The Ask Mary Jo questions this week speak loudly of the leftover effects cheating has on Pamela’s ability to trust and marry, the issue of trust and betrayal that leaves Daniel unable to control his jealous feelings, and Lanea’s struggles with wanting validation for her hurt feelings with her in-laws. Learning to let go and understand in all relationships the only one you can change is yourself, and trying to control or insist others change to make you feel better is futile.
Good evening Mary Jo,
I saw you on Fox26 this morning and you gave great advice as always. I’m dragging my feet on getting married due to the past cheating and now secrets being kept by my “fiancée”. Having second thoughts, what advice can you offer?
The most fragile time in a marriage is the first two years because the marriage style is being formed. Since you are getting cold feet now, I would suggest both you and your fiancée’ attend pre-marital counseling. Most licensed psychotherapists and psychologists offer this service. Counseling will help you prepare for marriage and clear up any communication, financial or intimacy issues before marriage. Approximately 30 to 50% of divorces wouldn’t have to happened if couples prepared before marriage. There are issues here…please don’t ignore them.
Dear Mary Jo,
I am recently divorced and have a super girlfriend of 6 months. She is outgoing. I know she’s committed to me, but I get jealous of her giving her time to others (male and female). Unfortunately, I displace it and take it out on her and ruin our nights. It is hard for me to bounce back quickly too. What can I do to stop doing this?
This is quite common and you are wise to deal with it now before you lose your girlfriend. It sounds as though you were betrayed in your marriage, and this has left you feeling insecure and vulnerable. Being jealous or controlling will kill love, so you must work with these feelings to help you trust again. There is a great book called Anger Busting 101 by Newton Hightower, and it is focused on letting go of anger and jealousy. If you can share with your girlfriend why you are afraid to trust her with your heart, this will make your relationship deeper and closer. The more you do to make you feel capable and confident, the less you’ll feel jealous or insecure. After all, when you are the best version of you, then whether or not she leaves you is not about you. Guys who work out, have a job they like and close family and friends feel better about themselves. Putting all of your emotional needs onto one person is overwhelming, Daniel, and that is not healthy for any relationship.
Dear Mary Jo,
I’m having a hard time dealing with the fact that ever since we brought it to my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law’s attention how hateful they can be, they have disowned us. They haven’t taken responsibility for any of the hurt they caused us. I just want to know which way to go with this situation?
It would be nice if family members apologized when they hurt us, but sometimes that doesn’t happen, and there is little you can do. Telling them or reminding them or being angry with them furthers the problem. You are setting up a situation where someone is going to “lose” and someone is going to “win,” and this is never healthy in families. If you already told them what they did, and they do nothing but become more defensive and treat you worse, the only thing you know for sure is they did not agree with you. If I were you, I would let my husband handle it as it is his mother and his sister. If they don’t appreciate you and treat you and/or your children badly, then stay away from them. Some people are toxic, and trying to negotiate with a toxic person is as bad as trying to negotiate with a terrorist. It just doesn’t work.
What may work best (if your husband still communicates with his mother) is if he writes a letter to her. This letter should be written with his own thoughts (not yours…he knows how you feel), and he should be in charge of delivery. Miscommunication does happen and a thoughtful letter written by her son may help heal the tension between all of you.
The questions above are dilemmas many of us find ourselves in. The best advice is to wait with reacting. Forgiving hurtful words once spoken is tough, and thinking before you react prevents a lot of unnecessary suffering.