Healthy Relationships: Ask The Expert - MumsVillage

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Healthy Relationships: Ask The Expert

Three weeks ago, we had a Family Therapists/Clinical Counsellor speak to our Villagers about healthy relationships. The therapist, Jane Kuria answered some of the questions, offered expert advice on various topics and got to shed light on some of the issues that were raised in the WhatsApp chat. We are going to share the pieces of advice in a series of articles. In this article, we share the answers to some of these questions.

 

Kindly discuss money and relationships? Disclosure of income to your partner.

Money in a relationship is actually not the issue, The issue is the meaning we give to the money. The emotional attachment we have. How was money handled in your home where you grew up in? If you experienced lack, you may have a tendency to hoard and save for future so you don’t go through what you experienced growing up. Ask yourself, why have I given money such importance in this marriage? Why do we have to live in such an expensive apartment or take kids to high-end schools? What is the secret account for? Some of us didn’t learn to manage money early on and probably didn’t discuss that when we were dating. Could you go back to the drawing board and openly talk about it? Share with each other what matters to you when it comes to your finances, how can you collaborate to ensure the money doesn’t ruin your marriage.

 

Kindly let the speaker address single mums issue of moving on on a different man. How to make things work bearing in mind it ain’t their blood. What if it becomes hard for them to support your kid n they don’t care about them, what can you do in such a situation yet u want things to work out.

If the guy doesn’t accept your children, then that should be a warning that this will create more problems as you move along, Discuss how you’ll parent them, discipline, educate etc. This is important because the kids may suffer if they’re repeatedly maltreated.

 

What happens if I don’t like sex as much as my partner,  he satisfies me all the time but unfortunately he seems to love sex too much since once he starts he likes taking too long even after I have climaxed, he wants to keep sexing but all I want is to sleep. He has made me come to hate sex especially now that I’m pregnant.

Has this become an issue after you became pregnant or has it been like this all along? Have an open conversation with him. let him know how prolonging sex after you’ve climaxed makes you feel. If he’s an understanding guy, he may be open to trying other ways of ensuring he ejaculates.

Longer foreplay. if the problem persists, see a sex therapist who would recommend specific ways based on the details you share.

 

What do you do if you can’t leave because they threaten that they might take your children away? Now the partner and his family.

This has to be deeper than just taking the children away. Threats are a way in which a partner manipulates the other so they can do what they want. This is deeper and the underlying issue needs to be addressed.

 

How do you deal with a situation where your husband confesses to having a child out of wedlock?

The child that was not disclosed in the beginning. How did you find out? Under what circumstances? Did they volunteer the information? This may be a breach of trust, Let them come clean and tell you the truth. Have an open communication, Let them know how this secret makes you feel angry, betrayed, wondering could there be more than you don’t know? After the feelings of hurt have been processed, decide how to move on from there. if you chose to stay, discuss how this child will be incorporated into your family, parenting, living with them, with their mother? Discuss all this and settle with what works for both of you.

 

My baby daddy claims that he loves both me and his side chick equally which is why he can’t commit. Can a man love two women at the same time?

The choice is yours. The guy has made it very clear that he loves both, Are you ok with that? The power lies in YOU, You get to choose whether you want to participate in his style of double-dealing. Choices have consequences, choose wisely.

 

My boyfriend’s family is so nice to me, but I fell out of love and don’t want to settle down with him. How can I handle this situation and avoid forming enemies worth my baby’s relatives? Should I just move in with the man?

 

When you move in you will be moving in with your boyfriend, not his family. What is important is your relationship with your boyfriend and the child. Worrying so much about what they will think will only interfere with how you raise this child. Communicate to your boyfriend how you feel and you two can agree on the way forward because there is a child involved. It’s your decision whether to move in with the man or not and because your child is involved and you would like to explore the issues that made you fall out of love to discuss these issues and decide the next step for you both.

 

My husband is out if the country, I live with his family in our home and they don’t like me at all. I’m expecting my first baby. How do I make him rent a different house for his family?

Communicate and let your husband know what is going on, give specific examples and because of the pregnancy, your peace and sanity are important for the health of your baby. If he understands and he’s willing to do that then its good to find a place that you are comfortable.

 

I would like to know how one can heal from heartbreak, pain suffered in an abusive marriage. How can one do that?

Understand that you are no longer going through abuse, it’s not ongoing and you are safe where you are so that’s a good thing. Concentrate on providing your basic/physical needs and taking care of your kids if any. Once those are met, the mind takes time to heal so be patient with yourself, seek counselling or someone who could be helpful. Understand that you are going through grief, the loss of a relationship that you thought would work and you have to process that loss, accept what has happened, understand that what happened in the past does not dictate how you live going forward. The fact that now you can make those choices it’s your job to continue to make a deliberate choice to heal.

 

I’m addicted to hard drugs. Those very serious ones and I spend a lot of money. Thankfully we are of means, and this doesn’t affect our family’s kitty. I’m really trying to get help, but I’m afraid of the kind of help I will be seeking, my husband may come to know. He doesn’t know, but I suspect he suspects, only he hasn’t asked. Do you advise I come clean to him, in as much as I know he’ll judge me, and bring turbulence to my marriage?

I would really encourage you to come clean on this one and get the help that you need.

 

What are the do’s and don’ts of a blended family?

  • Try to be as neutral as possible and not show favouritism to one set of kids at the expense of the other
  • Have open communication between spouses on how you will raise your kids together eg. discipline, routines etc
  • Don’t talk negatively about your spouse in front of the other kids.
  • Take time to connect with the other kids because depending with their age they might need to build that relationship.

 

I have a son for 8 years, and a daughter for 2 years. I was separated from my son for 3 years while I was in university. I feel like I don’t appreciate or show affection much towards him as I do for the girl. I would like to forge a great relationship with him. I just feel like there is something I am not giving him.

Go to their level. Do some activities that you think they may like, be patient as it may not come automatically, the child needs to know they are safe. Building trust takes time. If they love soccer go for it. Once they realise that you are a safe person to be around they will open up and get closer.

 

What if your partner is a man of power and influence? Where do you turn for help? He can reach you anywhere or have Police find you?

Are you trying to resolve the issues in your marriage or looking for an exit strategy? If you are trying to resolve issues try going to his friends who he listens to and express what is going on because there is a likelihood these friends will listen and communicate to him as they are likely to be people of influence. If looking for an exit strategy, you need an exit plan. Seek help from an organisation that deals with that because there will be a solution to get you help over and above his power.

 

How do you handle someone who is ever controlled by his mother and elder sister?

Let your husband know how you feel and choose between you and the inlaws. You need to let him know how it’s affecting your marriage and state very clearly that if you come second or if you have to take a back seat from your family then state the consequences.

 

How about jealous in-laws. How do you live with them? Yes, you don’t live in their compound and when you are quiet, they come to where you live and complain about this and that. You just can’t have a peace of mind. They even come without notifying you just to piss you off. Above that, they complain that you using their son’s money yet you are ever independent.

Don’t play the victim. Own your position in your family. You own your house and you need to set boundaries with them. If you allow them you are enabling the behaviour. eg. “My doors are open, you are welcome but let me know when you are coming” and if they break that rule then there are consequences.

 

Discuss sexual abuse in marriage. Denial of conjugal rights and masturbation.

Sexual abuse is wrong. It should not be tolerated. If you have not given consent that can be considered as rape. If they continue to do that you need to raise it and seek help

 

Have open communication about it all. When did the sex life start deteriorating? Sexual issues in marriage are tied to other things in marriage. Could there be cheating? Does he suffer from erectile dysfunction that needs to be addressed? There seems to be a deeper issue here. Ask him if you could both seek help and address the issue.

 

How do you help a man feel non threatened when you are the primary breadwinner and they are a stay at home dad or not bringing in a lot financially?

 

You should not behave in a way that you are superior to him because you bring in more money. In fact, taking care of children is very valuable and if you are to put a monetary value to his job he is probably making more. Look at it from a non-monetary perspective but how he’s helping both of you navigate the family. He is really playing a huge role and you can have peace knowing that he is at home taking care of kids.

 

Am having a kid with a guy whom we haven’t made anything official yet. In my family, they know him and have been to his once. The kid stays at my home with my mum.

So we have been having issues up and down endless fights to a point recently he went through my phone found some fishy messages and he chased me out if his house with everything. The following day he came back full of apologies and all that and how he wants me back. So I decided I will not go back. I was hurt so much I didn’t even have a reaction to that

It’s eating me from the I side. I have talked and let him know that he hurt me and he apologised but am still in so much pain. Mind you this is not the only issue I have had him be so insecure with any man I talk to. He doesn’t want me to go out and he will not take me out either. I feel stressed and depressed. Apart from that, I have a strong feeling he could be seeing another lady whom he is making moves because I noted change of his behaviour and when I asked he denied and was so bitter about it.

Have open communication with him and discuss some of the trust issues and insecurity from both sides. Face the big elephant in the room and decide if this is the kind of relationship you both want. Either start making amends or move on to avoid the cycle. When a child is involved, whether you stay together or not remember your child will always be a part of you two.

 

Masturbation in marriage. Most sexologists advice and advocate for it, and give good reasons for this. As a relationship expert, do you think it makes marriage more healthy or unhealthy?

Masturbation can help you find the erotic areas that may help you enjoy sex but when it becomes a habit that you do at the expense of having sex then it affects your sex life.

 

I gave birth to my daughter at a tender age of 19 years and the father totally neglected her me she lives with my mother planning to get her soon. She’s 3 and I feel my relationship with her is very cloudy. I often hit her, scold her  am not sure if I have a bad attitude towards her but when I remember about her I often cry because I want to be a good mum but deep inside I know am failing what do I do

 

Could there be unresolved issues with the father that you are projecting to your child? You need to understand your child and father of the child are different and your child is very innocent so she needs to be treated with love and care. You need to see your daughter as an innocent. Also, process what you went through, find healing and deal with the triggers that come when you think of the father of the child

 

I’m in a relationship with my partner, 2  years with some months. We have never lived together to date. We started out with him having plans to come to see my folks n pay dowry n we settle down in marriage. We have a 5 months old son. Since then he found ways to evade him coming to see my parents officially and bringing fights whenever we talk about him coming over. Unfortunately, he lost his job last year August. This has been the worst period ever. He is verbally abusive, not supportive and says he is tired with the relationship. So I’ve always asked him to let me go, we go our separate ways. We wouldn’t talk for a week then all of a sudden he is super nice, talks well, brings a little stuff for the child and life moves on as nothing happened.

I want to progress with my life so far it’s not progressive. What do I do?

 

You seem like you know deep down what to do but still clinging on. I would suggest seeking counselling and get clarity of mind.

 

Last year I broke up with my longtime boyfriend whom we almost got married

We had been on and off in the relationship but I thought at the last trial we had made it.

I knew he was emotionally abusive because I was never fully free and myself around him. All my friends and family knew it but because I loved him too much, I didn’t listen.

So after my heartbreak, I think I am healing and I am okay

  1. How do I know I am completely healed and ready for another serious relationship
  2. He sometimes calls and I talk to him. I feel like he is out to see how I am doing and if I am stagnant or progressing…I never disclose much information..what’s your take on that…
  3. I sometimes feel like my relationships will never be the same again. I’m I damaged?

When you don’t base your relationship on what the guy did to you. You are able to look at a new man as he is and not comparing him with your past boyfriend. Or this person does not trigger some memories.

Why do you answer his calls? Why do you want to talk to him? That call and talking have energy and it will keep you stuck thinking there is hope.

Never be the same again in what aspect? Are you still looking for a guy in him? Are you clinging on to that abuse? Maybe you have not healed yet if you’re still guarded and thinking you can’t move on

 

They are many men who value women, can make great husbands and you need to believe that you are worthy of all that.

 

Abuse is not only physical but also emotional and psychological. Any kind of abuse leaves the abused in a state of confusion, depression, doubts and many other effects due to trauma. If you are going through abuse or you know a person going through abuse, the Gender-Based Violence-free hotline is 1195. Furthermore, if you would like to join a community of women healing from abuse, WhatsApp +254736275978.

You may also like; Healthy Relationships: Rebuilding a Marriage After Infidelity

Healthy Relationships: How Abuse Affects Children

Register for our weekly newsletter and follow us for more information and resources on Gender-Based Violence on MumsVillage Facebook page!

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