I married a man I loved 15 years ago. We had two sons, now ages 12 and 10, and were lucky to start off comfortably on his salary as a professional and mine from working part-time.
A few years later, I accidentally discovered that he’d been having a six-months-long affair with his assistant. I was devastated and insisted he leave. But he begged me to forgive him, promising that it was over. A month later, he moved back home.
Two years later, he lost his job due to drug-use that he’d kept secret from me. Within a short time, he went bankrupt. I was stunned.
We went for financial counselling and I took charge of our household bills. We moved to a less-expensive house, and he got another job.
Recently, he confessed to having huge money losses and debts of his own due to poor investments. I was advised to get a legal separation so that I can keep the house (barely). He’s moved back to his parents and been diagnosed with depression. I’m shattered, financially and emotionally.
What do I do about a husband who keeps failing himself, me and our kids?
Three Bad Strikes
Gather all your strength, energy and available resources to hold it together for yourself and your sons.
Do online research to find local services that can help, such as counselling geared-to-income from a community or faith social-work program or family services agency.
Also, ask a legal-aid clinic regarding your (and his) rights and obligations under the separation agreement, and get school-based or counselling help for your kids during this upheaval.
Urge your now-ex to get treated for his depression and to join an addiction program and support group to counter his tendency towards substance abuse. As the kids’ father, his well-being also matters greatly to theirs.
My boyfriend/partner of 12 years and I have professed love to each other.
Five years in, he let it slip that he’d had lunch with a married ex-lover. He then admitted that he should’ve told me that he’d had lunch with her “two or three times.” When I probed further, I learned that “four to six” lunches occurred during the first few years of our relationship.
I felt betrayed, deeply saddened and afraid. This was an issue between us for a while.
Stupidly, I brought it up a year later, asking if he’d heard from her. He said that she never calls him… he calls her – e.g. recently, he’d called after a mutual friend’s death.
Am I wrong to think he should’ve run that by me, especially since she’d been such an issue with us?
When asked where they had the secret lunches, he mentioned a coffee shop that turned out to be in a hotel lobby.
Only lunches? He said, yes. Do you think he’s been evasive, i.e. lying?
The lunches may be less “significant” than you’re imagining. Unless he’s frequently given to lying, they appear to happen yearly at most. Also, he admits them when asked.
Yes, he should’ve mentioned this latest lunch since it’s become “an issue,” but that’s exactly why he avoided it, fearing you’d suspect worse.
I may be on the wrong side of trust here but my instinct from what you describe is that this isn’t moving toward a deal-breaker.
It’s not that unusual for some “attached” people to keep occasional contact with former loves… but it’s far better to be open about it, and for it not to be frequent.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the letter-writer who grieves her alienation from her grandchild (Nov. 7):
“What struck me is that it's all about her, her emotional pain, etc.
“I suspect that her adult child, the parent, decided that it's better for the grandchild to be raised away from a self-absorbed potentially narcissistic grandparent who might do to the youngster what she once did to the parent.
“I believe that adult children who make that choice are making the right choice for their child, perhaps expunging a lifetime of manipulation or perhaps something more sinister.
“Just because there's a blood tie, doesn't mean you need to honour it if you feel your child would be negatively impacted. Perhaps alienated grandparents might learn from the old adage about chickens coming home to roost.”
Ellie – A harsh closing to what could’ve been a thoughtful commentary. The reader’s suppositions here suit some cases, but certainly not all.
Tip of the day:
When a marriage fails everyone involved, a separation may be the healthiest response.