Letter: How Do I Go On After All These Years?

Letters from Readers

Hi Susan,

My husband and I were married 37 years.   Six months ago, he told me  on a typical Saturday morning, while having breakfast, that he was not happy with me, had met someone else two years ago and was moving out.  Within one day, he was gone.  We have four children ages – 31-36.  I am shocked – completely numb.  I am 62 years old and thought I was married forever.  We were able to move through all of the benchmarks where most couples break up such as the seven year itch, when the kids move out, etc.  We always stayed strong and he was my best friend.  How do I move on?  He moved in with his girlfriend who is 32 years old!!! I feel old and discarded.  You talk about “realization” and moving on.  I think that is better suited for 30-somethings and not me.

Rosemarie


Dear Rosemarie,

When I read your letter, my heart sunk.  You thought you were in your marriage for the long haul to find out, late in life, that the long haul is 37 years. I want you to know that you are not alone.  The largest population of newly divorced people are ages 50 and older and the largest dating age group after the 18-25 year olds are the 50-somethings.  That should tell you what is going on in our society.

I could go on and on about midlife crisis and what compels a man to walk out of a 37 year marriage to team up with a woman who is the age of one of his children.   However, that is not the purpose of your letter or my answer.

The truth is – your husband left.  There is nothing you can do about it.  As I state in my workbook a few times — “You cannot control another person’s behavior.  You can only control your own.”  He may be having a crisis or fears getting older so a younger partner staring back at him may make him feel like a new man.  Who knows?  Here is what I DO know and that is you have no other alternative but to deal with it and start a new life.  It is raw. It hurts. Its a challenge.  BUT, you are strong.  Any woman who has raised four children is no slouch.

You have to start your new life with baby steps by taking care of yourself.  Spent time taking walks, join a club, take up a hobby and spend time with friends, your children and grandchildren (if you have any).  Maybe take in some travel.  At some point you will want to date again. I know that seems like it will never happen but I can’t tell you how many people I have met “the love of their lives” well into their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s!!!

Rosemarie, I am not trying to sound Pollyanna at all, although it may sound that way.  I want you to know that you can begin again at any age and you will.

Please keep me informed of your progress.

Susan