My wife and I met at work in a big company where she’d already been employed for ten years. We fell in love and married in our early-30s.
A couple of years later, we had an “open and honest” discussion of previous relationships and sexual partners.
I accepted her word.
Eighteen years later, rumours surfaced. She’d had an intense romantic eight-year relationship with a much older man, one of the company’s vice-presidents.
Other men whom she’d insisted were “just friends,” had actually been “friends with benefits.”
She gradually admitted that she’d felt “uncomfortable” about her past, and thought she might “hurt” me if she disclosed it.
Her dishonesty shook our relationship to its core. Counselling has helped.
An open, honest initial discussion would undoubtedly have caused embarrassment. But nothing like the pain and sadness of learning that she’d deceived and lied to me.
I love my wife. She’s otherwise a dear wonderful woman. However, I don’t believe that my former trust will ever be completely regained.
In retrospect, how does one best balance honesty and embarrassment about one’s sexual past when there are mutual acquaintances aware of it?
Secondly, how do we now deal with our son and daughter (both in their early 20s)?
They know that we’ve been dealing with “issues.” Is it fair to tell them what’s been happening between us?
Truths and Consequences
If ever there was too much information for children to be told about their parents’ past (before they were their parents), it’s this excess baggage of old stories!
They’ll be rocked, shocked, and confused beyond TMI, trying to figure out how to digest and respond to facts that had nothing to do with them.
Explain only this: In a long marriage, issues occasionally arise that are personal only to the couple.
Reassure them that you’ve resolved and are no longer dealing with those issues.
Then look forward yourselves. Let the past go.
You love your wife. When asked initially, she feared she’d hurt you and possibly damage your still-early marriage.
Her relationships occurred over the 10 years when she was single, in her 20s, and independent. They were based on romance in one case, and attraction in others.
Naturally, you were upset when these hidden truths emerged.
But they have no bearing on future trust, since they happened so long ago, and she had a loving reason to avoid telling you.
Whomever spread rumours 18 years later is the villain in this sad story!
If you two show faith in your relationship, hold your heads high and present a united front as a couple, there’ll be no more rumours.
Gossips feed on other people’s vulnerabilities.
Stay strong and ignore them.
My eldest daughter has cut us out of her life. We have two grandchildren, ages four and three, whom we cannot see.
We live with broken hearts every day.
What help can you provide regarding estrangement?
I urge you as a couple to try to figure out what’s behind this by seeing a professional therapist yourselves.
Also, your other adult child(ren) may have some clues.
A therapist can then help you examine the two sides of the story – yours and what you believe is your daughter’s.
If you learn any part you two may’ve played in the divide, apologize – by letter, email, text.
Meanwhile, if you had a consistent, close relationship with the children, talk to a lawyer about grandparents’ rights, which may or may not apply in your legal jurisdiction.
I’m a senior attending the same salon for several years. The owner colours and cuts my (short) hair.
Recently, after the colour had set, she started a 90-minute consult with another client while I was being washed with my head in the sink.
I was told I’d have to wait like that because the owner was busy.
She later asked me if I was mad because of the wait. I replied that it was for two hours!
I was told the other client had “an issue.” Then she made me feel guilty because I was a senior who did nothing all day!
Why is a new, young client more important than me?
The owner was rude and wrong. Seniors must speak up when treated that way.
You had an issue too – your slotted appointment time. Tell the owner it can’t happen again… or go somewhere else.
Tip of the day:
While open honesty is preferred, long-ago past relationships when single, are sometimes understandably unrevealed. Forgive.