Falling in love, while often an exhilarating experience, could also be a complicated setup especially when couples fail to see eye to eye. No relationship is without its challenges, so when trouble starts brewing on the homefront and we couldn't find the answers we're looking for, we turn to the experts for straight-to-the-point, honest-to-goodness advice.
Our relationship counselors are renowned experts in their own right: Michele Alignay, M.A. is a parenting consultant and a resource speaker on family life and relationships at the Love Institute. Pilar Tolentino, meanwhile, is a counselor at the Center for Family Ministries (CEFAM).
Here are the 9 burning questions* on relationships, and our experts' advice:
1. “It’s been five years since I gave birth to our son but my partner and I still haven’t gotten married, due to financial reasons. I know people tend to look at unmarried live-in couples in a bad light, and I’ve become very conscious of this. How do I reassure myself that we’re doing the right thing?” - Myra, Nueva Ecija
The fact that you are seeking help and are “becoming conscious” of what other people say about your live-in situation means there is turmoil inside you, stemming from unresolved values – what you think is right, what is morally upright, what others say is right and what others expect from you.
If you believe that it is okay to be living-in and your own values affirm it, then don’t mind what other people say, and do not fret about it. You can only be at peace and be reassured if your ideals, your words and actions are all aligned with one another. If you live by what you believe to be right, then you will be at peace with your situation. Only you can reconcile this, so if your situation bothers you, do something about it. - Michele
2. “A few days ago, I discovered that my husband was having an affair with his office mate. I confronted him about it in a fit of rage and he answered back by admitting to it. He claims that the girl has already broken it off but I don’t believe this. I still love my husband very much, but I am finding it hard to forgive him despite having undergone counseling. I feel very much betrayed and broken. What can I do to help myself recover from this incident?” - Aggie, Bulacan
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Forgiving someone who has broken your trust benefits not only the offender but also the offended. You owe it to yourself to forgive because you deserve to have peace.
Start by accepting your situation. You cannot change the past, but if you really intend to work on your relationship, resolve your trust issues first, including whatever emotional baggage is hindering forgiveness. Make tangible steps to start your relationship anew. Embrace a new perspective and start your journey to healing and forgiveness. - Michele
3. “I’m a single mom and I’ve managed to become friends with my ex. He’s already married now and I’m happy for him, but I just cannot get along with his wife. He’s urging me to establish a good relationship with her but I just can’t stand the thought of it. Should I try? Is it the right thing to do? If it is, what steps can I take?” - Micmic, Quezon City
I believe that being friends with someone, be it a stranger or your ex's wife, happens naturally, and cannot be forced. Given your situation, what is important is that you deal with her in an appropriate manner. First and foremost, respect from all parties is very important, and this includes refraining from making unnecessary comments and judgments. You don’t have to like each other, but you can all co-exist in a civil manner for the sake of your child. - Michele