My spouse wants out now that I’m feel­ing well

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - el­liead­

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 10 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 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.

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. Friend liv­ing dan­ger­ously

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, she’ll 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.


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