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Direct Answers – Shutting The Door

I was married 28 years. A dozen years into the marriage my husband had an affair which devastated me. But with two small children, we managed to rebuild the relationship.

At year 27 my husband admitted he didn’t love me. I wasn’t happy either but believed there was enough feeling and history between us to repair things.

I saw a separation was necessary but begged him not to divorce me. My fear was one day he would come back to me, and I would no longer be available. I strongly believe marriage is a lifetime commitment.

Within a year of separating he divorced me. Six months after he left, my mother died, her terminal diagnosis given a month before he left. For five years I halfheartedly dated while enthusiastically pursuing personal growth.

After five years apart and neither of us re-partnered, I misinterpreted his signals and asked him out on a date. I was rejected and felt totally foolish and humiliated. Unbeknownst to me he was in a sad on-and-off friendship and love affair.

After the rejection I decided to give online dating a try. Amazingly I found a caring man with whom to share my life. For the last 18 months we have enjoyed a wonderful passionate love affair.

My ex, within a month of learning of my new relationship, announced he was getting married. Three months later the engagement was off. Now he wants to give it another try with me. I waited so long for this. I am tempted to say yes even though I love my new partner and don’t want to hurt him.

This is a ridiculous situation at any age, but particularly mine, but forgiving my ex-husband every transgression is a hard habit to break.

~ Gail

Gail, a hundred years ago a man gave this advice to writers: murder your darlings. What he meant was, if the clever turn of phrase you are so proud of doesn’t support the purpose of your finished writing, edit it out.

Likewise, you have a “darling” you must murder. You say you don’t believe in divorce, but you are divorced. Your ex-husband used his free will to end your marriage, so you have proof positive that marriage is not a forever commitment. Even tattoos aren’t forever anymore.

He cheated on you, divorced you, then turned you down for a date and humiliated you. The only reason and the only time he wants you is when he doesn’t have someone else. We hope you realize, as we do, that all he wants is to spoil your new relationship, then dump you again.

Yoga, journaling, meditation, eating right, exercise and all the other things you do for personal growth are good. But in a sense they are only palliatives. They make you feel better, but the real answer, the final answer, is making that decision you keep putting off. I’m done with him.

Send him to the world of online dating and minimize all contact. Don’t let him ruin your new relationship.

But “he’s the father of my children” we hear you say. That gives him no standing. “I’ll prove to him he was wrong to leave me” we hear you say. But you already proved him wrong. You’re with a good man who wants you. Those two thoughts are two more darlings to murder.

You are like a young girl, not trapped by the past, free to make a good choice for yourself. Many women your age don’t get that opportunity. Make the most of it.

~ Wayne & Tamara

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Wayne & Tamara answer as many letters as they possibly can.

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