Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hijacked Advice

The first in a regular series where we'll field questions sent to other sex and relationship columnists and give you a real answer. These questions were originally answered by Karen Karbo, and wow is she overpaid.

Recently when my husband asked for my help on a project with his e-mail, I found graphic pictures he'd sent of himself to another woman. We're seeing a counselor, and I just want to be back in the healthy relationship I know we can have. Since it wasn't a physical affair and even he doesn't understand why he did this, I'm willing to forgive him.

I strongly believe that we can work through this, and he feels a tremendous amount of remorse and swears nothing like this will ever happen again. But now I face the challenge of moving on and trusting that it won't. Can you give any advice on how to deal with our situation?
L.H., 31, Salt Lake City

Galahad Says: I don't doubt that you can work through this, if you believe, it will happen. Though I have to wonder -- you went to a counseling after one incident of finding graphic pictures he sent to another woman. You say this isn't a physical relationship, so is she really a threat to your marriage? I have a hard time believing that this would be the only problem you face for it to warrant counseling. Have you considered this may have been symptomatic of some of those other issues that drove you to counseling?
I think your first step in getting to a healthy relationship would be addressing why this one act is so threatening. In the grand scheme, are a couple 'naughty' photographs all that damaging? Try asking your husband what he got out of the correspondence. If your commitment to each other is so total, then you should be the one exchanging racy photographs with him. In a totally monogamous marriage, your husband's sexual needs are entirely your responsibility. Just as yours are his. That's what you signed on for. If you aren't willing to step up and do what needs to be done, maybe letting him have a little friendly flirting on the side will help keep him and your marriage healthy.

I've been married for 27 years. I love my husband very much, but I can't seem to get past something that happened. The other night while we were in the middle of making love, he called me by another name. Needless to say, that ended the lovemaking for the night. He has apologized over and over for doing it. He seems to be sincere, but I still can't get it out of my head. I don't think he's having an affair, but one never knows. Am I being too sensitive? What can I do to get over this? --J.S., 48, Detroit

Galahad Says: In 27 years you've never fantasized about someone other than your husband? Puh-leeze. Unless he called you "Mom" or "Gramma Hazel" or your daughter's name, or maybe "Bob" you're overreacting. Try pretending you're not a vapid teenager and grow up. If he did call you "Bob" that'd not be the least of your worries. Try exploring the reason for his bi-curious fantasy, could be fun for everyone.

My husband drives a school bus. A female student who's a junior in high school sent text messages to him on Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day, and called him on his cell phone to wish him a Merry Christmas. What should I do? Is this appropriate? —M.S., 40, Cincinnati

Galahad Says: I remember sending Christmas cards to my teachers, giving a bag of sugar cookies to the bus driver on the holidays, chatting to the mailman who was the father of one of my classmates. The electronic age may change things some, but being neighborly isn't cause for alarm. You should do nothing. Your husband might want to tell the girl to stop calling and texting, or at least he shouldn't answer her calls. Obviously this upsets you greatly that your husband is getting these calls, and it would be a respectful act to ignore the attention. We're talking about a teenaged girl. If this is really all your worst nightmares are telling you, then she'll soon lose interest and crush on someone else.

I've been married for 14 years to a good man. Recently our son joined a sports team and we've become friends with some of the parents — we go to dinner, play cards, etc. The problem is, one of the husbands never attends because socializing is not his thing. When we all get together, my husband always sits with this man's wife and even tickles her, walks her to her car, and asks her to call to let him know she made it home safe. I've confronted my husband about this, and he says I'm just starting trouble. Is he trying to make me jealous? What's going on here? Please help! —M.H., 34, Cincinnati

Galahad Says: My old boss used to remind me to never expect malice when ignorance is more likely. That being said, he's probably not trying to hurt you, he's probably trying to help this lady feel more comfortable, wanted, and connected within the circle of friends. If it was not him, its likely that someone else (or maybe even you) might be flirty friendly towards another person in this lady's position. If its really bothering you, talk to your husband about it. Explain why it bothers you, and see if you can get him to agree to tone it down in your presence. It may be that your husband is just the flirty type. Some men are, most women are. Nature of human beings. Innocent flirting is a lost art. It makes people feel good even if, or even especially if, it leads no where.
Maybe you might want to try flirting with him when you're in public. Then again, you have liberty to go beyond 'friendly' with flirting with your husband.

Divorce rates are at 50+% in the United States. With the answers these questions initially garnered, I am not surprised.

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