Times Colonist

Seek ad­vice be­fore di­vorce

- ASK EL­LIE Send re­la­tion­ship ques­tions to el­lie@thes­tar.ca. Fol­low @el­liead­vice. Society · Bullying · Family · Gossip · Parenting

I’m shat­tered! My wife of 14 years has been cheat­ing on me. I’d be­lieved our mar­riage was rock solid. We met at univer­sity, study­ing eco­nomics. She’d al­ready planned her rise to the top in her fam­ily’s busi­ness. I’m a self-em­ployed busi­ness con­sul­tant — a choice we agreed on, so I’d have time for manag­ing our lifestyle, the chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion and spe­cial pur­suits. Our daugh­ter is age 11, our son is age nine.

I’d no­ticed my wife’s bed­side iPad left open re­cently when she rushed out to an early meet­ing. The en­larged bolded mes­sage about sex caught my eye.

I rec­og­nized the sender’s email. He’s her com­pany man­ager. He has been to my home, chat­ted with my chil­dren, drunk my wine. I called my wife and told her to come home while the chil­dren were at school. She ar­rived with the cri­sis-mode de­tach­ment of her work life.

She “didn’t mean for it to hap­pen.” And her co-cheater “hadn’t ex­pected things would be­come se­ri­ous.”

Does it mean it was “OK” if he just car­ried on hav­ing sex in­def­i­nitely with his mar­ried fe­male boss? She said a civ­i­lized di­vorce would be best for all.

I’m stunned that she could carry off that guilt-free ap­proach with­out em­bar­rass­ment. Do I just ac­cept that we start di­vorce ne­go­ti­a­tions? What about the kids? I give them break­fast, drive them to school, take them to after-school sports, help them with home­work…

Where do I be­gin to deal with this shock, my anger, my tears?

Shat­tered Hus­band Be­gin with real­ity, not fear. Your chil­dren need your usual guid­ance and pro­tec­tion. Don’t let your wife’s cool con­trol in­tim­i­date you. For now, ask a di­vorce lawyer only about gen­eral pro­ce­dures, the process and pos­si­bil­i­ties.

Mean­while, get per­sonal coun­selling to han­dle the im­me­di­ate shock and re­store your self- con­fi­dence in fac­ing this.

Dis­cuss with the coun­sel­lor whether mar­riage coun­selling to­gether is worth pur­su­ing.

If yes, tell your wife it will be help­ful re­gard­ing the kids, and fu­ture re­la­tion­ships.

Fo­cus on es­sen­tials, in­clud­ing the heal­ing you and the chil­dren will need.

El­lie’s tip of the day

Di­vorce is hard on every­one in­volved. Un­der­stand the le­gal process. Try mar­i­tal and/or per­sonal coun­selling. Fo­cus on chil­dren’s needs.

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