Stop fighting, start talking
Q - I’m a man, 45, in a 20-year relationship, with two sons ages six and 12. My common-law spouse is 43.
She recently decided after a stupid fight that she needs space, wants to be single for some time, and feels her life’s in a rut.
I’d been increasingly sick for ten years with an unknown tumour, finally discovered and removed last December.
Now that I feel better, she dumps this on me and blames 1) that I fight with her mother - though she insisted we move last year to a house her mother owns (we’ve never gotten along).
2) She blames me for trouble with renters in our old house, though she made the deal.
She says that she’d felt like being single before the tumour was found, but then felt sorry for me.
I’m self-employed, earning a third of what she does. Yet she complains that she never has any money because she pays most bills. But I cover car insurance, food, rent, and bought both vehicles.
There wasn’t much sex while I was ill. She says that’s my excuse.
She spends many nights out with girlfriends, mostly from work, and doesn’t include me.
There’s one separated guy I was concerned about, as they all drank at his house and spent nights, and they’re apparently real close.
But she swears there’s nothing going on there.
So I just don’t get it that she’s dumping me now that I’m no longer sick.
I’ve never lost feeling for her and she knows it.
Lost and Depressed
A - Almost all relationship stories that come to me, like yours, are one-sided tales.
But there are clear signals in the details — a sick husband (not your fault), bickering, and income differences. And then, a major change to your renewed health. Surprisingly, even good news like that takes adjustment.
What matters now, is not, how can she do this. Instead, it’s about what else can you two do to try to keep the family together? That discussion needs counselling guidance for you to hear and understand each other.
Yes, she may’ve been attracted to someone else. And yes, your protracted illness may’ve worn her down.
But a serious look is needed, including legal realities, at how this will affect your children, your roles as parents, and your lifestyles, if apart.
Stop fighting and start talking.
Q -I fear that my friend from university is now living dangerously. She’s late-30s, married, goes on a dating app related to a sexual fetish.
She’s talking to random men when her husband’s at work and kids are at school.
Recently, she confided that she’s hooked up with two different men so far.
Her marriage is cold but “successful” at raising their four kids, and economically, too.
I don’t approve of her behaviour but believe I’m the only person she can tell.
She’s always been the risky one between us.
Now I worry about her but feel if I speak up, sheíll resent me for being judgmental, and carry on till something bad happens.
A - If you don’t speak up and “bad” happens, how will you feel then?
There’s a difference between judgment and concern. She already knows that you don’t approve.
More important, you care about her.
Also, you can stand back and see the potential dangers of her meeting strangers.
While she’s focused only on escapism, you’re considering the possible consequences regarding her physical safety, upheaval to her children’s lives, and how her marriage will implode publicly. Speak up.