LIFE

I Thought My Husband Was My One True Love. 18 Months Later, We Were Separated

becca Rebecca Endicott

Here at LittleThings, we know that life doesn’t always move in a straight line.

That’s why we created the Ask Becca advice column to discuss all the big and little problems that we encounter every day.

If you have a question or concern of your own, you can send it on to AskBecca@LittleThings.com!

Each week, I comb through tons of responses from readers across the internet to bring you a column that resonates with our whole audience.

Last week, I covered a MIL with boundary issues, a crisis of confidence, a layabout boyfriend, and a less-than-faithful husband.

This week, I’ll be tackling a whole new set of questions, including a secret crush, sex after trauma, a friendship that’s turning into something more, and a full-speed-ahead new romance. Scroll through below for my very best advice!

If you have words of wisdom of your own, please add them in the comments to continue the conversation! And make sure to send any questions you have to AskBecca@LittleThings.com!

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Crushing On A Stranger

<u>Crushing On A Stranger</u>
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Hi Becca,

I’m 58 years old and have a crush.

His P.O. box is right beside mine and we always bump into each other.

I want to say hello and get to know him, but I don’t know how at this age. I feel ridiculous.

Any advice?

-Smitten

Dear Smitten,

I would start with “hello”!

It can be beyond intimidating to introduce yourself to a new person, especially if you have been single for awhile, so it’s best to just leap in without taking too much time to think. Jump into the deep end and be the first one to talk.

Next time you run into each other in the mail room, make like the charming and confident person you are! Say, “Hi, I see you around all the time, we must be neighbors! I’m [name].”

From there, you have a sturdy foundation for building up a connection every time you bump into one another. One week, you’re cracking jokes about junk mail; the next. you’re making plans to grab coffee.

Besides, it’s easy to nurse an unrequited crush from afar — actually meeting the object of your affection is the only way to find out whether you actually like the real person.

Take a chance on your mail room mystery man!

Best of luck and happy flirting,

Becca

Stressed About Sex

<u>Stressed About Sex</u>
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Dear Becca,

I have a problem with my sex life. My boyfriend and I are OK romantically.

But almost everytime I have sex, I bleed just a little. I feel so much shame and guilt about it, because I am a survivor of sexual abuse.

I have this instinct to freak out when I do bleed. This is making my boyfriend question if we should have sex anytime soon.

I really want to have sex again, but I wish I didn’t freak out about the blood. My abuser made me ashamed of bleeding as a child when he was abusing me.

I don’t know what to do. My boyfriend and I are good, we probably just have to start over.

He and I see the same therapist, and I did talk to him about it. He only told me that I must tense up my muscles during sex. My therapist suggested going back to woman’s physical therapy.

I’m a complete mess; I feel so guilty. It’s not that my boyfriend makes me feel guilty about it. I need to find ways to not freak out. Help!!!

-Anonymous

Dear Anon,

Let me start by saying that you are a brave, strong individual.

Abusers of any kind are despicable people who often seek to isolate and alienate their targets. You should feel tremendously proud that you have actively pursued self-care by finding a therapist and are confronting past traumas. Your health and healing are more important than anything else.

If you feel ready to be sexually active with your boyfriend, go for it! Just keep your own happiness and health at the forefront of the experience.

I don’t think you need to “start over” with your guy; I think you just need to make sure you both always take the time you need when things get heated.

Bleeding during sex is very, very common, especially if the woman is rushed. If you aren’t “ready,” penetration can cause micro-tears in your skin, and lead to bleeding. In your case, this is doubly upsetting because of the abuse you experienced and the guilt and shame that your abuser made you feel.

I agree with your therapist that women’s physical therapy might help, but I would also advise that you schedule an appointment with a gynecologist straight away, and that you change the way you approach sex.

Try adding more foreplay to your routine, and make it more intimate: think lots of kissing and caressing. Be patient with yourself and ask your boyfriend to be patient too; don’t let him rush you.

I would also advise you to keep a lubricant on hand to help smooth things along. Lubricant can make sex more pleasurable, and has the added benefit of helping to prevent bleeding.

Most important of all, remind yourself that you have nothing to feel guilty about. You had a traumatic early sexual experience, and you deserve all the time and patience in the world to heal and replace those memories with positive sexual experiences. Never forget, you’re worth waiting for!

With love and compassion,

Becca

More Than Friends?

<u>More Than Friends?</u>
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Dear Becca,

So I have a question. I have a very close male friend that I adore with all my heart. We have been in each other’s lives since we were in elementary school and reconnected after high school.

Well, we have had an on-again, off-again relationship for seven years or so, but have never actually dated. It’s more sexual than anything.

Then, this weekend he took me out for an actual date.

He is worried if we date and it doesn’t work out, we won’t stay friends. I never want to lose him.

How can I assure him that I truly love him and that no matter what happens, he will always have me in his life? Also, how can I deal with a relationship where we don’t always see each other or talk?

I’m not sure what he wants and I’m scared to push the subject ’cause I don’t want to push him away. It would hurt something fierce.

-Anonymous

Dear Anon,

There’s nothing like the swirl of confused emotions when a friend turns into… something more. It’s a roller coaster, huh?

In your case, it sounds like you have a really strong friendship with this guy. Meanwhile, the romance and “friends with benefits” side of things is a little bit more up-and-down.

If I were you, I would take a step back and put the physical relationship on pause for a moment. I agree with you: I don’t think that your friend has any idea what he wants.

At a guess, it sounds like he thinks he has bigger feelings for you, but isn’t sure yet. He wants to keep having a physical relationship while he decides, then have the option to have an exit plan if it doesn’t work out.

It’s OK that he’s confused, but you don’t need to get pulled along in his wake while he decides how he feels. Take a minute and think about how you feel. Do you want a romantic relationship, or are you happier as just friends?

If you decide you do want to try dating, tell him that you want to stop your physical relationship for a moment, and start going on real dates. Treat him just like any new guy you just started seeing. It will be easier to evaluate your real feelings for each other if you aren’t jumping right back into a comfortable friends-with-benefits routine.

Also, if you do want a relationship, he has to be willing to really be there. A real relationship means seeing each other and talking regularly. He can’t just disappear on you.

If he’s not willing to make that commitment, you might save yourself a lot of heartache by ending the physical side of things and just staying platonic friends.

Best of luck!

Becca

Head Over Heels

<u>Head Over Heels</u>
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Hello,

I’m in a pickle. I married a man at the age of 23; I am now 30. We met, dated, got engaged, married, and separated in a span of about 18 months. We finalized the divorce five years later.

I did date during our five-year separation, but there was no one too serious.

Now, I’ve met a new guy. Such a gentleman, and I’m beginning to feel like I did when I met my ex-husband. I felt it was right and I could see myself with him forever. That obviously didn’t happen.

Now, with the new guy I feel the same way. I don’t know if I can bring myself to slow it down or just go with the flow.

We have only been serious for a month or so, but our conversations and actions feel as if we’ve known each other our whole lives.

Please help me!!! I need your advice.

With Best Regards,

-Hopeless in Love 

Dear Hopeless,

Deep down, I think you already know the right course of action here.

You’re clearly a smart cookie, and you’ve identified your own romance pattern: You rush into an exciting new relationship, fall head-over-heels, and then abruptly fall back to earth.

You write that your previous marriage essentially began and ended with 18 months. Knowing that piece of your history, I would tread lightly with your new guy.

Maybe he is your soul mate. The nice thing about true love? You don’t have to rush it.

If this guy is the real deal, you can take your time to slowly get to know each other before getting seriously committed. After all, lasting love is a marathon, not a sprint.

Here’s what I would propose: Don’t rush intimacy, don’t jump the gun on saying “I love you,” and don’t move in together until you’re sure there’s a future.

Most importantly, date at least 18 months before you talk about getting engaged.

That was the incubation period of your last relationship, so it should also be enough time to know if your new boyfriend is a likely candidate for your happily-ever-after.

Wishing you every happiness on the scenic route!

Becca

Laura Caseley for LittleThings

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