Gransnet forums


recovering from it possible?

(293 Posts)
dancingfeet Wed 08-Jun-11 19:57:31

Four months ago I discovered that my husband of 43 years had betrayed me in a totally horrendous way in order to prove that he was still 'up for it' and a younger man at heart.I am putting all this mildly as the truth is unprintable. I had no idea he had even entertained such thoughts and was of the belief that we were a happy couple, the envy of all our friends. Since the discovery I have been totally overwhelmed with grief, loss, disbelief and anger.It doesn't seem to be getting any better and we are living in separate parts of the house. I have not had the emotional strength and courage to tell the family and feel trapped and despairing. Is there anyone who has experienced similar at such a late stage in life or who has any advice to offer.

Myfanwy Wed 08-Jun-11 20:47:42

I'm so sorry, dancing feet; what a dreadful position to be in. You must ring up Relate and make an appointment to unburden yourself. It's usually easier to talk to a stranger. Priests, rabbis, vicars and doctors are professional listeners, too. Simply talking about how you feel will help you begin to digest this plateful of heartbreak, shame, rage and loneliness. It will eventually allow you to talk to relations and your spouse. You don't say whether or not your husband wants the marriage to continue but I guess he does. You may never return to the marriage you once had but you could find another way to relate to and live with each other. When you are both ready, couple counselling will help you. Start talking (and raging and crying) tomorrow. Gransnet is here too, don't forget! Lots of love from all your sisters online.

nanafrancis Wed 08-Jun-11 20:59:28

Excellent advice myfanwy.

You do need to talk to someone about it all, dancing feet. It will help,


greenmossgiel Wed 08-Jun-11 21:10:36

Would you be able to go to your GP? He or she will hear what you're needing to say and should be able to refer you to a counsellor. When you see the counsellor (hopefully female), you can let out your feelings about how betrayed you feel. This has obviously been an awful shock to you and the circumstances of the betrayal shocking in themselves. Be kind to yourself. You are the most important person just now.

crimson Wed 08-Jun-11 21:37:23

From experience I can tell you that GP's take such things very seriously. When it happened to me a lot of people advised me to leave the marriage [which I did] but I have since advised others to try to stick with it if's not easy being alone when one gets older, both emotionally and financially. Also men view such things in a different way to women; what is a world shattering thing to you is probably 'just a fling' to him. I felt that I was protecting everyone around me from what had happened, until a friend told me to 'look after myself'. That's what you must do.

silverfoxygran Wed 08-Jun-11 22:35:36

Don't think you have to do this alone. Your GP will take your feelings seriously and if he/she doesn't have a counsellor within the practice he/she will probably point you in the right direction. This will be a chance for you to unravel your anger and make your decision as to what is right for you. Advice from friends, although well meaning, can often cause more confusion. I wish you well.

dancingfeet Fri 10-Jun-11 13:14:41

Thanks to all of you wise women out there who replied to my posting. It helped not to feel so alone and to hear other impartial views, for as silverfoxygran said, friends opinions are confusing as each has their own personal agenda and role to play in our once relationship. I have seen my doctor, but she did not know of anyone who could help apart from Relate and I have been on their waiting list for 4 months now as a PCT referal. I have had 3 private sessions with my husband, but found it did not help as he just avoided the truth at all costs and he was painfully revealed as a total emotional cripple. Also a coward as he did not act on any of the recommendations once home. I am at the moment both tearful and angry. Even after 4 months I feel the rage and confusion getting worse. I realise I do need a professional for guidance, but the waiting lists are so long and without a recommendation from somebody else I have only the yellow pages and do not know who is suitably qualified. On a positive note I have dropped to a size 8(not sure if it is a good look on a 66 year old), but it has meant I am enjoying a bit of retail therapy on new clothes and underwear. Also looking at singles hoidays if anyone has any advice to offer on those.

Joan Fri 10-Jun-11 14:03:56

Everyone has given you excellent advice, and I have no experience to add to it. However, your loss of weight is a bit of a worry. Lovely for new clothes of course, but please ensure you eat well from now on. Plenty of good protein and vegetables are what you need.

A friend found herself in a position of not being able to bear to stay with her husband. Like your experience, couple counselling didn't work: he agreed to all sorts of things in the session, then ignored it all. One Sunday morning she just looked in the paper for accomodation/flat sharing etc, and found a woman advertising for a flatmate, rang up, went to see the place, and left that very hour. She never regretted it. She sorted all the practical matters later: at that time she simply had to get away.

I'm not saying you should do this, but if you DID decide to leave, or make him leave, don't get bogged down by practicalities: they can be sorted out.

It is YOUR future happiness that matters.

crimson Fri 10-Jun-11 14:46:06

I think you need to look very carefully at how you would be financially if your marriage ended; freedom is great, but when you find yourself having to work until, well, forever, to survive it's sometimes better to find some sort of compromise. The problem is that the person who has done the betraying has no comprehension of how the betrayed partner feels, and somehow seems to be able to justify what they have done. Don't rule out taking anti depressants if offered; I was totally opposed to using them until someone explained to me that they would get me back to a level where I found it easier to make sound judgements about what to do. When I'd reached that level I came off them. I used Relate twice during my marriage and didn't find them much use at all [and was surprised at how expensive they were, especially as the first time I went I thought it was free and felt very embarrassed!], but perhaps that was because my marriage was beyond help.

helshea Fri 10-Jun-11 15:01:08

Sorry, but I don't really agree with Crimson on this one... compromise is not always the right way to go... and you should never stay with someone just because of finance and convenience.. you will never find the right person for you, while you are with the wrong one.. and believe me you deserve to be treated better.

helshea Fri 10-Jun-11 15:01:48

Dont get me wrong, I dont think you should leave if you both love each other, but that should be the only reason you stay.

shysal Fri 10-Jun-11 17:19:41

I spent the latter 15 years of my loveless marriage, living apart in the same house, avoiding each other at all cost.Eventually, with retirement looming, I decided to be brave and see a divorce solicitor. My husband was shocked when I told him that all our assets would be split 50/50. Fortunately we were just able to sell up and buy a tiny terraced house each. I have been alone now for 12 years, and the whole family agrees we should have done it years ago.All the pressure has gone.

However, dancingfeet, if the love is still there, I hope you may be able to have a future together.

As a warning to anyone ending a relationship, beware of 'gentleman's agreements' . I thought my ex was a man of honour but along came a new partner and he decided not to honour our pension splitting arrangements, which came before it was a legal procedure. It took a long court battle to obtain my entitlement.

dancingfeet Fri 10-Jun-11 19:04:50

thank you all again for your words of wisdom. I'm so glad I discovered gransnet. This is the second time I have checked in today and it is helping to keep me sane. I don't think it will do any harm to see a divorce solicitor as I wouldn't trust anything this man said to me again. At this moment in time I have no love or respect for my husband and I am still shaken with disbelief at his sordid actions. It feels as if in the 43 years, I have never known who he was and all our past together has been undermined. I am wondering if I should set myself a deadline as I still feel as if I cannot make a rational decision. He is away from the home for a few days and I feel calmer without him around, but still have moments of overwhelming fear and shame when left to my own thoughts which can spiral out of control.
Does anyone have any experience of CBT or NLP. Might this help. If only I could find it.

crimson Fri 10-Jun-11 23:42:12

Can't do any harm to find out where you stand legally. I was entitled to a certain amount of free legal aid when I separated from my husband. I, too felt totally betrayed, but he was/is still a good man who went through a mid life crisis when his father died and then his job became very stressful. Years later we're good friends, but I think, awful as the break up was, there was a certain relief in that I was never entirely happy in the marriage; he was always very critical and put me down a lot, both privately and in public. I also felt that I lived in an emotional vacuum, and realised afterwards that other men do talk about feelings and listen to problems. What you seem to need at the moment is to get some sort of control of your life back, but it seems to me that you have already taken the first steps towards doing that, if only by coming on here and talking about it.

farmgal Sat 11-Jun-11 18:39:37

Seeing a solicitor is the most sensible thing to ascertain your rights regarding money and property, but don't be in a hurry to get to involved with one too early. Isn't there a consiliation service? Far more practical than relate. Even with legal aid, the law can still be exspensive. Setting out in life alone in mature years isn't easy. I found that when my husband left me after 30 years, I just wasn't 'street-wise' anymore and it took a good number of years to become so. Whatever else take your time - and don't rush into anything.
Personally I think the adage about when 'respect walks out the door, love doesn't take long to follow' is absolutely true.

crimson Sat 11-Jun-11 20:11:54

It took me a while to realise that every time I spoke to my solicitor it cost me twenty pounds, and every time they made a mistake with anything [eg a letter] they charged me to re write it. Ended up having to do battle with my husband AND my solicitor. My mum used to say 'when poverty walks through the door love flies out the window' hence my concern at someone ending a marriage only to enter a life of near poverty because of it, especially with the was so many benefits are being taken away from us.

HildaW Sat 11-Jun-11 22:25:56 first marriage ended years ago after infidelities by huband whilst I was pregnant. What killed it for me was my total loss of trust and respect...I still loved him enough not to be vindictive and to walk away with my head held high but there was no way I could live with a man who could do what he did. I was a lot younger of course but I knew that never being able to trust again and seeing him for the weak person he was killed the marriage. As for staying together because the finances are challenging - I cannot understand that. I was a single parent, he paid nothing I was left with all the household costs and even a mortgage...but I coped.
Do get good advise from a solicitor who specializes in such work, citizens advise may help.
Good luck and put your needs first in all things from now on, I wish you all the best.

dancingfeet Sun 12-Jun-11 14:01:38

Thank you all for being there on another bad day.Your wise words are invaluable. hello farmgal, could you tell me what a consilliation service is and where I might find one as I am worried about the costs of solicitors fees. At the moment my husband is promising everything in the way of house and pension, but I feel I need to get something on paper before he changes his mind. Also I think it might be time for another visit to my doctor. Maybe I haven't got the adrenaline from the shock running through me any more, but each day I am finding myself in tears, overwhemed by grief and finding no joy in the things that once gave me great pleasure. I know it is early days yet, but I am functioning like a robot and finding it difficult to engage with my grandchildren. I hardly see my own children so they wouldn't notice if I had grown two heads.

SoNanny Sun 12-Jun-11 14:20:12

dancingfeet, my heart goes out to you. I found myself in a similar position 15 months ago. My husband is much younger and decided to end the marriage once I had turned 60. The details were devastating so I returned to UK from Australia were we had lived for 5 yrs. I felt all the emotions that you still do. In fact I still feel angry, but mostly with myself for allowing it to happen. However I did have some counselling which I found useful as the counsellor is detached from all the emotion were as family and friends aren't.
My retirement has been financially spoiled but I would never want to go back. I cope as many women in similar positons have throughout time. I agree with HildaW, seek advice from CAB as they have suitable contacts at their fingertips. Don't despair, you will become stronger and a better person for it.

crimson Sun 12-Jun-11 15:06:39

dancingfeet; I took antidepressants because I wasn't sleeping and, although I put on a brave face in front of everyone and did my job with no one knowing, once I was on my own I couldn't stop crying. The tablets just got me sleeping again [my doctor isn't one that hands them out like sweets, either]. You could phone a solicitor and just ask them if you are entiltled to any free legal aid [I don't think they'd charge you for that]. I found myself much happier dealing with a lady solicitor, for some reason. I'll pm you; there are a few things I don't want to say publicly.

farmgal Sun 12-Jun-11 16:21:07

Dancingfeet. I'm going back a few years to when I was in your situation, but you could then get a free or cheap first appointment with a solicitor. Look in the yellow pages for your area and ring a few up. That will cost you nothing and the secretaries are always helpful. A solicitor can tell you what conciliation and advisory services there are in your area, and if they would be appropriate. Otherwise CAB is invaluable. What they don't know they will probably ring around and get the answer for. I think they request that you give them a discretionary donation for advice.
My husband professed to being ready to all sorts of good intentions and promises, but he couldn't tell the truth if it was written on a wall in front of him!! I don't think men in that situation can. You can't afford to trust him. If you do decide to seperate it will take a third party to decide what is fair shares, and as so many people have pointed out, there are no winners in divorce, only losers. Take your time. Get out of the house and do something you enjoy, if only for a few hours a day.

HildaW Sun 12-Jun-11 17:44:36

Good advice from Farmgal....I walked for miles to and from work...just working things through in my really helped and the exercise did me good too!

helshea Sun 12-Jun-11 18:40:57

I think most of the larger solicitors offer a 30 or 60 min free first session, I used this when I went through a similar situation about 5 years ago. But you do need to get some advise as soon as possible.

toothfairy Sun 12-Jun-11 19:04:04

Dancingfeet,which area do you live in,i know an excellent therapist/counceller,she has a web page if it would help.

SoNanny Mon 13-Jun-11 10:43:04

dancingfeet, I agree with HildaW again. Walking is one of the best things you can do. It really clears your head. I also kept a journal and would write all my thoughts and emotions down each night. You'll realise just how much you have progressed when you read it back. I kept it up for about 6 months until I felt I no longer needed it.
I love all the advice and sisterhood here!