|Heart TO Heart
For relationship advice and more, talk to your super-smart Sis.
Q: My husband has been spending a lot of time at work. He doesn't even fight or talk to me much. Has he fallen out of love? Is that even possible? Nida, Karachi
A: Sometimes work pressures get incredibly stressful for men and they don't want to share it for fear of sounding weak. If your questioning and screaming at him hasn't yielded results, then just sit him down and gently say, I'd really like this marriage to have the spark it had before, can we work at it together? Alternately, if your antenna is signalling 'affair', it's fine to play super sleuth and call at the office number post normal hours or keep a watch on his credit card spending and phone bills to reassure yourself that all is well on that front.
Q: I'm 27 and have been in love with a guy for nine years. We've been together since our school days and are very much in love. The trouble is my parents are against getting us married, as he belongs to another sect. They told me that if I wanted to marry this guy, I'd have to leave my home and them. I can't leave them, neither can I leave my love. How can I get both the things I want? Batool, Karachi
A: This is just so filmy. They are against you spending your life with a man whom you've been with for over a decade and are still deeply in love with just because he was born into another sect? As parents, your happiness and stability should be paramount for them, not what a few nosy, gossipy relatives may say about the match. It's 2012 and you're an educated 27-year-old. Tell them you love them and would hate to defy them, but sectarian differences aside, they didn't raise you to live your life in a loveless, compromised manner. If rationalising and persistent positive talks don't work, just get a job, become independent. Things would sort out automatically.
Q: I recently met a guy whose ex had cheated on him with my former boyfriend who I was seeing at that time. Now this guy and I are attracted to each other. There's nothing stopping us from being together. But I know that somewhere deep inside, I want to be with him because it's a twisted kind of revenge. And that's not what a relationship should be based on. How do you think I should take this forward? Anum Haq, Lahore
A: There are rebound relationships, sorbet relationships (palate cleansers before two main courses) and now revenge relationships! This may be 'sweet' revenge, but what you consider a balm can also be self-flagellation. You've been hurt before, so be good to yourself now. Don't venture into murky, tricky waters. He may be in a similar vindictive headspace. Stay clean, stay clear, stay friends. If he is someone you could be serious about, let it develop. There's no need to jump into the deep end.
Q: We've been friends for three years now, but the trouble is we're both married. We don't have a relationship going on, but I feel I am cheating on my husband and that he is cheating on his wife. We share a lot about each other with each other. However, I think it isn't allowed in our society to be friends with another woman's husband. We can't avoid each other. He knows me better than I do. What should I do? I am confused. Farah
A: The fact that you feel this friendship is illicit and questionable creates a recipe for disaster. I have many male friends, both married and unmarried, and it's pure and open. Nothing to hide or tiptoe about, and their wives and girlfriends get along very well with me. However, if you feel it is cheating, and is not acceptable to your husband, then you have no choice but to temper the friendship to an acceptable level and adhere to the moral boundaries you feel are respectful to your marriage. Keep it simple and guilt-free.