Ellie Tesher is on vacation. The column below is an archived favourite, personally selected by Ellie:
Best of Series Part 1: January 29, 2016
Dear Ellie: I’m 23, my husband’s 25, he’s my brother’s friend.
He’s nice, kind-hearted, very loving, respectful.
We married when I was 20 and spent two weeks together as newlyweds until something happened.
He went to jail, sentenced to five years. It was nothing violent.
The first year was tough but we still talked on the phone, wrote sentimental letters and tried to keep our relationship going.
If he hadn’t gone to jail, we’d still be very much in love. But I became very lonely and distant, not wanting to talk to him.
My love for him faded dramatically.
I’m working two jobs and going to college majoring, ironically, in law-enforcement.
Should I just get a divorce? I haven’t talked to him about this yet.
I honestly don’t think I can go another two years feeling this way.
When the “something” happened, you still believed in him. Now you want to give up and tell him about it later.
Speak now. Say how lonely you are. Listen when he tells you how it is for him.
Keep up your studies, surround yourself with family and friends, focus on your studies and a future career.
Talk to him about what he’s going to do when he gets out, how he can re-direct his life, further his education, get a job, etc.
You both need a plan that gives you hope.
If this approach doesn’t help you feel more positive, at least you’ll have tried. You’ll still be young, and can look at the chances for your marriage more realistically.
Dear Ellie: When my step-daughter was underage (17) to get a tattoo, she did so anyway against her mother’s and my wishes.
This caused tears for her mother and frustration and anger on my part.
She was told that if she were to get another one, she’d be out of the house.
Several weeks ago, I noticed a new tattoo, driving my anger and frustration further.
She then hid another five tattoos from us.
Most glaring, is one on her chest, her mother’s (my girlfriend’s) name.
We’ve asked her to cover up in the house, I can’t stand to see what she’s done to herself and my feeling snubbed.
I understand she’s expressing herself but I can’t move past the disrespect and repeated offences against me.
Her mother’s equally upset but she’s unwilling to address consequences.
I no longer speak with her, since she doesn’t care what I think, or respect her mother.
Also, she’s a constant liar so I’m finished. I’d like to see her out of the house.
Why should I compromise on my feelings for someone who shows complete disregard and gets away with everything?
Your step-daughter’s been crying out for help and you’ve missed it.
Those tattoos (especially her mother’s name) are visible signs of loss (the family that once was, having her mother to herself).
They test whether you care so little for her she can be thrown out of her home.
Many a step-parent (myself included) has had to learn that children of divorce often seek reassurance of being loved and secure.
You’re responding as an adversary. This is about you, and your own neediness regarding attention, and control.
Her mother needs to assure her that you do care for her but that house rules and respect are important for everyone’s comfort, even hers.
Get over the tattoos and be the step-father she needs. This should NOT be about you.
Regarding the woman with chronic bladder infections, affecting her marital relationship (Dec. 31):
Reader: “I’ve been dealing with a very similar situation and follow this suggestion from a gynaecologist with urological expertise:
“Try taking 500mg of Vitamin C three times daily to prevent urinary tract infections.
“Take extra vitamin C — 1000mg — with lots of water before intercourse.
“This will help keep the urinary environment acidic and discourage growth of the bacteria which cause urinary tract infections.
“I now very rarely have a UTI.
“I didn’t discover this solution until after seeing multiple specialists and taking many different antibiotics for more than 15 years — some of which were strong and left me with lasting side effects.
“Another strategy helpful for my sexual relationship has been to practise “outercourse” – i.e., other means of sexual pleasure aside from intercourse.
“This preserves our intimacy and sexual connection without causing any UTIs.”
Ellie’s tip of the day
Under heavy relationship stress, be open with your partner, so you both get a chance at resolving it.
Send relationship questions to email@example.com.