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psychlady, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of a variety of mental health issues.
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Marital situation: marriage of 40+ years; husband a controlling

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Marital situation: marriage of 40+ years; husband a controlling manipulative bully (not physically but verbally and emotionally, treating her like the 4th child of their marriage), provides well (materially) for wife, but incapable or unwilling to show the slightest sign of love or affection; no sex for 8 years; husband had 2 year affair c. 25 years ago , but this has never been talked through.
Wife met someone 2 years ago, total opposite to husband, with whom she feels relaxed, cared for, desired, valued and loved. Husband - and their 3 adult children - found out about wife's affair, and all of them expressed violent disapproval; children tried scaring her with dire predictions of a lonely future when her lover tired of her.
After Relate and other counselling, wife decided to stay with husband, largely because she fears upsetting "the family" - chiefly her 3 adult children who all live nearby and are in their own relationships/ partnerships but who still regard their old home as "home". Wife fears they will blame her if she leaves husband, fears she will lose them as well as her home (her one "success story" if she leaves husband.
Question: should she share with her adult children the reasons for her staying? Should they be made aware that it is primarily her love and concern for them (and her relationship with them), that has made her decide to put up with the loveless husband and make the best of a bad job?

I think she should stand her ground and make the decision that she feels are best. The problem in telling them the reasons for staying or leaving is that children have a strong allegiance to their father. They often don't see or believe that their father is this negative person. It is best to just maintain one decision and live for that decision. If a child has a strong allegiance to mom then she may find a confidante but that is a very slippery slope. If she chooses to stay just for the children then she has to bear the repercussions of that decision. If she feels this is for the children then telling them may make her appear self serving. Instead she has to decide what she wants for whatever reason and live with that decision. Unfortunately it would better for her if she realized that in the end the children don't want her to be miserable.

Please provide positive support or I am not compensated

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