Is my hus­band back with his mis­tress?

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Pets -

I GOT mar­ried in 2010 af­ter my first child was born. When I was preg­nant with my sec­ond child that same year, I came to know that my hus­band has an­other woman in his life. I shall re­fer to her as K. And they have a 12-year-old son!

When I con­fronted my hus­band about K, he hit me. The next day, he promised not to hit me again.

I called K but she told me that she would not leave my hus­band. She added that if she were to com­plain to my hus­band that I have been harass­ing her, my hus­band would leave me in­stead.

My hus­band and I of­ten fight be­cause of K. I put up with all this be­cause I love my hus­band and the kids.

Some­time ago, I saw a What­sApp mes­sage from K, pes­ter­ing my hus­band to marry her. We had a fight over this and I left home. My hus­band came look­ing for me the next day, and he promised to break up with K. Things looked good for a few months.

Now the prob­lem is, he hardly spends time with the fam­ily. The kids and I feel trapped in­side the house. We do not get to go any­where. When he is home early, he goes to bed by 9pm. More of­ten than not, he comes home late.

My kids are now seven and eight years old. They of­ten ask me why their fa­ther is never around. I do not know how to an­swer them. I sus­pect my hus­band is back with K. I am so con­fused. Should I con­front him?

There are times when I think of leav­ing him but I have no place to stay and no job. What should I do?

Help­less wife

This is a prob­lem that won’t be easy to re­solve be­cause it in­volves so many par­ties, and some of them are chil­dren.

The stark truth is that you mar­ried a man in good faith and later dis­cov­ered that he has a se­cret fam­ily.

If it were sim­ply a mat­ter of an old flame, I’d say he would have to choose be­tween the other woman and you – if you wanted to give him a sec­ond chance. But that is not your choice, is it?

Like it or not, your hus­band has an­other child – a 12-year-old boy. He is an in­no­cent party in this. He doesn’t un­der­stand about mar­riages; all he knows is that his fa­ther comes and goes.

You feel you have the right to your man and this is un­der­stand­able. You mar­ried him, and it must be an aw­ful shock to dis­cover he has a di­vided heart.

This is where you have to be very brave and dis­cuss this like adults. You need to sit down with your hus­band to straighten this out. You have to leave all your emo­tions on the side.

First, your hus­band has a duty to his chil­dren – all his chil­dren from both re­la­tion­ships. As adults, you need to en­sure that this duty is ful­filled. Chil­dren can­not be aban­doned.

Then you have to de­cide what hap­pens to the adults in these two re­la­tion­ships. There are sev­eral ways this can go: he and you stay to­gether, he picks the other woman, or he leaves both of you.

From your let­ter, you walked away once, and then you went back to him. You also say you love him. How­ever, with all these trou­bles, your hus­band has switched off. He comes home but he sleeps and your chil­dren miss their fa­ther. So your frus­tra­tion comes from not hav­ing him truly present in your life.

What is he think­ing? As your hus­band has come home, and has tried to give up the other woman, I think he may want to be with you. Read­ing be­tween the lines, I think your hus­band is mis­er­able and as lost as you are.

When you talk to­gether, try and re­mem­ber that you love each other. Swal­low the hard words and be kind. Don’t ex­pect to solve it in one con­ver­sa­tion. Take your time.

If you de­cide af­ter talk­ing that you don’t want to stay mar­ried any­more, then both of you have to sort out an ar­range­ment whereby he still gets to see the kids. You will need a lawyer, and I sug­gest you seek per­sonal coun­selling to help you through the trauma.

For ba­sic le­gal in­for­ma­tion and coun­selling, you can con­tact the All Women’s Ac­tion So­ci­ety or the Women’s Aid Or­gan­i­sa­tion. Give them a ring and make an ap­point­ment.

If you do de­cide to stay mar­ried, then you have to re­build your re­la­tion­ship. But you will have to ac­cept that he will have to be a fa­ther to the other lit­tle boy. This will be dif­fi­cult as it will mean he will also have some con­tact with the other woman.

Whether you stay mar­ried or not, at some point your kids will dis­cover they have a half-brother. Plus, your larger fam­ily and ac­quain­tances will find out and there are bound to be some rather tricky ques­tions com­ing your way.

This is some­thing you’re go­ing to need help with, and you may want to get a good mar­riage coun­sel­lor. You also need to build up a per­sonal net­work of sup­port, and your hus­band will have to build up his as well. No mat­ter what you de­cide, this is go­ing to be rough on all of you, and you all need sup­port.

As for the vi­o­lence, you say it was only one slap and it didn’t hap­pen again. Per­haps in the heat of the mo­ment and the shame of be­ing dis­cov­ered, your hus­band lost con­trol. If that’s the end of it, and he’s kind, thought­ful and proper at other times, then for­give and for­get.

But if he is abu­sive, then you have to think of your own safety and that of your kids. Vi­o­lent men are dan­ger­ous. If he is vi­o­lent again, seek shel­ter with your fam­ily, call a lawyer and take steps to keep your­self safe.

Fi­nally, whether you mend your mar­riage or not, you have to be­come fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent. You must em­power your­self.

You did not men­tion if you have any train­ing or not. You may want to look for part-time work, for ex­am­ple, iron­ing clothes or of­fer­ing house-keep­ing ser­vices. House­work is sim­ple and as a mother-of-two, you can do it eas­ily.

As you have young kids, such part-time jobs al­low you to be flex­i­ble so you can work when you want to. There is also a huge mar­ket for such work, so you can pick your clients. It’s quick, easy money and if you do con­tract work only, short stints of three hours can earn you de­cent money.

Once you have set­tled your per­sonal life, you can fo­cus on a proper ca­reer.

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