We married four years ago, I’d been divorced for three years, he for six years.
He romanced me from the first date! I was 42 and he was 45. We both hold very responsible professional jobs, both have no children.
We bought a house together and life seemed perfect.
However, my husband was constantly checking on me, calling me at work, inquiring with whom I had lunch, specifically whether any of my appointments/meetings were with male clients or colleagues.
He’d even question me about where I went grocery shopping! He’d also “miss” me, when I occasionally spent a couple of hours with women friends.
Over the last six months, things changed. He checked up on me far less, worked later, and even went out from work without saying where he was going, arriving home after I’d be asleep.
It was such a marked change, that I had him followed. I figured I’m too experienced to be made a fool. If my suspicions were wrong, great.
They weren’t wrong. He was involved with the new secretary he’d hired seven months earlier. They went to her place after work.
When confronted, he said that I’d “abandoned” him through my work. He said he needed more “caring” and had trusted that I knew that when I accepted his marriage proposal.
I’m not sorry that it’s over. I just feel so annoyed with myself for letting him overwhelm me with what he called “love,” so that I missed recognizing his constant neediness.
Now I’m afraid to even risk dating. How can I trust that I’ll ever regain my self-confidence to have a healthy relationship?
It wasn’t ever about you. It was always about him.
Having instantly targeted you as his prospective wife, he never accepted you as a whole person with your own needs, responsibilities, friendships, etc.
He never trusted you because no one could be “caring” enough for him, unless totally devoted to him 24-7.
His secretary will discover this, too, but it may suit her purpose in participating in his cheating.
Meanwhile, you’re too experienced and smart to doubt your ability to move forward.
Though you let him swoop into your life too quickly, you won’t ever do that again.
Take time to clear the stress from your discovery and the upheaval of divorce. Enjoy the company and support of close family and trusted friends.
When you start to date again (and you will), take it slowly and thoughtfully.
Next time, build a healthy, mutually trusting, happy relationship, once you get to know someone whom you find is not only interested in you, but also independently interesting to you.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding grandparent-grandchildren relationships:
“My grandchildren have grown up living hundreds of miles from me. I feel separated from them.
“I now realize that it's up to me to make contact with them.
“They’re always happy and pleasant when I do call, so there's no animosity there.
“However, I usually only speak to one of their parents when we're on the phone, not their children.
Ellie - Good for you for recognizing your own part in losing regular contact with your grandchildren. All relationships need nurturing.
The grownup grandkids’ connection to you won’t always be top of mind, especially while they’re busy with studies, jobs and their social lives.
But grandparents who occasionally Skype, send emails, or even just share anecdotes, can still maintain a loving bond with their grandchildren that emotionally benefits both sides.
If I survive my husband, do I acknowledge his estranged daughter and granddaughter in the obituary for him?
I am his second wife, not their mother or grandmother. The daughter and granddaughter have rejected my husband for undetermined reasons.
My husband has been hurt by their rejection for many years and continues to try to have a relationship, but to no avail.
He was a wonderful father and tried to be a great grandfather but was not allowed to be either.
Is acknowledging them with the words, “survived by daughter (her name) and granddaughter (her name)” acceptable?
They are both being provided for in our wills.
Is This Necessary?
It’s called doing “the right thing.” Your husband had hoped to have a relationship with both family members.
He still cared about them and you’re both open-hearted enough to provide for them in your wills (particularly impressive on your side).
Acknowledging them as his relatives is definitely acceptable, and thoughtful.
Tip of the day:
Beware an instant “romance” with someone seeking constant caring for his/her needs.