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Can I save my marriage from my past love life?

Q: I am a 32 years old male. I am always attracted towards women and would like to have a physical relation as well as love relation with them. But I am very shy due to which I could never confess my feelings to any girl. Fifteen years back I met a girl whom I liked a lot and we had a relationship that lasted for 4 years. But we belonged to different castes and due to my inability to take any decision, she got married to another person. Since then I feel that love has no meaning. I got married two years back and I have one child also. But still I am not able to forget her. I always think that I did something terribly wrong by having a relationship with her. I am very guilty about the whole thing. I have not approached her since then but she approached me sometime back and is in regular touch with me on the phone. How should I overcome this problem? I thought I will forget all this after my marriage but she is still in my thoughts. I don't know what to do. I am facing depression problem and I am not positive towards my life.

A:The problem you have shared is understandable at many levels, specially in terms of the difficulty in adjustment in marriage owing to earlier relationships. I should like to share with you that the kind of problem you are going through is fairly common in one or the other manner. Relationships with persons of the other gender before one's marriage are quite common and do affect the subjective feelings as well as the adjustment in partners. At the same time, it is also possible that one may feel unduly troubled about such issues during ones periods of depression. In view of your report of feeling depressed, it is important to clarify that your problem be seen and assessed in two parts. The first part is to assess if you do have clinically significant depression, and if you do, get the appropriate treatment for the same. The treatment may consist of medicines and/or counseling. This should be done by a psychiatrist and you need to seek a consultation soon enough. The second part is of assessing and understanding, more importantly helping you to understand the extent and the manner of the influence of the earlier relationship on your marital adjustment. This will have to include some sessions with you and your wife, and can be helped by counselling or psychotherapy. This may be done by a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist or a counsellor. It seems to me that this part can wait till the depression has been treated to some extent. The possibility of the two parts being linked and interdependent does remain and it can be explored if the two parts can be handled by the same clinician or a multidisciplinary mental health team. I am sure that your problem can be and will be effectively helped, specially along with your own effort in the right direction. Make sure that you get the correct professional advice in person and follow it. Best wishes.

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