|Heart TO Heart
For relationship advice and more, talk to your super-smart Sis.
Q: I am 21 and unmarried. I have a twin sister who is, unfortunately, mentally challenged. Though I went to school and college while my sister stayed at home, my parents have always taken it for granted that, once I came home, I would take over caring for my sister. As a result, I made no friends and did not go out either to play or for any activity. I very much wanted to learn music, but my parents never let me because my sister could not go. Now, I have finished my post-graduation and want to work, but when I told my parents this, they accused me of being selfish because I did not want to spend my time looking after my sister. I have two elder brothers who are not expected to do anything for her, but I am expected to give up everything even, I suspect, marriage and look after her. My family is rich and I will never lack for anything, but will never I have a life of my own? Please don't think that I do not love my sister. I do, but do I have to be totally responsible for her all my life? Izza, Karachi
A: Parents with children who are challenged in any way, worry about what will I happen to these children after they are gone. I expect your parents do too and, because you and your sister are twins, they seem to have decided that you and she are practically one and that you should spend all your time together. This is unreasonable of them and, however worried they are, they should certainly not expect you to give up your life for her. Even more unreasonable is that they do not expect their sons to do anything for her or to take responsibility for her. You should be firm and take up a job. You have not mentioned how seriously challenged your sister is or whether she has a care-giver other than you. Since your family is well-off, a care-giver should be employed for her if she doesn't already have one, though you should continue to spend time with her. You should also discuss long-term plans for her and yourself with the family.
Q: All my relationships with men ended when I found out they've been with other women. Not only was my husband seeing my neighbour, he was also having an affair with the cleaner. I left him, but I was still in love with him. Now I've met a man I love very much and he's asked me to marry him, but I am sure he's seeing other women. I'm scared to investigate, and I don't want to lose him. Does that make me a doormat? Fareeda, Karachi
A: If it is a reality that he's seeing other women, then he's no different from the husband you left. But if it's just paranoia that he's seeing other women, then I suggest you undergo therapy to get rid of the trauma of your past. Also, I'd like to add, that we only manifest what we keep telling ourselves. If you believe your man or all men will cheat, you may in all probability only attract such louts. Believe life, relationships and men to be honest, clean, loyal and loving as a mantra. Send out the right signals and attract the right people.
Q: I'm 25, attractive, smart, independent and quite sociable, but I've never had a boyfriend. I often meet new people, boys like me, who flirt with me, but I find it really hard to be attracted to them. I have fallen in love only twice once as a teenager and once last year. Both times I let myself go completely and it felt right, even though things started going wrong almost immediately. I feel emotionally frustrated and my self-esteem is always precarious. I desperately need to give and share like everyone else, but I'm just too difficult. I know I need to do something about it, but I don't know where to start. Should I just keep waiting for the right guy as some friends suggest, or is it time I seek psychological help? Nadia Rehman, Karachi
A: You have already decided that you are difficult, not attracted to people and given that your two attempts at love have failed, you're already in pessimist mode. Not a good space at all! What you need to do is decide if you want a relationship. If so, then be prepared to bend, adjust, care, share and be loving, as it's a two way street. Be the best that you can be. If you have a problem, there's no point simply stating it. Fix it!