My wife of 25 years and I have two sons, 21 and 23.
We met in university, both graduated in professional fields, and built what I thought was an amazing life together.
We juggled our career ambitions with me moving ahead further when the boys were very young, and my wife soaring ahead when they started school.
It meant we could afford a home we both loved, and travel as a family during holidays.
I’ve loved her throughout and thought we’d created a dream marriage!
But I was wrong, because eight months ago she told me she needed “more.” She didn’t elaborate but I insisted she either tell me what she was talking about or she’d have to explain it to our sons together with me.
She’d told me that she needed to find a new level of love for this period in her life. She said that what we had as young lovers was fine then, and helped us stay together as a family.
But now, it’s her mature self that needs a passionate love for who she’s become.
Then she left. She told our sons that she loves them but has to “move on to another life stage.” Our younger son has periodically emailed her but the older one refuses any contact.
I’ve heard nothing from her though I know that she’s still working. There’s been no divorce discussion so far, and I have no knowledge of whether there’s another man in her life.
What do you think is going on?
It would be easy to conclude that your wife has someone specific in mind for that “passionate love” she now wants.
But it’s interesting that she’s not legally defined her absence from the marital home and family. Nor has she been open about seeing someone specific, which mutual friends might’ve disclosed to you.
So, “what’s going on” could be just her move and her driving desire for “more.”
You know where she works, possibly where she lives too. Reach out and ask how she is, for your son’s sakes. They’ll feel better (even if still hurt/angry) knowing you spoke to her.
If you still hear nothing about another liaison in her life, ask to meet. There’s the possibility she’s having a mid-life crisis, possibly based on things from the past that you know nothing about.
She was “family” with you for a quarter of a century. Though she’s hurt you, she may be suffering deep pain herself. Renewing contact may provide some answers for you, and possibly, a lifeline for her to seek help if needed.
Time will reveal more.
I’m a guy, 45, twice divorced. I have two teenagers from my first marriage and a youngster from my second. My relationships with everyone involved are fine... including ex-in-laws. Both sets are terrific grandparents.
Now, I’m dating again... this time, a man. I’m enjoying the new relationship but don’t know if I’m gay, bisexual, or just experimenting. But I know I’m happy.
How do I proceed?
Happy is good, arbitrary labels are not. If you eventually conclude that you’re gay, bi or whatever, live it and own it comfortably.
Tell your dating partner what this new relationship means to you. “Just experimenting” is unfair unless he says it’s okay.
Soon, you’ll need to open up to family, friends, and especially your children. Here too, you want a say in the interpretation of who you are in their lives, including always being their father.
Everyone I know is either grumpy or feeling low. Recently, a friend called me weeping and said she had no idea why. But I did.
Most people I know have adolescents and teenagers who are home-schooling. We’re “lockdown” weary but also exhausted from acting as teachers’ aides, homework monitors and phone-use police. Before you say, “take phones away,” these kids have no other social life.
Any suggestions to save the parents?
Cut the kids some slack. Set a time for their digital socializing and try to get their friends’ parents on board.
Insist on a daily health break of two half-hour walks outdoors or indoor fitness classes online. Try competitive board games at family and dinner time, to let off steam.
Teenage years are challenging enough without extra pandemic anxieties, their parents’ fatigue, and limited opportunities for activity choice or what they consider “fun.”
Reassure all that with positive changes, things will improve. Make it happen.
Tip of the day:
When a spouse suddenly leaves without warning, look beyond assumptions for an answer/help which might be crucially needed.