What is it about men and their attraction to younger women? I get it when a guy’s a player and he just wants sex and fun with someone he doesn’t have to take seriously. Or he’s an insecure man who thinks he needs eye-candy on his arm to make an impression socially.
But leaving a solid marriage (which is what I thought we had) with a loving partner (me) of 10 years and our much-loved son, for a woman almost 30 years younger than him and still living together as he approaches becoming a senior... what’s that about?
The “other woman” in this case isn’t even from this country or anything else related to the background of my formerly normal-seeming, self-confident ex-husband.
Time to get un-shocked, for your own sake and that of your son. There are countless reasons why men, women and gay and trans individuals choose partners very different from what others, especially their previous lovers and spouses, expect or accept as understandable.
You haven’t fully described your ex, and I won’t make guesses about him. If he’s still with this partner, the only certainty is that, for whatever reasons, he’s committed to this woman.
I understand that the reality is still painful and confusing for you. But carrying it forward in your life as an individual, and that of your son, only deepens the wounds.
Even responses from counselling resources online leave a trail of guesses only: As in, “some men might engage with women a lot younger... (because it) could be a thing of power-play.”
Then there are the old-school “reproductive” reasons mentioned, contending that a younger woman is more fertile and likely to have healthier babies. None of these drummed-up explanations will give you the absolute answer you’re seeking.
But some unions with a marked age-difference are so clearly played out publicly - e.g., the fun-loving unattached woman, in the man’s flashy new sports car - that the tableau speaks for itself. He’s living a “new” life for everyone to see.
You wouldn’t want him.
Focus now on what you do want, such as feeling solidly comfortable about your relationship with your son, and with family, friends. Plus feeling confident within your chosen lifestyle, whether it involves work, study, volunteerism, etc.
Maybe it’s time to talk to a psychotherapist about how to leave your ex-husband’s choice of unusual change that he needed for himself in the past.
It’s not about you. Move on to meet the current needs in your own life.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman complaining about her hectic life (Nov. 16):
Reader – “My wife and I have been happily married for 40 years. We discovered back when our kids were young that by the time we went to bed, we were too tired for fun and games. I started setting the alarm an hour earlier, making coffee and going back to bed. Early morning sex is the best. I’m not sure why this advice is never given by experts.”
Ellie - Morning sex has been around as long as coffee’s aroma. Glad that you and your love smelled its call to action.
As for experts, trust those who immediately get the significance of needing that physical and emotional connection between the two people responsible for the marriage, the kids, the family budget, and the ways and means to cooperate as a team. And don’t forget to keep setting your alarm.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding "Still Feeling Numb" choosing smaller family gatherings (Nov. 19):
“She attributed her daughter's extreme behavior exclusively to inherited personality disorders (which seemed diagnosed second-hand by a therapist who hadn’t met the daughter).
“Yes, her daughter's behaviour may’ve been extreme and alarming. I work with people with mental illnesses and live with mental illness myself, and find this language stigmatizing and unhelpful.
“Personality disorders are often the result of trauma. People with PDs can often live good lives if they receive treatment, support and understanding.
“The mother should acknowledge that her daughter's behaviour likely comes from a place of pain and insecurity, and recognize her as an individual. This might help de-escalate future conflicts.
“By simply acknowledging, "I see you and I know that you’re hurt, overwhelmed and upset," instead of dismissing her reactions as irrational, can make a huge difference in calming people down, with or without mental illness.”
Living Well with bpd (bi-polar disorder)
Tip of the day:
If you always see a change in past events from the view of how they affected you, there’s more chance of your staying stuck with the what-ifs of yesteryear instead of the very much-needed what-now.