Fify and wondering
I am 50 going 51 and am working to supplement the family income. My hubby works overseas for the past 3 years and comes back 3 times a year for stincts of 1 to 2 weeks. I am left to care
for my 3 boys in their twenties. They are doing their degrees and diploma respectively.
As I have ample time to spare I took up some social activities/courses to keep myself occupied. I met someone in this circle who shows care and concern and has expressed his interest for me though he stressed that he will not break up my marriage (he is not aware of my marriage problems). I am at a loss.
Prior to meeting this guy, my marriage is one where my husband had extra marital affairs one after another and he even had a child born out of wedlock in another country. The mother of this child died of cancer. He agreed to severe ties with the child but I am quite doubtful. I was very devasted and wanted a divorce as soon as my younger child finished his secondary education. Unfortunately, my husband suffered depression for the last few years and was unable to continue with his work here, hence his resignation and is now working overseas where the stress level is low. Then, the family was able to get by with his sole income but no more as his present income is less than half of what he used to get here. I am staying on to hold the family together so as not to add more stress to him.
I am in a dilemna. I felt trapped. On the one hand I am ready to start life anew (with or without another man) but on the other hand I feel obligated to hold the family tog. and to avoid another bout of depression (my husband's) should I decide to go ahead with my decision to go separate ways.
P.S. Though hubby is no longer on medication for depression for the past 3 years, for more than a year he has erectile dysfunction which I understand is the side effect of the earlier drugs taken. Have spoken to him a few times and he has refused to see a doctor for this. This add to my frustration. With all these happenings, I decide to stay put and at the same time to continue pursuing my interests socially. I also do not want to lose this friendship which is keeping me on the go but for how long more I do not know.
You mention that you are ready to start life anew with or without another man. Honestly, would you divorce your husband if you do not have this other man showing interest in you?
More importantly, Ask yourself, “what would I want the rest of my life to be about?”
You are 50. This is a time where many adults look back at their lives and assess what have they created and achieved. If they have established emotional intimacy, trust and inter-dependence with significant others in their lives; if they have had a career that is fulfilling or if they are happy that they have chosen to look after their children, then they can say they have generated love and meaning for themselves and others. They are ready to live the rest of their lives with integrity.
From what you have shared, you seem to have lived your last 20 to 30 years feeling betrayed, unappreciated and rejected by your husband. What can you be thankful for? Look for those blessings as well or you will spiral into depression.
You have choices. They are
1. Have your husband see a marriage counselor with you. Work to revitalize your intimacy and trust, and get help for his erectile dysfunction. Afterall, a few years ago, he saw a doctor to treat his depression. Remind that this is another time when he should seek professional help. This time, the counselor should help him identity his sources of depression and help him overcome them.
2. See a counselor by yourself, to support you through your mid-life crisis. Share with her your attachment to another man, and your problems with your husband. Seek clarity on what you really want, and form a purpose for your life, marriage or singlehood. Also, seek advice on what to say to your own children.
Speaking of your children. They are old enough to know what is going on. I am sure they have not been blind to your husband’s affairs all these years. Treat them as adults, but do not use them as weapons against their father. They may still have loyalty to him and you won’t want to damage your relationship with them.
Thus, the counselor you see may also be the one to help your children cope with their parents’ choices.
You are responsible for creating your own happiness now. You cannot go on blaming your husband or your children for your own choices.
If you choose to stay with your husband, be clear that you will support him wholeheartedly, to get well, and build your marriage. You should also stop the emotional cheating that you are doing with the other man. Even without sexual contact, just longing to be someone else more than your own partner is emotional cheating.
If you become unhappy with your choice, you are not to make your children feel guilty, saying “because of them, I stayed.”
If you choose to give yourself a second chance at love with your friend, be aware too that any new relationship has its risks and rewards. Do not place your self-esteem on this person’s affection so that if the relationship failed, you will be able to bounce back and move on. You would also want to seek counseling so that you will not bring the emotional baggage you bring from your previous marriage into this new relationship.
We don’t know for how long we would live. You may live for another thirty years, or just three more. Take charge of your life. Be responsible for your life. Whatever you choose, you live with the consequences. No one else.