I am a twenty-nine years old married woman with a four years old child. My marriage isn't exactly stable or pleasant. The matters are mostly trivial and result mostly from a clash of interests. I wouldn't say I am entirely innocent in this. The chaos sometimes reaches extreme and my husband physically attacks me. So in a nutshell, I am unhappy with my man.
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My problem is that I have a bad habit of falling for other men platonically. It's so easy to start growing secret crushes. At my age, this teenage activity is a bit too much but I can't seem to control it. These spells usually don’t last more than a few months and then go away.
The reason I am writing to avail your help today is about a predicament that's been haunting me in a sweet way for the past two years. I met a guy – my brother-in-law who is happily married to his childhood sweetheart – when he came from abroad to visit his family. He is an amazing guy who makes the best of his time and is universally liked and loved by all. I haven't been able to get him out of my head ever since his visit.
During these past two years he's never attempted to contact me nor ever beckoned at anything inappropriate. And even while he was here, he had been very respectful and friendly. I know it's nothing but my own thoughts that I can't seem to get a lid on.
Please help me overcome these crushes, albeit platonic, that I keep on developing for other men.
Married Woman with Girly Crushes
Dear Married Woman with Girly Crushes,
I wish you had mentioned since when have you been developing these girly crushes. Is this something that started after you got married or is this something that you have been experiencing long before your marriage? That would have helped me better in answering your query.
I believe one of the main reasons that you develop these crushes is because of your unhappy marriage. As you mentioned, you are unhappy with your man. Therefore, developing crushes on other men allows you to fantasise how your life could have been different and happy if you had been in a relationship with someone else other than your husband. It is human nature that when we dream, we normally dream about events and people that would make us happy. You are doing the same. Because you are unhappy with your husband, you are using your dreams to escape the unhappiness of your relationship by developing feelings for other men.
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To a certain extent, there is nothing wrong in this. We all have our secret crushes despite regardless of our age or relationship status. This is something quite normal and natural. The problem occurs when these crushes are acted upon or take up so much of our time, thoughts, dreams, energy and resources that our normal life and relationships start getting negatively affected.
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I agree with you that at your age – plus the fact that you are married and have a child – this teenage activity of developing crushes on other men is a bit too much. Steps should be taken to try not to develop these secret crushes. For this purpose, I would strongly suggest that you try to improve your relationship with your husband. It might be difficult to do so but hopefully not impossible. Like you said, the matters that lead you and your husband to fight are mostly trivial and result from a clash of interest. Do you believe it’s possible to ignore these trivial matters and not fight over them to develop the sanctity of the relationship and to have peace at home? Doing so would eventually lead to a happier atmosphere at home and hopefully a better relationship between your husband and you.
But in no way this is to say that I condone your husband’s behavior of beating you. That is completely unacceptable. For this purpose, you should have a frank discussion with your husband – at a time when you both are calm and willing to listen to each other – and tell him how him attacking you physically is destroying your relationship with him and thus ruining your marriage. Tell him how it’s usually trivial things that lead to fights and thankfully there is nothing serious (infidelity, substance abuse, etc.) that lead you both to fight. Try to make him understand that together you both can try to overcome reasons that lead to fights. If your husband is a sensible man who wants peace at home and happiness in his marriage then he will be willing to listen to you with an open mind and work with you to have a better relationship.
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Tip: When talking to your husband, make sure you keep the following things in mind:
1) Try to talk to him when you both have time and are not in a rush. It would be better if you could tell your husband that you want to talk to him about something important and you need his full attention and time. Ask him when could be a suitable time for him to manage that.
2) It should be at a time when you both are calm, collected and have the energy to have this discussion. If one is tired or grumpy or in a rush then it’s not a good time to have this discussion.
3) Keep in mind that as you will be initiating this talk, your husband might be apprehensive and defensive. Therefore, you will have to be very patient and calm and not react if he provokes you into a fight.
As for the man – your brother-in-law – whom you fantasise about, no good is going to come of that. Like you said he’s a decent guy who’s in love with his wife and has never shown any interest in you. I suggest that you try to let go off his thoughts – it won’t be easy, you will have to actively work on your thoughts and steer them away from thinking of him – and concentrate your thoughts and energies on making your marriage better and having a more meaningful and loving relationship with your husband. If you find that you can’t do this on your own then I suggest you enlist the help of a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. He/she can work with you to put a lid on your thoughts and hopefully get rid of your girly crushes.
All the best!
Asad is a counsellor, life coach, inspirational speaker and a personal-development expert. He advises on social, personal and emotional issues. You can send him your questions for this weekly column at [email protected] with “Ask Asad” mentioned in the subject line and provide as many details as possible.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Express Tribune.