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Maybe jailbird thinks he's doing you a favour

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Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My husband went to jail for several years a while back. I am alone and sexually frustrated but not to the point of abandoning him. My husband is lonely too and complains about missing our wild and wonderful sex life. I got fed up and told him about my frustration a few weeks ago. I blamed it on him for getting into trouble and getting locked up. At our last visit, he said I should find myself another man because more than one year is too long a time to go without "getting it." I'm missing it, but I've stuck by my man, and this is the thanks I get? I don't know what to think. I was happy with my sex toys and dreaming of him coming back. Now I feel like I've been told to hit the road. I started to cry at the jail, and I bawled all the way home. I drove in blinding tears and had to pull over for a while. I felt so rejected and hurt, I stayed home from work for two days. For most people this would have been a liberating thing to hear, but to me, it was a horrible rejection after all my patience and understanding. What do you think? -- Rejected Lover, Downtown

Dear Rejected: Your husband was making a decision that was yours to make. He probably thought he was doing you a favour and he was also angry about what you said a few weeks ago. A guy in jail is in a position to reject, as well. A lot of people think an incarcerated person is in no position to say goodbye, no matter what they say. But remember, people in jail have a lot of time to stew, and he probably thought about your complaint after you had long gotten past it and felt better. Or, he worked past that spat and decided he truly thought it would be best for you to be free. Then you'd have a life while he serves time, and he wouldn't have to feel guilty for depriving you of one. Next time you go, try to talk it all out. Remember there are lines in a marriage you can't cross and then get back over, so you must be careful what you say when you hit hard times. You or he may find, even after the talking, a line has been crossed and you don't feel quite the same, but that doesn't mean you necessarily want to end it, at least not right now. Don't let him be a martyr. Just keep visiting and showing your love and see what happens, if that's what you want.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I enjoy reading your column and generally agree with your advice, but I believe you missed the boat in your reply to Feeling Guilty, East Kildonan. I agree with your comment people may find themselves attracted to others even in a good marriage and how you fight this is of critical importance. However, as a Christian myself, I disagree with your advice to keep quiet. I think in a situation like this, it is better to be honest and admit there is an attraction but also strongly affirm to your spouse that you value your marriage and want to avoid temptation. A little honesty can go a long way toward avoiding miscommunication, half-truths and unspoken feelings that can build a wall of mistrust in a relationship. As well, if both spouses share a bond of faith, praying together about avoiding temptation can be a means to strengthen their relationship. If Guilty is unable or unwilling to discuss this situation with his spouse, he could also look to his church for support; he should seek a group of men who could provide encouragement and help hold him accountable, or seek counsel from a pastor or other trusted adviser. The "dodge" you suggest may or may not be effective in taming this lusty situation. -- Hopeful for Marriages.

Dear Hopeful: Your message is sweet and idealistic, but it could cause a lot of pain and backfire for the innocent person. "Pray for me so I can get over lusting after someone else instead of you" is a loaded communication that puts the burden on the bested spouse. If a man or woman confesses they find a new person sexy and tempting, the reaction is likely to be a mixture of negative emotions. The pain in the gut could be any combination of hurt, jealousy, pain, anger, insecurity, doubt and lack of trust. It may be easier to extinguish the guilt for the person whose thoughts are straying to someone else, but how does the other person now feel? Why should they feel like chopped liver? Whose problem is it? The one who's looking at another. Counselling makes sense, but not throwing the hurtfulness of that burden on your mate.

Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6 or email lovecoach@hotmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 23, 2011 A15

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