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     Volume 7 Issue 24 | June 13, 2008 |

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Dear Mita,
I am in a relationship with a man who is an atheist. Personally, I don't have a problem with this. My family might, but it's still not too big an issue. I'm not very religious myself, but I do believe in God, I was born a Muslim and there are some rules of the religion I go by. Neither of us impose upon the other about our religious beliefs or lack thereof, but do you think this difference might create problems for us in the future if we decide to spend our lives together?

Dear Thoughtful,
If you do not have a problem then I don't think that this will have a negative impact on your married life. However, you should be aware that as time goes on we tend to change our beliefs and value system. Many couples who never thought this would be an issue have found themselves in a dilemma when one of them has become very religious, or non-religious. It is best to have a very thorough discussion on this and the implications this will have on you and your future children. On the other hand, if both of you have respect for each other's beliefs and agree not to interfere no matter what happens then it might go very well.

Dear Mita,
I'm a 30-year-old woman. I was in a relationship with a guy several years ago. He broke up with me at the time and I was quite devastated, but I eventually recovered and went on with my life. He lives abroad and recently he came to Bangladesh for a visit and we met up. I thought we could be friends, but I felt like he was making advances towards me, almost as if he wanted to get back together again. He is currently married and I even know his wife. I'm single but I have no romantic feelings for him whatsoever and I've made it clear to him that I'm not interested. He also seems to flirt with other women. Do you think I should talk to his wife about this? What should I do?

Dear Ex,
I don't think that you should talk to his wife. The most sensible thing to do is to ignore him. You have done very well to get on with your life. He is out and let it stay that way. If he wants to flirt with others that is his business. But as far as you are concerned, he should get a very clear message that you are not interested. Even though you have told him once, such men prefer not to take no for an answer. You must be very strict, firm and distanced from him.

Dear Mita,
I am a 35-year-old man working at one of the telecom companies for the last four years and very much in love with a 31-year-old. We have reached a very mature stage of our relationship and after my girlfriend finishes her PhD we plan to get married. My girlfriend is a very career-oriented woman and I really admire that in her. She has been very successful in whatever she has done in her life. We have discussed children and she has said that she does not want any children because it would hamper her career. We have a lot of chemistry and I really care about her a lot. So I have agreed that we will not have any children if she does not want to. Last month a girlfriend I dated in the US when I was studying there came back to Dhaka. We had a painful breakup. Although we had a very solid relationship, I freaked out about going into a commitment when she said she wanted to get married. Now it turns out that she never married and when I came back to Dhaka after breaking up with her she was pregnant with my baby. Now I have become friends with her again and every time I look at my 10-year-old son my heart breaks. A part of me wants to be with my son and his mother. But I also love my girlfriend very much. I do not seem to be able to process my feelings anymore.

Dear Torn,
This is no doubt a very complicated situation. You have to be true to yourself and to the person who you love at present. The issue of not wanting to ever have any children is a serious one and should not be overlooked. Even if you have agreed, in future this might be a reason for conflict and resentment. Please think about it very carefully before you finally agree to such a situation. As for you ex-girlfriend who did not inform you about such an important issue, well, I think there is something very wrong here. If he is really your son then you certainly have a responsibility towards him. However, do not confuse this with your love for the present girlfriend.


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