I just turned 40 and my husband of 22 years just dropped a bombshell. A girlfriend he had 25 years ago just told him she had a kid with him, that he’s always been the love of her life – and that she wants him back! Now he’s been acting so cold with me and our kids (aged 12 and 14), to the point that he wants to leave the marriage. Just like that. I’m desperate, don’t know what to do or if I should just let him go because he doesn’t want to work things out. Hurt Wife
I hope you were sitting down with a large martini in your hand for that shocking revelation. Cripes. Not only is your husband’s ex back in the picture, but she comes with a love child attached. Twenty-five freaking years after they broke up? What. A. Nightmare. You must feel hurt, confused, bewildered, rejected, scared, panicked and every other emotion under the sun. To make things worse, this ex has declared ‘love of my life’ feelings (deeply unfair of her to air those feelings when he has two kids and a wife, in our opinion) and your hubby seems now to be equally confused about where he wants to be. It’s no surprise that he’s floundering, too. It’s quite an adjustment to find out you have a long lost child. But he also has to be upfront and fair with you and your kids as well.
So now, what to do? Firstly, you have two kids to think about, and they need their dad. So, try to put your drama as a couple on hold for a minute. Let him know that whatever he decides to do with his life, he is first and foremost, a father to his impressionable kids. He needs to stop with the distant, cold behaviour (which I’m sure they feel as well; kids are sponges, right?) and own up to his current responsibilities as a parent – both emotionally and financially. Okay … that leaves you two. Time for an immediate trip to a very good couples’ counsellor (your GP can recommend one or go to Relationships Australia). This is simply too hard for you to unravel on your own. Get someone else to mediate a long, honest discussion about your future. If he does want to leave you for his trampy old girlfriend (sorry, but she sounds like a piece of work) get yourself prepared. Make steps towards safeguarding your future. And by that I mean sorting out living and custody arrangements and child benefits. Given he doesn’t want to work things out and is considering leaving your marriage because of an old flame reappearing – you have every right to hit the road. (On second thoughts, make sure you stay in the house and let HIM hit the road if he really wants to bid adieu to the life you’ve built together.)
Although, as you go about this huge upheaval, and deal with perhaps the biggest hand grenade that can be thrown into a long term marriage, gather your closest friends and family and let them know what’s going on. You need a big support network around you right now. This is really tricky stuff, and mentally, it’s got to be really tough going. Hugs.
Love, reality chick