I’ve lied to my mother about my sister’s visits - I want it to stop
My sister, who lives at the other end of the country from me, hasn’t spoken to our mother for over 20 years. Our mother, on the other hand, lives quite close to me and is very much involved with my children and our family life in general. She has been widowed for quite a few years and I am happy to have her as a special part of our family.
When my sister comes to visit, as she will do again next month, she doesn’t contact our mother and I am put in an awkward position. Should I tell my mother that my sister is visiting, or do I once again lie about what I’m doing when I would normally be seeing my mother? I want to maintain a relationship with both of them, but after all these years I’m tired of the stress of covering for my sister.
I know it’s really not my business but my sister has made it my business by what she asks of me. We have no other siblings so there is nobody else that I can ask to help with this.
Mary replies: t is always sad when children and parents are estranged. Sometimes it happens over a relatively small issue, and in other cases the rift has been caused by something very serious. As the years go by people get entrenched in their belief that they were right and the situation gets beyond salvation which seems to be the case with your sister.
Your mother must be very hurt at the loss of her daughter — she would not be human if she didn’t feel an enormous amount of pain at what has happened. Your sister has
put you in a very awkward situation by asking you to keep her visits a secret, and I don’t see why you have to do this. I realize that you are trying to protect them both, but it is at the expense of your own peace of mind and that is not right.
The time has come for you to explain to your sister that while you will be delighted to see her you are not prepared to lie to your mother any longer. Tell her that you will be explaining to your mother that you will be unable to see her because of the visit. This might also be a good time to point out that your mother will not live forever and she should think about what she will feel like if and when your mother is no longer around.
You are trying to ensure that your mother is not hurt any more than she has been, but just imagine how she would feel if she happened to see you and your sister together and you hadn’t told her about the visit. Your sister needs to take responsibility for her own actions and not hide behind you, which is what she has been doing. If she feels strongly enough to have cut your mother out of her life for such a very long time, then she needs to take the criticism — implied or otherwise — from you. Who knows, she may want to end the estrangement but doesn’t know how and your conversation with her may help this along.
We’re frustrated: sex is over too quickly
Please help me — I don’t know what to do or where to turn to. I’m living with my girlfriend for a year and a half now and we have a baby daughter. I feel that it was my entire fault that she got pregnant. We didn’t know each other very long and the first time we had sex she got pregnant.
She wasn’t on the pill and I was using condoms, but the problem is that I come really quickly and before I even got to put on the condom the damage was done. It was a big shock for us both when we found out we were going to have a baby and I’ve been trying to do the best that I can for her ever since. Neither set of parents was very happy because we didn’t know each other all that well, but we seem to be doing all right. We are both mad about the baby and that helps.
But I still have the problem of coming too quickly and my girlfriend has started to complain about it and Im really scared that if it doesn’t get better she will leave. She said to me that she has had very little experience but that it should be better than this. I agree with her — it’s all over in a couple of minutes and I think part of the reason is that I’m so anxious about it all that I just don’t seem to have any control.
Mary replies: You and your girlfriend certainly got off to a difficult start. Getting pregnant in the early stages of a relationship can put all sorts of strains on it, and having to deal with a sexual problem as well is far from ideal. Premature Ejaculation (PE) doesn’t seem to get as much attention as Erectile Dysfunction (ED) even though more men suffer with PE than with ED. It is a very distressing condition and can lead to frustration for both the man and his partner.
A client told me once that he tried to discuss it with his mates after football training. He was a very outgoing character and said openly that he had ‘a fierce case of PE’ and asked if anybody else was experiencing the same problem. His friends all laughed it off; nobody was prepared to discuss it with him, and he was left feeling silly for having brought it up.
There are many different ways of treating PE and you are bound to find one that suits you. Psychosexual therapy is available which would involve you and your partner attending a therapist over a period of time. The therapist will give you a programme to work on at home. The emphasis is on relaxation, and starts with massage with a ban on anything sexual to begin with. Specific exercises are given to help you get better control and these are then incorporated into the massage sessions. If your partner would not be willing to attend then you could still make some progress by attending on your own but it is much more rewarding as a couple. I have seen people have very good results from this form of treatment.
There are also many self-help books available on the internet and one that is particularly good, not alone with regard to sexual dysfunction but also for many different aspects of men’s sexuality, is The New Male Sexuality – Revised Edition by Bernie Zilbergeld.
Premature ejaculation used to be seen as a purely psychological problem. However it is now considered to be a medical condition and treatments have been developed to help overcome it in the form of medication. A visit to your GP will help you evaluate what is the best treatment option for you. There is a dedicated website for the treatment of PE which is www.takecontrol.ie and you and your partner should both have a look at that. If she sees that you are serious about getting the PE under control then things will not look so bleak for her and things may change for the better on a permanent basis for you both.