Times Colonist

Seek advice before divorce

- ASK ELLIE Send relationsh­ip questions to ellie@thestar.ca. Follow @ellieadvic­e.

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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