rather than react to you.

On your part, keep your expectations to a low and smile through the situation. It helps lighten the load that you might be carrying.

All the best!

AV: Hi Mam, I would like to remain anonymous.
I’m in a very much stressed stage of my life. I had an arranged marriage in May 2020, I had known the guy only for 3 months.
I had discussed everything before marriage itself. I am an only child and my father is not with us and my mom’s health is not very good.

After marriage everything was fine, but after a few days like a month or so, my sister-in-law started calling my mom and asked for gold ornaments, since we got married during the covid pandemic, the wedding was held in a temple.
They wanted us to get gold in that money which was spent from our side.
We were planning to buy a car so that travelling would be easy for me. I was still working in my old company and my husband had agreed to the same.

When we refused to give them the gold. Communication was completely nil, my sister-in-law nor my mother-in-law spoke to me, just a hi bye.
My husband was ok initially, but then later he started supporting his family and said what they demanded was right.
I got pregnant and I didn’t want to travel during this situation, my in-laws didn’t agree to send me to my mom’s place. They wanted me to quit my job. My sister-in-law who was married had come here and was staying with us. She started interfering in our life, I had to consult the doctor of her choice, quit my job and my husband insisted i listen to them.
We had a huge fight and I came to my house. From that day none of them called or even messaged me.
I even went to the doctor with my mom. Then after 45 days we got to know that the pregnancy was not viable and it had to be aborted.

When i conveyed this message to my husband, he started blaming me saying that I did this on purpose and my sister-in-law started blaming me that i had aborted because it was a girl child. I was shocked that such baseless allegations on me, I couldn’t digest this. They even threatened that they’ll file a police complaint on me and my family. Then they wanted to get me checked with another doctor of their choice. I even went for the check-up. The doctor said that these things are common in first pregnancy and not to worry.
Even after this my sister-in-law was blaming me and my mother told me that we didn’t take proper care. Sister-in-law was present at every doctor’s check-up.
On the final day of check-up, I was in the hospital for 1.5 hours my husband didn’t come. I left thinking he’ll not come. But later he called me and started verbally abusing me and my family saying that he’ll file a police complaint coz we didn’t wait for him at the hospital. I mean I didn’t know how to react to this. He used very vulgar language.
I couldn’t tolerate this. I told him I will not stay with him any longer.
He then again started vulgarly abusing me, calling me and my family names which is not acceptable.
Now I have filed for divorce and domestic violence. He has filed for restitution of conjugal rights and his sister has filed a defamation case on me coz I said that she has deserted her husband which is true.
He’s demanding money which they are claiming to have given for marriage expenses and litigation charges to sign mutual divorce papers. I don’t know the total amount he might ask.
Mam I don’t know what to do. Kindly help me take a decision. Is my decision right to divorce him?

Dear AV,

Clearly a lot has happened and is happening which is rather unpleasant for you. This will disturb your peace of mind.

To ask me if your decision is right to divorce him is not a wise thing to do as the decision is yours to make.

You know your situation and you know what’s at stake and you also know what and how much you can take.

Firstly, hire a lawyer who is adept in dealing with cases of dowry demands and verbal abuse.

The correct step will be to narrate the situation to the lawyer as is and also tell him/her what you want to do and what you can derive financially out of the case if the divorce progresses.

Be prepared with what you want from and out of the divorce as every divorce lawyer will ask you this.

Also going prepared will cut down on the initial lawyer consultation fees. So, hire a good lawyer first.

Make sure that the initial wealth; all movable and immovable property given to you by your parents during the marriage that includes cash as well must be demanded back from your husband and his family.

You have a right over this streedhan. So, if you are filing for divorce, bear this in mind.

Secondly, to help you restore your mental health, I suggest that you actually pen the story of your married life down and each painful memory needs a release from your system.

It’s okay to be angry and spiteful towards the people involved but in the end for your own peace of mind, tell yourself that every story has an end and that instead of playing the victim, you will transform into a person who can take charge of her life and give the story a positive end.

Stop mulling over WHY it happened and move to WHAT CAN I DO NEXT.

Easier said than done? But being a problem space for too long will erode your wellbeing, so it’s wise to seek a solution.

Be brave and do the right thing. Never allow anyone to kill your spirit. All the best!

AK: Hello Mam,
Seeking your advice for below problem, which may be different from the usual ones which you receive.
There is an issue of water leakage in my flat which is coming directly from flat which is above us. The owner of the flat agrees with that also.
The problem is he doesn’t want to get it fixed for now.
Reason being, he is blessed with kid recently and as per him doctor has advised not to let anybody inside house for a month or two.
But now the problem is that because of this our day-to-day life is getting impacted.
Due to constant dripping of water, it’s very difficult to sleep in night. There is danger of slipping also (I have also little kid in the house).
If I put bucket under the same then stored water attracts mosquitoes and flies. The ceiling of flat is also getting damaged. This has been going on since 2 weeks. I tried to explain the same to him as well but no solutions till now.

The problem is in one of the bathroom of above flat and it will not take more than 2-3 hours to get it fixed but how can I persuade him?
I don’t want to get in argument mode for such petty things and have a feeling of guilt. I do understand his problems but people should understand other’s concerns.
So need your advice what should I do? This is creating unnecessary mental problems.

Dear AK,

Most of the conflicts that we face on life arise simply because of our ego that stands as a wall between people.

The simplest way to drop that ego is to drop the assumption that someone is out to get us or someone wants to harm us.

I am glad that you understand your neighbour’s problem and it’s only fair when you ask him to understand yours.

Easiest way is to be kind and invite them home and treat them with respect and genuine compassion.

Love heals, as we all know and a few kind words from you may allow your neighbour to see that him not complying with repair at his end is causing you agony.

Have you tried this? If you haven’t, then let me tell you, it always works.

Going on an offense v/s bringing in goodness. I do not mean to sound goody-goody but do this with a lot of genuineness.

And of course, continue the goodness even after your problem is solved. It is easier being kind than be hostile.

The latter sucks your energy out and kindness helps you think and act better.
All the best!

Anonymous: Hi Anu, plz help
I am 42 years old and married since 9 years. We (husband and I) are childless. It’s nine years since our marriage but we have not been intimate for even 90 times.
My husband has no interest in sex. He had shown interest only in first week of marriage after that He never initiate.
I understand his nature and always try to initiate but he always gives cold shoulder, he never reciprocates warmly, never holds me tightly or kisses willing.
I always have to force’ him or ask him to kiss or hug me. And this turns my mood off. This way we seldom have sex.
I eagerly want it at least once a month and have told him, forced him several times but all in vain. I get frustrated. I feel restless. I can’t share this with anyone.
Whenever I try to get close, he ignores. Both of us respect and love each other. We don’t have extra marital affair. He cares for me too. I feel like running away from this situation but I love him and don’t want to leave him alone. Please respond.

Dear Anonymous,

When there is a challenge with physical intimacy, it could be a physiological or a psychological problem. Either case, it needs some treatment.

But the worse could be conditioning about sex from childhood.

We all carry our maps when it comes to sex and beliefs around it. Along comes so many people and media and more who draw on these maps and we are left at the mercy of things that don’t belong to us.

Since he cares for you as you mentioned it, can you request him to sit down with you for an honest conversation where you can express all of this to him.

Who knows he might be willing to understand, and things can flow from there on.

Be kind instead of accusatory in your tone during the conversation. This will help ease him as well. But of course, if he resists the request, you might suggest that he see a professional.

It might again be met with some resistance but well, you need to try every trick in the book to meet an outcome.

Also, be aware that physical intimacy happens when the closeness develops outside the bedroom. So, spend a lot of time together, laugh a lot.

Praise his efforts in the marriage and appreciate the qualities in him.

Most often men who avoid sex simply suffer from low self-esteem and self-worth. So, play along and mean every compliment from the heart.

Best wishes to you!

A: Hi Mam
I am a 36 year old male married for 6 years and no kids as of now.
Every time my wife quarrels and compares me with other guys, this is making me mad and feel to run away or to end it.
I do almost everything to make her happy. Kindly tell me what to do.

Dear A,

Some people love comparing just to hurt the person.

Now why she wants to hurt you, is something that I don’t have information on. (Your mail is very brief with not much information shared).

If you do almost everything to make her happy as you have mentioned, why would she compare you with other guys?

Obviously, there is something that she feels a lack of. So instead of going mad or running away from it, can you in fact love her and care more for her?

At times, women just need a lot of care and attention, and they respond beautifully to their man.

Maybe she misses that attention from you. If you feel that’s not the case, sit down and talk frankly.

Most of the times, clear and frank communication solves most marital issues. (These are general suggestions as I don’t have much information from you to work on.)

So, communicate more, love more and care for her more.

All the best!

  • Read all of Anu Krishna’s columns here!

Anu Krishna is a mind coach, author and co-founder, Unfear Changemakers LLP. She’s an NLP Trainer (National Federation of Neuro Linguistic Programming, NFNLP, USA), Energy Work Specialist (Institute for Inner Studies, Manila), Executive Member of Indian Association of Adolescent Health (M.I.A.A.H) and Member of Quality Circle Forum of India (QCFI). She has authored the self-coaching book: The Secret of Life – Decoding Happiness.

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