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!
As part of an initiative to help Rediff readers, 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!
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:
MS: Hi Anu, I am a married 32 year old woman, a central govt employee with a 4 year old son.
Last year my husband left for some work for 8 to 9 months. He became very busy.
He doesn’t give me time at all, very dry, never shows love, goes out with me only after a lot of insistence. He’s always busy with phone and work. But we were happy. I adjusted with everything. But after we left, I started feeling very lonely.
I signed up for an extra marital app and started chatting with a man from the same city.
After chatting for 6 months, we decided to meet. He is married, and has a 12 year old daughter.
I feel happy in his company. He is caring and pampers me. Even after my husband was back we met.
We meet once a week after our office hours. We get physically intimate once in two to three months.
We do not disturb each other during family time. We talk to each every day for 10 to 15 minutes.
Many a times I felt like I was cheating my husband and decided to move on. But I am not able to get over his love and care.
I will be transferred to another city in 2 to 3 months. So we decided to have a baby and be in touch always.
Pls guide me if am right or wrong.
Need your advice. I can’t share it with anyone.
You did know the perils of an extra marital app and knew what you were getting into.
You have two ways of looking at your situation.
1. If you choose to continue, you are constantly going to have to juggle between your marriage and this relationship
2. If you choose to be exclusive into your marriage, then you are going to possibly be with a man who is who he is
Now, which side of the fence feels more comfortable to you, is something that you need to assess. Also, external validation is something all of us fall prey to sometime or the other in our lifetime.
- What is lacking in my marriage that is forcing me to step out and explore?
- Have I tried to communicate my needs to my husband?
- Are there things that I could have done differently to have a better relationship with my husband?
This might give you a chance to understand where you are and what you can do to give your marriage a fair chance if that is what you wish to do.
Whatever you choose, do remember basing your happiness on an external source will always be short lived and all it gives you is heartache.
Be wise, choose wisely and maybe it’s time to laugh a lot, take a step back, breathe and look at what IS in a different way.
If you still waver, do know that whatever is going on also has an impact on your son. So, steady yourself first, do a reality check and then choose.
Be well and happy!
Riya: Hey Anu, I am a 27 year old girl, employed. I was in a relationship with a man who was very caring and lovable but he was not earning well.
I used to help him financially. He used to say we will marry, have a family and all that.
I was thrilled by his commitment and made me more desperate. His bhabhi had filed a case against his family which he says is completely false and I do believe that he is right. That is not the problem.
After the case he has become too negative. He says I’m not thinking about marriage; let’s be practical and work on our relationship (when he was under jail, we used to have a lot of fights and I blamed him several times. I don’t know if I should have done that or not. I used to tell him you used me according to your needs)
My question is should I support him and be with him or just leave everything as I don’t find a connection between us?
If I say let’s end it, he puts all the emotional baggage on me. Help me out
And what exactly more do you want as evidence for you to value yourself much more?
His being in jail wasn’t enough? Whether he was falsely accused or not is something that you will never know.
Yet, you want to look the other way and give him the benefit of doubt on a man who hasn’t managed to stand on his own feet.
The fact that you feel used is perhaps stemming from your inner voice and you are just protecting yourself.
If you support him, you are always going to wonder whether him going to jail was under a false accusation or not.
So, think if you want to spend time with someone who is dependent on you emotionally and financially and someone who possibly has a hidden past.
Be happy and wise!
SM: I am in a relationship for one year now.
When we were dating, I cleared to my bf that I could only come in this relationship if we get married socially or legally by the next year.
We both agreed to get married legally now. Before he was very happy with this marriage, but now as his parents are not ready, he is becoming secretive with this marriage.
He is telling me that he won’t tell it to anyone that he is going to get engaged now.
He is also telling me that if anyone asks he would deny not for the fact that he wants to hook up. But due to that insecurity if I turn out to be a cheater or if I fly away how will he live in the society?
I asked him that this could also happen after we get married socially then are you going to keep the marriage private then also?
He said No, I will take that risk then but not now.
We are in a long-distance relationship. I don’t know what to do. If he has a girlfriend and he says he is single isn’t that cheating too?
Not enough alarm bells ringing for you? He has the courage to ‘date’ you, talk marriage to you and bam…suddenly now the parents are not fine, and he backs off?
Wants to be in a ‘secret’ relationship with you and then carry on like nothing ever happened? Oh, and he thinks you will cheat and fly away?
Nice way to play the victim and gain sympathy from you, so that you give in to his ideas of hiding this relationship and he gets what he wants.
You know what you need to do?
All the best!
SS: Hi Anu, I am 36 year old woman. I am married for 9 years with two kids.
My marriage was never a happy one. We had lots of arguments and fights even before marriage.
I broke my engagement but later he convinced me that he will always keep me happy but it turned out to be an abusive marriage.
He started beating me every now and then after my son was born. I also filed police complaint thrice. After which he improved a lot may be because of fear and shame. Meanwhile I also cracked government exam and got a very good job.
Things were okay but after my daughter’s birth last year his behaviour changed. He is not interested in physical relationship any more.
He says that after our daughter’s birth he’s started to respect women. I tried to talk to him many times but all in vain.
I don’t know what to do now. I don’t want to leave him for the sake of children.
Now I want to live my life happily with my children and let him do whatever he wants.
I don’t know if I am right or wrong.
He takes money from me whenever required but never spends money on my personal needs.
Sometimes I feel he is with me only for money and doesn’t love me.
I am confused. Help.
PS: He is taking good care of children and household.
It is hard to walk out of an abusive relationship and when children are involved, you want to stretch it on longer.
But have you considered how this has already affected their minds?
Children from violent and abusive backgrounds do not grow up steady and face a lot of challenges later in life.
Now, coming back to you…Hasn’t it hurt your ego and pulled down your self-esteem? I am sure it already has hurt you beyond and more.
Usually, I never ever tell people what to do, but make my suggestions and share perspectives so that the mind has clarity to decide what’s best for them in their context.
But here, I am telling you this and listen hard…Physical abuse is a NO NO.
If what you say that his behaviour has changed, then I believe that he isn’t physically abusive anymore.
I do understand you are giving him the long rope for the sake of the children, but when the parents are unhappy, what environment will the children grow in?
Ask your family to step in as you are going to need their care and support hereon.
Take one day at a time and evaluate on a daily basis what his presence in your life is doing to you.
Is it draining you and keeping you on the edge or is it getting better with him improving?
This will clearly indicate what you need to be doing as the next step.
Just remember to value yourself every moment and make yourself your own priority first.
All the best!
GP: Hi Anu, I have been going through your column on rediff for some time and I feel you will be able to help me out.
I want your advice on my relationship with my girlfriend.
We have been in the relationship for 3 years now. I love her a lot and see a future with her. But there are some issues.
I think she has some mental health issues. I could never judge in what mood she is in.
I look forward everyday to the time we talk or spend together but most often after the meet/ talk I feel low.
She almost never misses to find mistakes in everything I do and she blames it on my immaturity since she is 3.5 years elder to me (I am 29).
Very rarely I do find out eventually that her judgment was right but most often I feel in all sense she is irrational and I think I am correct.
This has taken an emotional toll on me. Now I do not feel like sharing thoughts and things with her because of the fights and emotional toll that I would have to face. I love her a lot and it seems like she too does but might be, I am wrong.
I tried breaking up with her thrice. But every time because of some or other urgency or work-related stuff when we reconnect we fall back deeply in love.
We are in same field but different organization.
I was earlier in the same organisation but she left as she got a better offer.
It makes sense to me but sometimes I do feel she could have stayed in same organization).
She has been asking me to marry her, but all these things stated above makes me nervous what might be in future if I do marry her.
As I take time to think it out she puts it as if I never wanted to marry her. I seek your advice.
A healthy relationship is one where both individuals help each other grow and thrive.
Pointing out the other’s inadequacies can be detrimental to their emotional health.
You keep walking on egg shells around her and have started to keep things away from her for fear of her rebuke and complaints.
How is this healthy when you can’t share your thoughts with your partner? This will become a habit and not a very good one for sure.
Also, age does not define whether one can boss around or not.
She certainly maybe right in most cases, but there is a way to convey the same thing to you.
Love and calmness in communication can actually transform everything and everyone provided the intent is there.
Marriage under these circumstances can be stressful for you.
So I do suggest that the two of you have an honest talk and when she knows how you feel and how keeping things away from her has become your coping mechanism, I do feel she might be able to see the situation in a new light.
Also, things that you might have misinterpreted about her may also surface.
So, please have that necessary talk without wasting anymore time. It will give you good perspectives to work from.
All the best!
SB: Hi Anu, 10+yrs of marriage with 9yr child. I am working and all financial burden is on me.
I shifted separately from in-laws’ house due to financial constraints and expectations.
Though elder-in-law, my in-laws didn’t try to stop our decision to move separately despite knowing that my hubby doesn’t earn a single penny.
They expected and I had to share financial expenses with my marginal income 10 years ago.
After 5 years, we moved nearby and purchased our own house very little help from in-laws. I took loan and managed the rest with help from my family and friends.
In between a lot happened. My father-in-law expired and my mother-in-law is a cancer patient.
My mother-in-law started expecting from my hubby and me, probably because her younger son shifted with her family.
She didn’t want to live with them due to differences with her wife.
She complained to my husband that we are not good enough to take care of her.
I already had a lot of burden from office so I told my husband to take care of our child as well for sometime.
He was quite depressed and frustrated with his inability to earn. Already lot of my hard-earned money has been put in his work n wasted.
Now, the real problem during these difficult times began when we started fighting. I had lot of office stress and after mother in law complained, she shifted with her other son. At times, I got frustrated with my child also due to the whole mess, financial burden.
I felt like all my hard earned money was wasted due to office stress and my hubby’s irresponsible behaviour. He did not even take care of my child’s studies.
He started watching porn… I saw him twice and even warned him. My husband started cheating on me with our maid.
He did it when he was stressed because I was not able to give him time. I confronted him and since then it has been an emotional trauma. I am yet to accept it. 9 months have been passed.
We decided on certain things but I couldn’t accept it..
Due to our emotional bond, I gave him another chance… During that time he accepted and was ready to leave everything and wanted me to be happy.
He said he committed a big mistake but recently I found he called that b**ch later.
When I confronted him he said he’d advised not to come home in front of his family members.
I decided it would be best for him to move out and work from another place. My MIL was living with me but then I felt it too much at times.. now somewhat even my child has emotionally detached from him. It’s the same with him as we’ve been staying separately from 7 months. He visited 3 times during puja and other needs.
I feel emotionally detached and I can’t digest the family situation.
Sometimes I feel it’s difficult to find the courage to avoid all and live alone.
What’s the point in living in a marriage for sake of it without having any emotional, physical, financial dependency or security?
I am 39 and earn a decent salary at this moment. But I am not sure of my future as I work in a private firm.
I am worried about my child’s education, old age, financial insecurity and burden.
I haven’t been able to save much because of our financial liabilities and husband’s investments in businesses that never materialised.
Before this incident, my husband supported me in my career and also to bring up our child. But what happened is too much and unexpected.
You have simply allowed people to feed off your emotions, money and time. You want to continue being nice and do this?
See what you have asked me: What’s the point in living in a marriage for sake of it without having any emotional, physical, financial dependency or security?
Haven’t you answered yourself already?
Do you want to carry a baggage on your shoulders that clearly isn’t lightening your burden in anyway?
Drop down your financial commitments and plan as to how you will support yourself and your child with your income.
Also, imagine going through life without your husband and if this feels like stress is leaving you, you know how you can live from hereon.
Sometimes, you need to take hard calls and you deserve to live free and happy only if you choose that.
Be well and happy!
- Read all of Anu Krishna’s columns here!
Anu Krishna is a mind coach, author and co-founder, Unfear Changemakers LLP and Soulful Exploration 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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