MY husband left me a few years ago when we were living abroad. I came home one day to find a letter telling me he’d gone. I later found out that he’d been seeing someone else for some time. We had two kids then under 10 years old. We’d been married for 12 years and had always been great friends.
When he left, I coped with my dignity intact. I even took abuse from the other woman but I made sure the children saw him regularly. But he cut himself off from me. If! rang him for help or advice, he’d hang up. My husband continued to pay the mortgage but I still had financial worries. I decided we should sell the house so that I could come back to the country with my children.
I have settled down wonderfully well and have a thriving business. My husband’s woman turned out to be had news and she kicked him out. He told the children he’d been
living alone in a bedsit and he seems lost and unhappy. He tells me he loves and misses us all but I don’t think I feel the same way about him.
Sometimes I miss him terribly and see us back as a family. At other times, I feel that my anger and disgust – and even my new source of independence would get in the way of us having a future together. He’s prepared to come home if I would have him back. I loved my husband for friendship and trust we once shared rather than any sexual attraction. Now, I’ve lost all that and I don’t know what I feel. I can’t turn back the clock, neither can I move forward. I don’t want to throw our relationship away, but my husband did a terrible thing to us and was cruel and uncaring for a long time. I’m scared of being hurt again.
Dora, by e-mail
By the look of things, you seem a capable, caring woman. When your husband deserted you and the kids for this opportunistic woman, you held your grief and anger at bay. You focused instead on protecting the loving bond between your children and the father who had abandoned them. You tried to preserve your husband’s role in caring for his family, despite the opposition of his girlfriend. I respect you tremendously for that. While your husband was behaving badly, you held on to your sense of the things that are important. I understand the terrible shock and hurt you felt when your man abruptly left the family home and your great pain when he seemed unwilling to help you. Experts agree that when we suppress powerful feelings to remain calm and in control, we delay their expression. Until you’ve vented your sense of betrayal by a husband you believe also to be your loyal friend, you will continue to dwell in an emotional haze and feel a sense of disgust for him. You obviously still have feelings for your husband and yearn to feel that he’s the friend and love you once knew. Tell him this, but also acknowledge that you need him to recognise your rage at his absurd, weak and selfish behaviour. You need to know he’s genuinely sorry for what he did to his family. You and your husband have a lot of crying and making up to do.