For men who read your column, my story tells the other side of what can happen when your partner suddenly says “I’m done.”
That was my wife’s way of avoiding any honest and open discussion about our 14-year marriage.
Throughout that time, we were two professionals working in the same health-related office. Everyone thought we were the “perfect couple.”
We had our first child two years after we married, the second one a year later. They’re now 12 and 11.
We divorced two years ago and are co-parenting. It’s not easy, because during the two years of increasing tensions, she found flaws in my every dealing with our children.
Now, things are changing for me. Friends convinced me to start trying online-dating a year ago. I was pretty wary but was surprised that after just three “likes” I was talking to a very intelligent, interesting woman of 41. I’m 44.
Our discovery of each other’s interests and life experiences became so compelling, we both stopped using any dating apps and started just connecting with each other as regularly as possible.
There’s been Covid travel restrictions and we’re both working, plus I have my children half of every week (she has no kids). But when able to travel, we met for a long weekend halfway between our home cities.
There’s little doubt in either of our minds that we’ll end up living together.
It’ll take some time because I have to prepare the children for this new person coming into their lives. She was the eldest of four children when growing up and says she isn’t worried about becoming a “caring friend” to my kids.
My ex-wife can’t complain, because I soon found out after she left that she’d been preparing for her exit for at least two years due to a secret relationship with another man. Looking back, no surprise.
Now I understand why it had seemed that everything about her had changed even as we worked and lived together.
I hope other men benefit from my story and reading how much my life has improved when only ten months ago I was grieving my lost marriage.
The Man’s Side
It’s absolutely true that women also “abandon” their partners when they no longer want to remain in a marriage. It’s as devastating to the rejected man as much as when it happens to a woman.
But there can be light at the end of the dark tunnel. Men have to be unashamed to acknowledge their painful feelings and allow themselves a grieving period.
If there was a sudden, intentional shock element to the partner’s exit, getting individual counselling can help lift the veil of secrecy/denial and come to terms with the reality. You still have your own life and future to re-shape
And stories like this man’s shows it can happen.
I want to help my two close relatives reconcile. They were once best friends. Some incidents have prevented talking to each other for several years. Hurtful letters were exchanged.
I fear it’ll continue until they die.
I don’t know how to help them re-connect. A wrong move from me could create more problems and I could become another shut-out relative.
Bad Family Situation
Stay connected to both but do NOT interfere. Their anger/rejection may have a basis you don’t know. If even the mention of one to the other brings a reaction, back off.
This silence is their choice.
FEEDBACK Regarding the teenager who “hates” her mom for partnering with her best friend’s father (Nov. 2):
Reader – “This 16-year-old girl is filled with anger. She needs counseling that’ll offer a safe place to have her feelings validated. She’ll also need support as these changes to her home life occur.
“Her friend may also need help navigating a future that neither of these girls want.
“Those who are hardest to love, are often those who need it the most.”
Reader #2 – “There’ll be no secure, happy home for these two teenage friends if their respective parents eventually marry.
“In this day and age, their liaison may be normal but it’s immoral, which is highlighted by their teenage peers having an innate sense of a moral compass off course.”
Ellie - Counselling can be a benefit to both girls and to each parent. Issuing moral judgment on strangers whose full story and feelings are unknown, doesn’t help anyone.
Tip of the day:
There can be light and happiness at the end of the divorce tunnel for men and women alike.