“How can I change my life?” – Dr Louise answers your burning questions

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Photo: Gallo Images/Getty Images
Photo: Gallo Images/Getty Images

My friend is playing with fire

My friend is in a long-distance marriage and hardly ever sees her husband as he lives overseas. She and a married colleague seem to be very close and he’s behaving like a substitute husband.

She communicates more with this man than with her husband. She’s admitted she texts him first thing in the morning, during the day and the minute she arrives home from work every day. He’s an arrogant man with a huge ego and thinks he’s God’s gift to women. He’s previously had affairs with colleagues and she says he flirts outrageously with her.

She refuses to see the pitfalls of this situation as I think she enjoys the attention too much. Her husband can’t find work easily in SA, but she would easily be able to find work in the country where he lives. Yet she refuses to do so.

This man’s wife seems unaware of what’s going on and considers them all to be “good friends” as they often socialise together. How do I make my friend see the dangers of this situation?

- Samantha, email

Dr Louise’s advice

It’s possible that this arrangement suits your friend and her husband because they don’t  really want to spend so much time together. Perhaps they’ve both grown used to being able to do their own thing so they have no reason to change the status quo.

This man’s wife is probably not as ignorant as she pretends to be. If he’s had several affairs already, it may be that she allows it as she knows they don’t last and he comes back to her.

As for your friend, she’s enjoying getting attention from a man she likes who also happens to be sought after by other women. She has the best of both worlds – the advantages of living “the single life” and having a “part-time” husband when it suits her.

The fact that she’s not trying to finding work where her husband lives is an indication that it’s not really a problem for her. She’s also probably well aware of the risks involved. You’ve warned her, and there’s nothing else you can do now except help her pick up the pieces when things go haywire, if that’s what happens.


There’s no reason for my sadness

I’ve been feeling very sad and depressed but without there being any reason for it. My life is where I want it to be. I’m almost finished with my studies and already have employment lined up. I have a good boyfriend who’s loving towards me. My parents support me and give me a lot of positive feedback.

So why do I feel depressed? What is wrong with me?

- Lynette, email

Dr Louise’s advice

There are several types of  depression. There’s reactive depression, which is caused by a traumatic life event such as  divorce or the death of a loved one, 

or a traumatic experience such as  being hijacked or being the victim  of some other crime.

Then there’s clinical depression, which is caused by a biochemical  imbalance, and there are various types, including conditions such  as bipolar mood disorder.

The third type is caused by some other biological problem, such as a dysfunctional thyroid gland.

If everything in your life is going well and you haven’t experienced trauma, it’s unlikely to be reactive depression. You need to consult with  a physician who can do tests to determine the reason for your low mood. The proper diagnosis is vital so it can be treated accordingly.


How can I change my life?

I’ve behaved really badly over the past year. I’ve lied and cheated on my wife – and I have to admit that I enjoyed it very much. It made me feel alive and made my life less mundane.

The problem is I’m also trying to be a good Christian and I know it’s not right for a Christian with moral values to have affairs.

I also love my wife, in my own way, and I wouldn’t like to lose her – which I most certainly will if she finds out about the affairs.

How can I get myself on track  again and stop myself lapsing into this awful behaviour of having affairs and thoroughly enjoying them but then later having the reality of what I’m doing hit home?

- Richard, email

Dr Louise’s advice

It seems that you’re engaging in this type of behaviour to make life more interesting and exciting. This implies that something in your life needs to change because  if it continues to be mundane then the risk will be that you’ll once again seek adventure and want to walk on the edge just to shake things up.

Consult with a psychologist so they can help you to figure out what you need to do to make your life more exciting in a positive and constructive manner, and in a way that won’t be at odds with your moral values.

There are many things you can do  to make life more interesting – things that don’t have the potential to ruin your marriage. There may even be things that you and your wife can do together.

Write to Dr Louise, PO Box 39410, Moreletapark 0044, or email info@drlouise.co.za.

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