I was married to a man I loved, but who was emotionally distant. Our sex life was infrequent; he presented himself as Mr. Perfect but mostly pleased himself with sports and then working late.
I compensated by improving in my field, and secured a very good job. But I tried hard to make the marriage work, and lasted 13 years.
I played such a good role as the happy wife, that when I insisted that we break up, even some friends worried that I’d lost my mind, was depressed, or gotten too consumed with my career - though he was the workaholic!
Others thought I’d left for another man who’d surface publicly soon (not true).
Three years later, I still find some old friends are awkward with me, and I know they’ve heard from him that I just gave up the marriage for my career. He’s re-married.
Should I tell the truth that he didn’t often “have time” to make love with me (very personal and embarrassing), and was actually selfish and self-absorbed, or just let those old friends drift away?
What’s My Story?
You don’t owe anyone a detailed explanation. Also, telling too many negative facts about an ex – especially after time has passed since you separated – isn’t always accepted as truth.
It can be interpreted as bad-mouthing and bitterness, which doesn’t look any better on you than what you think they surmised.
Living well and happily is the best “story” to present. Surround yourself with the people who stayed close and caring. When you see those who “drifted,” be pleasant, and above all, confident about your own decisions regarding the past.
If they ask directly, just say, “It’s obviously turned out for the best for everyone concerned, so there’s really no need to talk about it.”
I was married to my wife for 34 years and raised two daughters, now married with kids. My wife and I ran a business together, and travelled whenever possible. We were still devoted to each other when she suddenly got sick and died within weeks of diagnosis.
It’s three years later, and I’m still sometimes immobilized by the loss. But I want to move forward in life; I know she’d want me to be happy, and not hiding in the house still grieving. But I don’t know how to get started.
Everyone says I should try online dating, but from what I’ve heard and read about it, the whole process seems to me like shopping at a flea market– you can’t tell the quality of goods till you have it in hand. And then, it’s too late.
What do you suggest?
Starting Over at 58
If what you want is to meet new people, have company to go out for dinner or entertainment events, then online dating isn’t such a difficult “market” to shop. You’re not looking for someone to take home forever at this point, just some periodic companionship.
Be honest in your profile that you’re a widower and for how long, and that you’re interested in meeting people with some similar interests (which you’ll state, e.g. listening to jazz music, playing badminton, etc.).
The areas in which to be wary online are 1) giving too much personal detail that would attract so-called gold-diggers, 2) women “overseas” and others who need financial help coming to meet you, or because of an ill parent/child, etc. 3) anything that feels at all dodgy, such as someone declaring “love” for you before, or at, first meeting.
FEEDBACK Regarding the 34-year-old woman who’s involved with a man just beginning to divorce his wife (June 19):
Reader – “She should RUN now and find someone who’s legally and emotionally available.
“Divorces take time, something always come up to delay things, there are financial issues, etc. She’s still young enough to find someone with more stability and a similar life vision.
“If she wants to have children, timing’s especially important.
“I wish I’d had the belief in myself, and resources to leave my relationship, instead of having blind faith in someone else's excuses.”
Ellie – The woman described a “powerful” connection with him, from the start. And that he’d already been “mentally gone” from his marriage when they met.
You’re right that divorces drag on. And that she’ll need self-confidence to know when and how to assess whether she’s hearing excuses, and if their bond can survive any setbacks.
Tip of the day:
Unless there was abuse, revealing negative facts about an ex doesn’t make you look much better.