Dear Fiona: My husband left me for my friend and I don’t know how to cope

29 March 2022

The problem…

“My husband and I were married for 15 years. I thought we were happy together, so when he walked out on me it was a real shock, and when he said he’d been having an affair, I was devastated. It turned out the woman concerned was someone I had thought was my friend. I was so hurt and upset but was in too much of a state of shock to do anything about it.

“After he had been gone for about six months though, I felt I needed to understand what had happened and why he left me. I went around to his house, and I thought we could just talk so he could help me understand where our marriage had gone wrong. Instead, he stood on the doorstep and yelled at me.

“He said she was everything I had never been and that, by coming to his house, I was harassing him. He said we’d never had a thing in common and he couldn’t understand why he’d stayed with me for so long. That was three months ago. I was utterly devastated and haven’t really stopped crying since.

“He seemed such a good man whilst we were married, and I can’t understand why he’s now like this. I don’t seem to be able to cope without him, but I know I’m going to have to. Every day just seems endless and I feel so lost and alone, even though my friends have tried to help.”

Fiona says…

“By my estimation, it is around nine months since your husband left you. You say you can’t cope – but you have coped. Perhaps not as well as you would have liked – but you are still here, still coping, and still able to write a good email. Take pride in that, because it is an excellent start to rebuilding your self-esteem.

“Despite you thinking your husband was a good man, his behaviour is despicable. He is the one who had an affair behind your back with a friend – that’s a double deception. She has let you down as well. He is the one who walked out and left you in the lurch, and he is the one that cannot even hold a polite conversation on his doorstep. These do not sound like the actions of a good man, but of someone who is behaving very cruelly and selfishly.

“Coping alone after being in a long-term relationship that ends can, for some people, feel worse than a bereavement. Not only do you have to cope with the loss of a partner, but you also have to cope with their rejection. If you still want to understand where your marriage went wrong, I suggest you consider going to see Relate ( Talking to one of their counsellors will help you understand yourself better, and hopefully you will learn that you didn’t deserve this.

“Whilst there are always two sides to every story, and I don’t know his, your husband is certainly not the man you thought he was. No one deserves to be treated like this, however incompatible he thinks the two of you were. Make the most of what your friends are offering you and keep building on what you’ve achieved so far. I would also suggest that you might well be traumatised by what has happened and that’s something your doctor might be able to help you with.”

If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to [email protected] for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

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