My friend, 55, has two daughters nearing adulthood. She’s a hard-working specialist in a profession formerly shut down by the pandemic.
It required her to be creative and purchase expensive safety equipment when allowed to “open up” again.
Now, her husband has walked out.
She doesn’t know if he had/has a girlfriend, and she’s too angry to care.
Her concern is more about her daughters. She’s financially independent and can carry on without him.
But two young females just ending teenage and choosing university studies, are finding their world upside down.
Why did their father leave? What was “wrong” in their parents’ marriage? Was their seeming happy life just a pretense?
My friend’s telling them it has nothing to do with anything they did or could’ve done.
Instead, she’s stressing the message that women are only secure when they’re financially independent.
She says that since their father’s financially successful, he could leave with no worries... so, young women must make sure they also become successful.
Is this a good message for her daughters at this time?
Your friend isn’t only a worried mother, she’s also a rejected spouse who’s mad as hell.
Her stress on independence is a needed security blanket, for her.
For her daughters, they need emotional comfort, not a spreadsheet of potential earnings.
They need to be able to see and ask questions of their father. They need to cry, argue, scold, be angry.
And they need counselling, soon, before they rebel against what feels like their parents’ mutual idiocy in accepting this situation.
Maybe this year’s studies, between the impact of both Covid and personal upheaval, won’t bring them their best marks.
Tell your friend it’s not as important as their emotional healing, and to make that the current priority.
FEEDBACK Regarding the wife whose husband had been using online dating apps (October 20):
Reader #1 – “Too much pornography can desensitize a man to sex, and, eventually, he can be unable to get excited by ordinary sexual encounters.
“In my experience, it's likely that he started with a pornography addiction and then it escalated to dating apps.
“This addiction would have to be tackled as well as any underlying trauma and it's not an easy addiction to break.
“I've seen men who started a pornography addiction due to (lack of) impulse control, and medication for ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) stopped it.
“I’ve also seen some men who delved heavily into good habits like genealogy and everything in between. You can be successful over time and with great effort. Trust can return.
Help for spouses and addicts can be found at:
“Counseling for the wife after a situation like this (Ellie: with her husband using dating apps to discuss meeting other women) is imperative as it can affect your self-esteem, erode trust, and much more.”
Ellie - The above website cites many scientific papers e.g. on topics such as pornography addiction from a neuroscience perspective, for readers to check out for themselves.
However, it’s the above reader’s assumption that the man’s email outreach to women on dating sites is motivated by an addiction to pornography.
The reader may or may not be right... but what’s clear is that the wife’s letter made no mention of his watching porn.
I still believe that whatever’s causing the erectile dysfunction with his wife, requiring the use of pills like Viagra or Cialis, he must ask his family doctor about any other reasons for his ED.
FEEDBACK Regarding the divorced father who won’t attend his daughter’s wedding if his ex’s new husband is present (Oct. 24):
Reader – “I understand that the new husband decided to opt out to avoid fireworks at his stepdaughter's wedding. However, he’s in her life, has a relationship with her.
“She already feels guilty, bewildered about her decision to follow her father's dictate. What will he ask next?
“My ex did this to our son, then 11, telling him he wouldn't come to a school event if “she” (me) came. Our son said, “I guess you'll lose out then dad.”
“It seems that the ex-husband needs to be told firmly, with respect, that the new man in her mom's life is important to the bride and will be there. Her father can't direct otherwise.
“If this makes him unhappy and he cannot participate, so be it, although painful. What happens when/if there’s a new grandchild? On birthdays? Etc.”
Tip of the day:
When a marriage suddenly ends, focus on immediate reactions emotions of children involved.