Wife pining for childhood sweetheart

All Woman

Dear Counsellor,

I am 28 years old and married, with one son. I was happy with my husband at first, but my love is fading because he is not helping around the house. If I'm sick, he cannot take care of our child. Then there are also issues with my mother-in-law. I am disenchanted with my husband, and I cannot see the good in anything he does. I am constantly plagued with 'what if' questions.

I had a boyfriend once — my childhood love. We lost communication when I went to college, but after I graduated I decided to go back home. Then I heard the news from his cousin that he was getting married. I was really broken up at the time, so I left the area and managed to move on, then I met my future husband. While we were planning our wedding I heard news that my ex's wedding was off, but what could I have done? I was committed already.

The night before my wedding I dreamt about him — he was looking at me with sadness in his eyes.

He will text me occasionally, and he keeps coming up in my dreams and I don't understand why. One day we spoke at length, and he confessed that he still loves me and is always thinking of me.

Do I have to continue in my marriage and suffer? Can you tell me what to do?

It appears that the real problem is not what you presented as the reason the love for your husband is fading, but more to do with the distraction with your ex-boyfriend. You are annoyed with your husband for not helping in the house or taking care of the child if you are sick, but these are not critical issues. In other words, these are matters that can be resolved through dialogue and counselling.

Your challenge is not being able to separate yourself emotionally from your ex-boyfriend, and as they say, memories don't leave like people do. You are obviously in love with the “blast from the past” which is causing you to lose focus. Continued communication will only increase the emotional attachment to your ex and widen the distance between you and your husband.

If you keep thinking about the ifs in your life you will never deal with the reality. To reach a specific destination by transportation you must look through the windscreen and not in the rear-view mirror. Holding on to what life would have been had you been married to the ex is only going to make you more miserable and resentful of your husband. The dreams you are having are associated with the pleasant thoughts you are entertaining in the days, and so you need to occupy yourself with matters of importance regarding your marriage and find ways of addressing the marital issues.

The truth is, some men do offer very little help to their partners in the house and with the child(ren). These are issues that should have been addressed during premarital sessions. Nevertheless, the matter must be resolved now, by discussing sharing the workload between you both.

Before you consider separation, get professional help. For your own good, cease communication with your ex, as he is the true source of your problems. Certainly, he will fill your head with lots of romantic ideas as to what could have been and what could be. Please be very careful. You need to safeguard your heart, care for your son, and invest in your marriage.

All the best.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com or powellw@seekingshalom.org. Check out his work on www.seekingshalom.org and his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.

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