DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’ve been married 27 long years. My husband has never forgiven me for walking out on him 20 years ago when I became depressed after my mother died and I did not get the support I needed from him. But I have forgiven him for his physical, verbal and emotional abuse, as well as his gambling and drinking.
We don’t do anything together other than watch TV. We haven’t had sex in over two years. He never compliments me. He is hard to please.
I was going to leave in June but got cold feet. I must be crazy. — Stayed Anyway, Winnipeg
Dear Stayed: Life doesn’t have to be lonely if you decide to leave this cold marriage. Twenty-seven years is enough of anyone’s time. Why throw away another year over fear of the unknown? It’s likely both of you need to be free, although people who have meted out the violence tend not to feel as out-of-love as the person who was beaten. Oddly enough, some abusers are very dependent and cry very convincingly during a breakup.
Don’t confuse the crocodile tears with a reason to stay. Since you know you don’t want to be with this man who has hurt and abused you, make a solid Plan B. Determine what kind of money you would have, if you will need more work, where you could live. Perhaps you could move closer to your kids and grandchildren? What kinds of hobbies and clubs would you join to meet new people? It’s common for coupled-up friends to fall away.
Maybe you could join Adventures for Successful Singles (204-775-3484), which offers multiple social and sports activities and a separate course called Rebuilding After Your Relationship Ends for people in your position.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I went to bed early last night after working a double shift. I woke about three hours later hearing my wife crying. I quietly went down the carpeted hall and came up behind her as she was talking on the phone and I heard her say, "But why won’t you see me again? I thought you loved me. You’re married too!" She was begging! I grabbed the phone and said, "Who are you?" and the person hung up. I demanded my wife tell me who her lover was. I couldn’t have been more shocked at her answer. It was her best female friend. She confessed they have had an ongoing affair for the last year. This is the woman in the couple we have played cards with every week. We’ve even been on holidays together. I knew the two women were very close, but I had no idea. I don’t even know how to fight this. My wife is free of her "lover" but her heart doesn’t belong to me — Broken and Hopeless, Tuxedo
Dear Broken: Is the affair over with this woman? Could it be a one-time thing or is this a new lifestyle for your wife? Maybe she doesn’t even know yet. Does the other husband know about it? I’m guessing he may have found out, and that’s why his wife was calling to halt the relationship with your wife. You need to give this time to process this — and it may well be a temporary breakup. In the meanwhile, see a counsellor or psychologist on an emergency basis to express your feelings without censoring them. If the two women love each other and decide they want to be together, then you know what has to be done. If you can’t bear feeling second best to an ex-affair partner, then you also have to go. But it could end up a variety of other ways. If you love her deeply and there are children, don’t pack your bags just yet.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press 1355 Mountain Ave. Wpg R2X 3B6 or email firstname.lastname@example.org