A comment received on the site from a newly separated man:
My world crumbled a few months ago when my (now ex) wife told me she wanted a divorce. I suspected that she had (or still has) an emotional affair. Like the guys in this post I was always faithful, supportive, I don’t drink or do drugs, I love our son, took care of her whenever she was ill and supported her academic ambitions, loving her through good times and bad.
Then to be informed that “at least I am a good father! ” After over 20 years together, those words cut me like a knife. I don’t feel good anymore, broken and desperately lonely. I am somewhat older than she and had just retired, only to have my life turned upside down and inside out. And for what? A feeling? Unfilled? No purpose to life?
Please explain somebody how this can happen to someone who would have given his life to her. And what of him, this person in the shadows? How does he fit in to all this? Where is the justice in it all? Please tell me.
Let me start by saying that I am so sorry for your pain. I’m sure you are incredibly shocked, disappointed, hurt and devastated by the end of your 20 something year marriage.
I will try to give you advice by giving you my perception of what your ex wife might be thinking. You say you were faithful, supportive, not a drinker or drug abuser, a good dad, and a good financial provider. While extremely admirable, to her that wasn’t enough. There was something in the relationship that was missing, something she wasn’t getting out of the marriage. She was unfulfilled. So, she checked out.
Do I think her reasons for leaving were warranted? I have no idea because I wasn’t in your marriage. But, here is what I question. Was this a shock to you? Did she ever try to talk to you about things? Did you know she was unhappy? I’m amazed at the lack of communication (unless you left that part out.)
I don’t think men or women just leave without years of being unhappy and their spouses having some idea. I could be wrong, but I don’t think that most people cheat (especially emotionally) until they have made a significant effort to make the marriage better.
I promise I am not taking her side. In fact, I’m a bit disgusted (and trying not to be too judgmental towards her.) I’m just trying to understand why you are so surprised, unless her emotional affair is so powerful that she left you for him, despite the fact that the two of you were pretty happy. But I think those cases are very rare.
Let’s look at the positives for you. First, you just retired! Congrats!! That is wonderfully exciting. I know you say you feel lonely and broken but that is only temporary. Ask anyone whose spouse left them and they will agree. It’s way too soon for me to tell you that someday you will date and possibly fall in love again. Right now those words probably make you nauseous, which is understandable.
So, I’ll just say that this is the time for you to take care of your son and yourself. This is a time to grieve the loss and work on accepting, healing, and enjoying your son and your every day life as much as you possible can as you find peace. Change is extremely scary but trust me, you can handle it. You have to if you want to be happy.
Regarding your question about the other guy, here are my feelings. I believe that any relationship that begins with cheating has a big disadvantage and is less likely to work out long term. That’s just my opinion. It’s just bad karma, with cheating being a temporary fix for a lot of people who are in unhappy marriages or unhappy with themselves. That said, it doesn’t matter what happens with him and her. Now it needs to be about you.
You ask where the justice is. It’s in the fact that you can wake up every morning knowing you did your best and were the best husband you knew how to be. You can know that her leaving was out of your control and that you had many many happy years together. You can look at your son every day and realize the miracle of the wonderful person you have raised. But try not to focus on feeling like a victim. Instead, you are a man who gets to choose his future now. No, your ex wife isn’t in it, but someday you will be at peace with what she did. I hope at least. If you can find that, happiness will come with it.
Let me start by saying we are very similar. I supported my soon to be exwife financially, was good to our kids, didn’t drink or smoke and was always faithful. We had a lot of good years together. The last few we both became distant and really stopped working on us. I lost my connection with her and even when she tried to tell me something was wrong, I chalked it up to nagging and backed away as quick as I could. I’m not justifying what she did to relieve her frustrations and I now know I did not cause her to be unfaithful, but I can see how my lack of attention could have put her into flight mode. The best advise I can give you is to learn to love yourself again. Forgive both her and yourself for what is happened, for yourself. Remember, forgiveness is not telling the other person what they did I was right, but it’s to help you release all the negative feelings that will hold you back.You will derive peace from not holding on to anger,bitterness,remorse. You will be able to push through this faster without the negative feelings holding you back. For my situation I saught out God and He is leading me to a new place. I believe whomever I meet in the future will prosper from my new outlook on life and love. Trust me when I say you will get through this, because I felt exactly the same way and now I feel so much better. To my future former wife, I wish you the best life has to offer and many years of happiness.
I am like the guy above. Faithful, supportive, etc. Difference. Diabetes took my erection, bladder operation took my cum and my orgasm. Am willing to experience vicarious erection and orgasm if wife will let me prep her to have dates that I witness or hear about in detail. She claims menopause took her desire for sex and wants only to read in bed. Am 78. Parents died in 90s. What are my options?