After six years, I fell out of love with my husband; we divorced in 2017.
There was a lot wrong, we had a poor sex life (I craved passion and creativity). But I did love being married and loved him for many years, especially at the start.
After the separation I masked my feelings with inappropriate men and alcohol. He remarried. I sought therapy to manage any regrets/anger and sadness.
After one year of separation (at the end of 2015), I met someone online. He lived three hours away, but I travelled to see him most weekends — falling for his carefree attitude, passionate personality and exciting sex. After six months, he asked me to move in — an exciting new romantic adventure.
We had a few bumps in our relationship — women kept appearing on his phone (casual past hook-ups mainly) which I excused as we were new still and like me he had a past which he didn’t hide. After six months of living together, I tried to look at his phone. Then I was contacted by a nameless person on Facebook saying he was cheating. I did some digging, confronted him and he denied it.
Thought of the day
May the gentle mountains and the bells of the flocks
Remind us of everything we have lost,
For we have seen on our way and fallen in love
With the world that will pass in a twinkling.
From On Pilgrimage by Czeslaw Milosz (Polish poet and Nobel Laureate 1911-2004)
Other incidents followed, then in April he didn’t come home until the very early hours of the morning. He phoned from a taxi at 5am saying he’d passed out on a friend’s sofa. Then three weeks ago I had another message on Facebook, from a woman who claimed he was with her the night he was so late home. Lots of details given, in many messages.
What’s so hard is that what she said doesn’t match the man I love. We have such a strong relationship, sex is plentiful and I can’t understand why he would. Do I believe him or her? It’s bits of both.
He denies sleeping with her, although I’ve said that, if true, I’d rather know now than later. After three weeks of ups and downs, we went away and had a lovely time, but now I’m having vivid dreams about rage and anger. Although he’s really trying to reassure me, I just cannot shake it.
I don’t know what to do. A friend says if I choose to stay, that’s my decision and no one is perfect. But I don’t want a relationship with someone who disregards my feelings for a thrill. He says if he wasn’t happy, he’d leave.
This is the part I don’t understand. He’s such a moral man, raised by liberal parents, works in the social sector and holds strong views on things such as infidelity, lies etc.
The man I know isn’t the man this woman is making him out to be. Am I blind-sided by idealism? Will I become a nervous wreck (never knowing where I stand) or get over this and move forward?
This week, Bel advises a divorcee on how to address gossip that her lover is cheating on her
This is one of those times when I must inform readers that your uncut email would have filled the whole double-page spread of this newspaper, with no advertisements. It took me ages to edit, so I have time as well as information behind my response.
You give no indication of your age, although I know you have no children and that your husband was nine years older.
The impression I gain from your very long letter is of an impetuous, easily-bored, loving, sensual and needy woman who has always been ready to bury her reservations about relationships with men because having a romantic partner was more important than anything else.
For example, after knowing this man for only six months (just weekends), you gave up your previous life, moved into a house ‘not up to my previous standard’, accepted a lower income (your own as well as his) missed your friends and family, and so (in effect) put yourself at the mercy of somebody you didn’t really know, and soon came not to trust.
There are strange contradictions within your letter which indicate somebody who is perhaps (forgive me) a wee bit mixed up.
For example, you fell out of love with your husband and ditched him, yet say you loved him and were actually devastated when he quickly got a new partner and had children. So he found happiness while you had therapy, sex and booze.
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With the new man, you thought that ‘simple pleasures’ would please you and yet you clearly missed your old life.
You liked being married before, want it again, say you feel ‘loved and cared for’, yet also tell me this man is bad at communicating his emotions.
For a while now, you’ve been tormented by messages from women who claim to have slept with him, yet you still refuse to believe them. Are these communications malicious and if so, why? Or are they true?
He calls you ‘selfish’ for being worried — when after four years you have every right to be suspicious, annoyed and upset.
This ‘moral man’ doesn’t sound that thoughtful and upright to me.
Perhaps the disconnect between the one described in the messages and the one you think you know comes because people are complicated, while your romantic views have been pretty simple, and now you are disillusioned and deceived.
Your friend is right. Nobody is perfect and it’s your choice whether you want to stay with somebody who has betrayed your trust and is making you unhappy.
You could make attendance at couple counselling a condition of you staying with him. If he refuses to do that one thing to please you, it will tell you a lot, won’t it?
Am I destined to be alone for ever?
I’m 29 and I have never been in a relationship.
I wanted to be, but it never worked out. The few women I have been attracted to simply did not want to know.
I’m not bitter about it. Having experienced how angry and hateful and blinkered such infatuations make me, I have slowly taught myself to keep a healthy distance from anything that might set me off.
But I’m at war with myself. Part of me knows that there has to be something fundamentally wrong with me to explain why I’ve been alone all this time; part of me really wishes that I would meet someone and fall in love — and be loved in return.
Recently, I signed up for an expensive matchmaking service in the hope of meeting someone.
After I went through the initial interview — where the person on the other end informed me I was the classic romantic nice guy always finishing last — I found a collection of less-than-good online reviews. But I’d already paid the fee. I’m worried I’ve been tricked.
I spent most of my late teens and 20s either depressed or anorexic. I have watched so many of my friends go and make families of their own, and I just wish that the world worked in such a way that there was a point to everything I went through. But it doesn’t and there isn’t.
Am I going to spend the rest of my life alone?
My short reply to your last question is: ‘No.’ But, of course, that confident and (I hope) reassuring negative has to be hedged with provisos.
You will realise, I hope, that you have to make your own luck in life. Of course, some people seem gifted with every blessing the good fairies can bestow, yet if you ask questions you probably discover they, too, have known sadness.
Perhaps it would be a good starting point for you to reflect on the simple fact that disappointment and sadness are a part of the human condition. Which means that you are not so much a victim of fate, but sharing in the destiny of your fellow men and women, who simply have to get on with life.
At 29, you are still a young man, with a long future ahead of you. How will you use it? What will you do to ensure you create the best life you can?
I imagine you’re thinking: ‘How can this stupid woman ask me that, when I’ve never had a relationship and feel so lonely?’ My answer is this: unless you stop indulging in this terrible self-pity nothing will go right — and you will spend a fortune on dating sites. Your past problems (anorexia and depression) deserve sympathy, and I hope you have sought professional help. This might be the time for you to find a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy practitioner (bacp.co.uk/search/Therapists) near you.
Is the sensible response to being rejected to become ‘angry and hateful and blinkered’? And is it then wise to cure yourself by keeping ‘a healthy distance from anything that might set me off’? No to both.
It worries me the more you obsess about women, the less appealing you make yourself as a person. There is indeed ‘a point to everything I went through’ — and that point is to learn.
People do not respond to what they sense is neediness and self-absorption. They want to spend time with those who show an interest and display a sense of fun. Does that describe you?
If I were you, I would find some way of volunteering to help others. Crying into your own navel will make things worse, but opening your eyes, mind and heart to the wider world of others and bigger issues is the way forward.
And finally… a lesson in life . . . from a Minotaur
I just finished an odd, compulsive, amusing and touching American novel which resonates in my mind.
Steven Sherrill’s The Minotaur Takes A Cigarette Break is quite bizarre. It imagines the Minotaur of Greek mythology living in trailer park America and working as a cook in a steakhouse (of all places).
The Minotaur — with the head of a bull and the body of a man — was imprisoned in a labyrinth in Crete and fed with sacrifices of young men and women.
By the time this tired, inarticulate monster fetches up in the U.S., however, he has lost his taste for killing and longs for love.
Bel answers readers’ questions on emotional and relationship problems each week.
Write to Bel Mooney, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT, or email [email protected]
A pseudonym will be used if you wish.
Bel reads all letters but regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence.
There’s much to ponder — societal outcasts, loneliness, fear, prejudice and acceptance — and I loved the book, which I bought after reading the last paragraph first (a strange habit of mine). Here it is — when it seems that the Minotaur’s fondness for pretty waitress Kelly is reciprocated:
‘The Minotaur accepts this temporary blessing for all it is worth. There are few things that he knows, these among them: that it is inevitable, even necessary for a creature half man and half bull to walk the face of the earth; that in the numbing span of eternity even the most monstrous among us needs love; that the minutiae of life sometimes defer to folly; that even in the most tedious, unending life there comes, occasionally, hope. One simply has to wait and be ready.’
Read that again — fully to understand a sublime truth.
Long before this novel, I felt rather sorry for the alien Minotaur. For that matter I’ve always felt some pity for the nasty, scaly dragon under the heel of St George. Yes, I know — soft-hearted.
Yet I couldn’t do my job if I failed to put myself in the place of the vulnerable, even when their words and actions do show ‘folly’ or downright bull-headness. Nothing surprises me any more — except perhaps the ability of the most humble to show compassion and love. That is where hope lies.
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