Dear Ellie: I married the girl of my dreams and my first love 48 years ago. I was 21, she was 22. On our wedding night I became suspicious because she displayed a confident knowledge of what we were doing.
She attributed that to her nursing education. I believed her. Four children and 12 years into our marriage, she suffered an emotional breakdown. After counselling came the admission: She’d lied about her virginity and her experience with other men, before and during our courtship.
I was devastated, feeling trapped in our marriage by the loving children we’d made. She’d been faithful ever since, but she’d lied to me for 12 years. She later explained that she’d known if she’d told me the truth, I’d dump her.
I forgave her for her lying, but never got over feeling cheated. It took me several years to kiss her again and even longer to make love to her. Our intimacy was never the same. The feeling of being cheated by my best friend and lover will follow me to my grave.
My advice: Always be 100% honest with issues of past lovers. Lies can be devastating. It’s been a different love and a different marriage ever since.
Still In Love
Life is too short to nurse a grievance endlessly.
Loving someone means rising to the task of forgiving them, too. Four children and a wife who suffered an emotional breakdown for her long-ago deception have been the foundation of your family life. The past became irrelevant years ago. These are your senior years now — live and love to the fullest.
Dear Ellie: My daughter, 27, was diagnosed with ADHD while in elementary school, and is still on medication. However, she’s still quick to anger, and often hurls abuse at my wife and me. She always reacts by swearing and storming around. We need a solution.
We understand that she needs to take ownership of her behaviour. She saw a counsellor herself, but she didn’t feel that she was making progress. I know that she has to want to get better.
Also, she has an abusive boyfriend. She’s not innocent in this situation, but he demeans her, driving her into a frenzy. She goes back to him because she “doesn’t want to be alone.”
How can we help her care for herself enough to treat others appropriately?
There are counsellors/psychotherapists and other mental health specialists who treat people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Cognitive behavioural therapy, is also offered as a mental health treatment.
Your daughter’s physician may be able to refer her to someone appropriate for her age and goals.
ADHD is considered a group of behavioural symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. It’s one among different “neurodiverse” conditions including dyspraxia, dyslexia and Autism including Asperger’s.
As she and you have painfully learned, it’s not a simple condition to handle or adjust. Of key importance is your daughter’s desire to make changes for her own sake.
An “abusive boyfriend” is the worst possible partner for her. She urgently needs the guidance of a mental health specialist who helps her recognize her own value as a person.
Your support is important but should be in the background now. With options in ADHD approaches, she can sort through them on her own. This is her adult battle to confront.
Dear Ellie: My sister-in-law has always maintained a very jealous reaction to me.
When my son (only child) started visiting her cottage a decade ago, I believe she lied and poisoned his feelings toward me. She has a history of lying and false reports. My son was previously kind, respectful and solicitous toward me.
When he returned home after studying overseas, he was critical, disrespectful, negative and difficult toward me.
Can I talk to him about his changed attitude/behaviour? Can I imply what I know about my sister-in-law? How do I “un-poison” his attitude? He’s 35.
Please help me get my son back.
Lost My Child
Open the door to a conversation between just you two, without reference to your sister-in-law. Say you love and are proud of him and wish to repair your relationship. Ask him to consider doing the same. Assure that he doesn’t have to answer immediately.
If nothing changes, try again, offering what you feel you can do towards repairing the relationship. He’ll eventually respond, whether positively or otherwise.
Ellie’s tip of the day
The present and future are what matters most in a continuing relationship, especially when love has persisted throughout.
Send relationship questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.