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Jean
Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience:  Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
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My husband is 59, I am 55 and she is 48 but looks like she

Customer Question

My husband is 59, I am 55 and she is 48 but looks like she is my age because of the drinking. Now he swares that he is not seeing anyone or having sex. He is just trying to get himself together by working out and not drinking so much but as many times as I have caught him with her I dont believe it. She hates me because he wont totally leave me but she is demanding and he keeps saying we need a separation. We have been separated for 8 months and I am going to wait a year before I file for divorce. My husband was a good man , good husband. Im just in shock and dont know how to respond to him.

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Jean replied 1 year ago.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Hello, and thank you for your positive rating on your last question. Thanks also for posting again.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

What you describe is shocking. To go from having not a clue that he was "unhappy" to him leaving the marriage and being with another woman.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

The woman is almost 10 years younger than your husband- whether she looks older or not- when having a midlife crisis, a person can be quite drawn to someone younger, may make him feel attractive that someone younger has shown interest in him.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Like I mentioned in in the last post- it's very difficult, if not impossible to make sense out of something so insidious-insane. This sort of situation leaves one reeling, confused, and devastated.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Waiting that year may be a good way for you to have some sort of time line, vs. waiting and being in limbo with no end in sight. I can only imagine that the 8 months being separated from your husband has been difficult, and unbearable at times. The waiting and wondering is painful.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You said he's asking for a separation, but "won't totally leave you". That's confusing for sure! The ongoing contact and not knowing what the future holds must cause lots of anxiety for you.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

He sounds like he's a different man than the person you married. He's taken a different path in his life, one you could not have predicted. You are grieving the loss of him; the "good man, good husband".

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Anyone in your situation would be in shock. Again, similar to a death, it can "stun" you, throw you off, especially when it's so unexpected. Similar to a death you likely go from disbelief- "is this really happening", wanting him back, to anger and wanting to separate yourself completely because of such hurt.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Whatever you feel is not right nor wrong, it just is. Having someone to talk to, help you sort this out is important. Being sure to take good care of yourself so you are up to the task of coping with this.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

This creates uncertainty for your future, feeling anxious about what is ahead. Whatever happens in your marriage, know that you are stronger than you can ever imagine. It may not feel that way right now, but you will get through this- maybe stronger because of the battle you are fighting.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You said you don't know how to respond to him. That's difficult, I'm sure, since he is asking for that separation, but not letting you go at the same time. You must feel helpless and powerless in this situation- that he's in the driver's seat. However, you can decide how you want to respond, how much contact you will have with him, and can determine if and when to file for divorce.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Here's a link for a "love letter" format that comes from the book "Men are From Mars Women are From Venus", by XXXXX XXXXX http://www.acutcmdetox.com/feel.htm It's a format that takes you through a series of emotions. It's a useful tool when you are trying to communicate your emotions to another. You can also find the love letter format in XXXXX XXXXX's book. It begins with anger, resentment, and gradually takes you through sadness, hurt, etc. Take a look at it and see if it may help you to express yourself to your husband.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It can also be effective to use "I" statements to increase the chances someone will "hear" and "listen". An example may be "I'm hurt, and confused with what has happened, I'd like you to help me to understand what has happened". The use of "I" vs. "You" is more effective. Using "you" can feel more like we are pointing a finger at someone, while "I" is owning your own thoughts and emotions. "I feel....when....and I wish.... or want...." something like that. Telling someone "you are selfish, you are hurtful" creates defensiveness in the other, and the are likely only going to "defend" them self, vs. really hear what you are trying to say.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

There is no right or wrong- you have strong emotions in all of this, no one would fault you for communicating your anger- but using the "I'm angry because..." can increase the chances he will listen to you. Would he consider attending counseling with you or have things progressed beyond that?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Thank for your post today. Let me know if I can assist you again. Take care, have a good day!

Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience: Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
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Expert:  Jean replied 1 year ago.
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