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Heart To Heart

Monday, April 17, 2017

Valid Concern
I am a 24-year old Muslim woman, married to a 26-year old IT professional from the same community. My 48-year old widowed mother-in-law stays with us. She is still very beautiful and appears to be much younger than her age. My father-in-law died in 1986. However, my problem is that my mother-in-law, who lost a few fingers of her right hand in an accident and therefore has a weak grip, makes my husband shave her underarms and private parts, as shaving is mandatory in Islam. Can’t she do it with her left hand? I am afraid that since she is still attractive and starved of a physical relationship, the two can end up having sex. Please advice how to deal with the situation?

Clearly and constructively express your discomfort and concern about the same to your husband, without being accusatory in your expression while mentioning your mother-in-law. Tell him that while it is most likely that your fears may never come true, and that neither of them might view the shaving as anything but a matter of convenience, the fact that sexual urges are powerful and can force all discernment out of the conscious mind, cannot be undermined.

Give him the suggestion of either you taking over the same task as the daughter-in-law, or then if you are uncomfortable with it, a lady can be employed to do the same under your supervision. Sharing your concerns in a non-accusatory way and giving specific and workable suggestions as alternatives, which are win-win, could solve this matter.

How Can I stay in this marriage?
I am a 28-year-old married woman and seven months pregnant. Ours was an arranged marriage. My husband works abroad and comes down four times a year for a couple of weeks. Two weeks back he confessed to having an affair with a woman who stays in the same country where he works and that she is also pregnant with his child. Needless to say I was shattered and more so when he said she was going to keep the child although the ended the affair a few days back. However, the thought that my partner cheated on me and will have another child growing up somewhere is causing me much grief. I don't know if I should leave my husband or not.

Whether you should leave your husband or not has to be your choice, because it is your life, and it is only you who can decide what course of action will give you ‘relatively’ more happiness. Do note that I have used the word ‘relatively’, which recognizes and acknowledges that no decision of yours is going to result in an ideal outcome, and there are no perfect solutions to life’s problems, in spite of what an immature mind wants to believe. Sometimes the choice is between an unpleasant, a more unpleasant or a less unpleasant choice, with the word ‘unpleasant’ remaining common. Therefore, weigh the pros and cons of your various options carefully and meticulously, and think of the short-term and long-term possible consequences before arriving at any decision, as all decisions have far-reaching consequences. I would also recommend that you insist that you and your husband engage in marriage counseling to evaluate the ‘real’ status of your relationship with each other, and also to help clarify fully, what provoked the beginning and the ending of the affair. Also, it is important to assess whether he plans to involve himself in the raising of the child with the other woman through finances or in other ways. After amassing all this data, you will be in a better position to do the pros and cons analysis, which will form the basis of your decision, which you will then live with. Remember, with every choice you are also choosing the consequences of that choice.

Expression of feelings is not a crime
My name is Alka. I am 24 yrs old. In my 24 yrs of life, I never had love nor proposed to anyone. Last year, I completed my postgraduation and currently i am working in an reputed organisation. But, suddenly I got attracted to one particular guy who is also working in the same organisation. For the past two years, he is also working in the same organisation and he is my service lead and team leader. But, I am newly joined. We used to have chat only officially. Always I used to ping him through messenger or call him through phone and clarify official doubts with him. Not even once he called or ping me. Since I liked him, I proposed my feeling to him on February 14 on phone. When I proposed to him , he was in Chennai on deputation. But, He rejected my love very politely saying that he is already engaged with someone. Now, my problem is, I am not at all worried about the denial of my love. But, we are working in the same project and I am worried whether he will tell this to my office colleagues which will create very bad impression towards me. When I come to office now, I have a feeling that my colleagues are looking at me strangely. Now, I have a feeling why I proposed to a guy who is also senior and working in same orgnisation. I feel so guilty and work with him now. How can I come out of this feeling? Can u please Suggest or provide a solution to me through this mail?

Valentine’s Day is meant for expressing one’s feelings, which are sometimes reciprocated and sometimes not. Exploring relationships is not a crime.
You were right in proposing to him on Valentine’s Day, as if you had not done so, you would have never known whether he reciprocated your feelings. Now that you know he is engaged, you are free to move on and explore other relationships.

As far as your anxiety about your colleagues knowing about this issue is concerned, there is absolutely nothing to fear. You have done nothing wrong in boldly and honestly expressing your feelings and there is no reason for guilt. Remember that being pro-active is not an offence. You are a woman of the 21st century, and today honest expression of feelings is not frowned upon but instead viewed with respect. Moreover, you have been graceful and dignified in receiving the news of his engagement elsewhere. You have in fact shown rare courage, and should in fact feel proud of yourself for handling the issue so well.

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I am a 24-year old Muslim woman, married to a 26-
Dr. Rajan B. Bhonsle, M.D. (Bom)
Consulting Sex Therapist & Counsellor
Dr. (Mrs.) Minnu R. Bhonsle, Ph.D.
Consulting Psychotherapist & Counsellor
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