My husband and I had been arguing a lot for a few years. I was raising the kids while he worked at an entry-level job. Then, he got a higher-level and better-salary job. But he said he had to work longer hours and wasn’t at home as much, although when he was here he was good with our son and daughter because they missed him (ages nine and seven then).
I began to suspect he was having an affair, but he denied it. Then I heard a rumour from his co-worker’s brother that a new employee had her claws in him and I began to question him every day until he said we needed counselling, or the fights would end our marriage.
The counsellor was on his side, and there was never any admission from him about this woman who’d stolen him from me. We stayed together another two years because of his guilt over the kids, but we kept fighting because he wouldn’t confess his affair.
We finally divorced. I hated him for ruining our family. Seven years later the kids told me that he was going to marry that same woman. So, I’d been right all along.
It’s nine years later, I’m 59 and healthy, but the kids left years ago and I’m left alone because I can’t trust any man.
How can a wife who tries her best compete with these office predators who spot a good earner and lure a man away from his own children?
You were deeply hurt and it’s natural that you grieved your marriage break-up for some time.
Now, with freedom and good health to create a new outlook for yourself and your future, hanging on to past hurts is a choice you can re-make.
There are many opportunities for you to engage in activities that you enjoy and meet new friends (both women and men) –walking groups, sports teams, book and film clubs, volunteering, and more.
Staying “alone” and living with perpetual distrust of all men is a cop-out when you’re mature and experienced enough to assess a person’s character for the purpose of having company and friendships. I understand that you may never want to marry again, but fearing all male contact at this point is choosing negativity instead of looking for positive ways to enjoy life.
For the record, it’s rare that professionally trained and experienced counsellors “take sides,” though clients may interpret things that way when they don’t agree with the process or dislike any hint of their having had a part in the relationship problem.
Also, the belief that a predator “steals” away someone’s husband, suggests that the men involved have no will and left happy relationships. It may happen that way sometimes, but usually there are background factors that contributed.
Yes, people sometimes fall in love even though they’re married. From the tens of thousands of letters that I’ve received over many years, in most such cases the individuals try to repair their marriages, and struggle hard with the decision to divorce (as they should, when children are involved).
What’s important once that happens, and certainly now, is getting on positively with your own life. Your children want you to be happy and strong, engaged with friends and things you enjoy doing… not stuck in this story from years back.
The current operative phrase applies to you for your benefit for years to come: Move on.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man “Heartbroken” when the woman he loved dated his best friend (Nov. 8):
Reader – “Nowhere does he state that the "girl" in question (I'm assuming she's a woman, not a child, and he's infantilizing her because he objectifies her) was actually dating him.
“He states that he was in love with her, but not whether he had even bothered to express that to her, and it certainly doesn't sound to me like they were dating.
“Women are too often expected to be available to any man who desires them, and to be able to psychically detect that desire.
“Men's fragile feelings are not our responsibility as women. Nor are we possessions to be traded like hockey cards. No "permission" is required when a man-child calls "dibs" on a woman.”
Ellie – Different point: Even if he fantasized their connection, his friend knew his feelings and could’ve asked him/her if they were dating.
Tip of the day:
Fixating on sad details of a years-ago divorce is a negative choice. Move on through healthy activities, interest groups, and new friendships.