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Published: Sunday April 6, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday April 9, 2014 MYT 8:35:24 PM

Dear Thelma: He refuses to erase the past

I discovered my husband’s infidelity with a young Vietnamese woman more than a year ago. I tried very hard to salvage our marriage though the idea of divorce kept cropping up.

I’ve tried to forgive my husband’s infidelity as I still love him, though I feel much resentment. I’ve gone through tears and sleepless nights for the past year and have tried to move on.

The crux of the problem is my husband’s reluctance to delete hundreds of photos of his many “pleasure trips” with his mistress though I’ve talked to him about it countless times.

He has deleted the photos with his mistress in them, but not the scenery photos. I told him that the photos with the labelling of the places and dates stored in the computer evoked painful memories for me.

He replied that I was being “too sensitive” as they were only scenery. I told him that even without opening the photo folder, seeing the labels and dates taken for the trips were enough to cause me much heartache.

Is it wrong for me to ask him to delete them or at least keep them in a folder for his private use instead of the common computer which everybody has access to?

He knows that the photos are tormenting me and yet he still wants to keep them. In fact, I can easily delete them on my own, but I want him to do it himself.

To him, it is trivial and I’m making too much of a fuss over it. Is my husband being selfish for not considering my feelings? Why is he still adamant in keeping the photos when he stopped the affair ages ago?

Are they more important than my well-being? I don’t understand why he still wants to keep those memories although he knows that they hurt me.

Feeling much resentment

The issue is not whether the photos are more important than your well-being, but its effect on your relationship. It looks like he’s using it as a psychological tool to impress upon you who the dominant one in your relationship is. He seems to be saying that he can do whatever he wants because he can and will.

Obviously, the photos are going to act as a reminder of his affair. And, if he says you are being too sensitive, it is a blatant example of him being not only dismissive of your feelings but also laying the blame on you for any discord that may arise because of these photos.

Your husband is the one who cheated on you and your marriage. It is his responsibility to return trust into the relationship. If he is serious about it, he should be willing to do pretty much anything reasonable and within his means to ensure that the relationship becomes one based on trust again.

Many men think that they can be unfaithful in their marriage as they believe that it is a man’s right and also because men’s sexual needs are a priority. This may sound chauvinistic and it is. So is the attitude of wanting to assert power and dominance over you, reminding you of your place when he leaves in plain sight the reminders of his infidelity.

Chances are, this kind of behaviour and attitude has been present in your marriage for a long time. Take a hard and honest look at your relationship.

Has it been fair and have you been treated as an equal?

Most likely, you accepted all these things in your marriage because you probably believed that this is acceptable behaviour. True enough, our culture teaches women that they have to regard and treat their husbands like little gods and that women have to endure. It is better to be with an unfaithful husband than not be with one at all, women are taught.

It is now up to you to assert yourself in your relationship. Demand the respect you deserve – not because you are married to your husband but because it is your right as a human being.

And perhaps you have to be honest about where you see this marriage going and where you want it to head. Are they one and the same? If not, do you think this will change?

You do have some big decisions to make. His indiscretions are something to think about. But the bigger question is, how much respect do you think is your due?

Write in

IS something bothering you? Do you need a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on? Thelma
is here to help . Write to Dear Thelma, c/o Star2, Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11, 46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor or e-mail: star2.thelma@thestar.com.my. Please include your full name and address, and a pseudonym. No private correspondence will be entertained . The
Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, usefu lness, fi tness for a ny particular purpose or other assurances as to the opinions and views expressed in this   column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses suffered d irectly or indirectly arising from reliance on such opinions and views.

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Family, Thelma, Vietnamese, photo, affair

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