Separation after 24 years

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    I’m reaching out for support. Two days after Christmas I found out that my husband of 24 years had an affair two years ago. This relationship has continued in the form of emails (she is in his home country of South Africa). I found an email to her that he wrote on Christmas Eve, whilst my two daughters and I were in bed. The words in the email sent my world into a downward spin. She is his “light, his love, his soulmate”. He thinks about her and misses her every day… I’m overwhelmed with grief, anger, sadness, humiliation…. I’ve since found out that she is not the only one. There have been others, spanning back over 10 years. I fear that there are even more that I don’t know about. The devastation that this has left us with is immense. With it being Christmas, our wedding anniversary was on 29th Dec, and now it’s New Year’s Eve….it’s all just too much…. Last night I received an email from the woman in South Africa, blaming me for his actions. Saying what she and my husband have cannot be destroyed but also saying that I should fight for my marriage and be the wife that he and she think I should be. She says she is blameless. She has been totally blinded by my husbands charm and believes all he says. Although I shouldn’t be giving her words any consideration, I feel so wounded by her words. It’s added to the already overwhelming hurt that I’m experiencing. I haven’t replied. I’m trying not to be reactive as I know that this will just perpetuate things negatively. How do I get through these dark days/weeks/months/years? How do I keep things together for my children’s sake? I feel like my whole marriage has been a lie, an act….that he was never truly, 100% giving to our relationship. He was always “putting feelers out” for someone else…. I know I MUST get a grip of things, but I’m really struggling. He’s moved out but not far away. In spite of how much he’s lied and deceived me, and for how long, he has been the other half of my life for half of my life. (I’m 48), I still feel a great urge to contact him and seek comfort from him, although I know that I would just feel anger and resentment if he offered it. All of my family live overseas. I have a few friends that I can talk to but I find it so terribly difficult to reach out to them for support. I don’t know why. If anyone can offer me words of wisdom, focus, practical advice, anything…I would be so grateful.


    I can tell from your words that you are a strong women who will get through this. Just take it one step at a time and remember to grieve what you once had but know there is a new better tomorrow out there that will bring joy & happiness to you again (easier said than done but I promise it will happen) that does not contain lies. You are worth it! Don’t let anyone treat you differently. Your children also know this and will love you through this time. Most will tell you they are happier once the marriage secrets are out because then there is no lies and no parents tip toeing around. So, don’t worry about them. It’s like the airlines say “in, case of emergency apply your oxygen mask first, so you are able to help your children”. I pray your stress will ease.


    Oh sweet Jane…

    I am so so sorry to hear all that you are going through. I’m not sure who could possibly have words to comfort you right now, as I’m afraid that there are going to be layers of your disappointment, anger, feelings of betrayal, all atop the grieving process. I am so sorry though. I cannot imagine how you must feel. I want you to do something though, woman to woman. I want you to never, ever email your husband’s “other women” back. They are looking for a reply from you, and they will only use it against you. Even bigger though, I want you to ask yourself what replying to or engaging these other women will offer you. I understand that you probably have a few choice words for them, I would too, but I want you to switch your focus on to what/who is the MOST important right now. That is you and your children. You are going to do yourself the biggest favor if you keep that focus. Simplify what you need to simplify. Cut the fat. The “fat” is those other women, thoughts of what else your husband has done/might be doing, feelings you hold against yourself such as “I was never good enough for him”. All of this is nasty fat that you must cut. Because, the truth is Jane: This has nothing to do with you. This is your husband’s problem. It is your husband’s problem that he has been such a coward that he could never be a man to you. It is your husband’s problem that he felt he had to seek out other people to satisfy him. He clearly lacks a relationship with himself, and therefore is consistently seeking outside sources of happiness. All of this is going to take time my sweet friend. If you do one thing, cherish yourself. Hug your own hurt, kiss your sweet hands for the labor of the past 24 years, and treat yourself to kindness and pampering for being an honest wife in the marriage. We each are here for different reasons. And every single one of us is fighting our own personal battles. But please please please don’t take this out on yourself. This is exactly what the “other women” and your husband want you to do, because it deflects from their own pitiful state. You are all you will ever need. Your children too. You already are perfect in every way exactly as you are. You will miss him Jane. You will miss so many things. And that is okay and human and normal. But, all we have in this lifetime at a 100% guarantee of love, support, and friendship is our very own self. Treat it kinder and with more love and sympathy than you ever have. Dress yourself up. Do what makes you feel beautiful. Nourish yourself with the best people, food, and comforts. The best revenge in the end, is living well. You will not change your husband, or his mind. Besides, do you even want to at this point? This is his own cross to bear, and chances are good that he won’t look deep enough into himself to find the deeper meaning of this poor behavior in this lifetime anyway. Don’t try to change him. Don’t try to fix him. Just leave him alone and focus on you. Cut the fat. Let the “other women” fight their own battles. They are no different or better than you. They will not have better outcomes with him than you did. Trust me. Trust the process. Trust yourself. Trust you already have everything you need. Cry. Punch pillows. Go buy a new outfit. Take it back. Laugh at your ridiculousness. You are one amazing woman. Don’t let strangers make you think differently. These woman should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. They are not real women. Real women live genuinely. You reach out to me anytime. You are going to get through this. Not over it, through it. Be patient. Reach out. Know that there are people that you’ve never even met that already love you. One of them is me.


    Hi Jane,

    Sara’s words were so profound I can’t help but piggyback on what she said. As a man, I can not fathom the feelings of guilt and shame I would feel if I ever stepped out on my marriage (if I were in one). A marriage is an agreement before God. The problem with some of my fellow guys is that we lack accountability and responsibility as well as integrity and honesty. Those values need to be instilled back into our character in order for us to be better men in marriages. He left this marriage because of his own personal struggles and place in life. This had nothing to do with you. And as Sara said, his mistress wont even have half the relationship you had with him. Once the sex or emotional tie dries out the affair will die. Right now you have to take care of you. You will have your days but you will make it.


    Jane, your post was like reading a chapter from my life…I’ve spent 20 years with a similar man (I’m 40 – so half our lives)…2013 was the year that I said the madness needed to end. Unlike you, after many other clues, symptoms, incidences, confessions, discord, and a full fledged affair – I stayed and tried to make it work for our child for almost 3 more years – because I was so terrified to wound my child with divorce. I can assure I completely regret this decision- most of all for myself…so as numbed, shocked, lost, hurt, humiliated, enraged, deep in the heart of darkness that you are feeling, and broken as you may seem – and you will especially when you have spent so long with someone – it is truly phantom limb syndrome…I encourage you down the path you are choosing. I have had to not only forgive my ex but myself for staying and wasting my time, furthering my own hurt, my own humiliation, continuing to disrespect myself and give away my power…

    And here’s the thing you can’t possibly know right now…you will weep, you will sob, you will shake, you will scream, you will probably contemplate death…and when you are empty…you will find that still small quiet voice…that is you…that has been buried so long…and you will begin to find a strength you never knew existed…you will begin to find love for yourself you never knew was possible…you will have longer moments of peace…spaciousness…new air…new thoughts…you will heal…

    I encourage to be kind to yourself. Hug yourself – really do it…as you lay in bed, as you wake up…write in beautiful lipstick on your mirror affirmations to yourself – because darling it’s your mirror now anyway;) Love yourself…read anything and everything about affairs, about self love, meditate, cling to all the masters…listen to any and all music that helps…Pema Chodron’s “When Things Fall Apart” is so beat up from re-reading…but it saved my life…yes it did…(and her journey starts with her husband’s affair too)

    And do not respond to another woman’s rage…that would be very disrespectful to yourself…and frankly you’ve already been disrespected enough…

    3 quotes I leave you:
    “When a woman becomes her own best friend life is easier” Diane Von Furstenberg

    “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.” – Robin Williams

    “The more we hold on, the more we lose. And the more we release ourselves to the chaos, the more we are able to live inside the magic, the mystery, the swells of the tide as it shifts all around us -Allow yourself such psychological flexibility of holding two seemingly opposite experiences at the same time – honoring the negative feelings but being actively open to receive answers at the same time. Let it be. There will be an answer, let it be.”- Swati

    Much love, peace, power, wisdom, and OM…your Warrior Princess is being birthed…may the force of love and light shine deep into your heart tonight – xo


    Carrie, Sara, Cyd and SB….Thank you….so very, very much for your love. You have offered me hope and comfort. I intend to print each one of your responses off and keep them in a book…I’ll make it…as a tool for healing as we go into 2014. I know I’m not alone. I know other people understand now. SB…I did exactly the same…hung in there…I knew things weren’t right. Our marriage has been a struggle over the last few years but I put that down to my youngest daughter’s cancer journey in 08/09. That took a massive toll on all of us. She was diagnosed as terminal but thank God, sometimes they get it wrong and she is still here and just about to turn 16. I just thought that we had dealt with this trauma so differently that there was some resentment on both sides. Now I know that his heart and head have been elsewhere, it all makes more sense as to why I felt so unloved, unappreciated and lonely. I worry about finances, our home, our animals, being alone, although you’re all so right…I do not love myself, and haven’t for a very long time. That will take time and work, and maybe if I can get to that point where I do love myself, I won’t be afraid of being alone? I will take your advice and not respond to the woman. Her opinions have been generated based on the lies that my husband has told her. She actually doesn’t know any better….. Thank you, thank you ……. For offering me perspective and hope and courage to face what I know will be a very difficult time. I will try to “cut the fat”. Sara. I know I’ll fail at times. My mind continually wanders to the women, the emails, even a vision of him having sex with another woman whilst wearing his wedding ring…I know this isn’t healthy. It just comes, and as you quoted SB, I must honour the negative feelings, but also open my mind to the positives. Birthing my Warrior Princess is so appropriate for me. I work in the birthing world. I know what a struggle it can be…like it will never end…and when you are pushed to your absolute limit…..but through that struggle, you find strength and power you didn’t know you had. I’m going to write that on my mirror!

    I wish you all peace and joy for the coming new year….the kindness from all of you has touched my heart.
    Jane x


    I am sorry you are going through that pain. If you decide to forgive, you will get over the pain. I hope you find the strength t send him packing and you can start your new life, there may be your soul mate waiting for you.


    Thank you Monna. X


    Dear Jane 16,
    Everything that has been said i can only echo – you will make it, and you deserve the best, as an honest and decent woman. I know the pain of betrayal. Its awful, horrible, like a pain both physical and emotionally tearing us apart. But that what seems to overpower us will not. You ar strong and you will push on thru as you said. U will emerge as you again, and you will see that you will be happy.

    We are all rooting for u and wihing u a happy new year – which you will have, despite all of this.

    Follow your path.
    Blessings and warm wishes sister. Xx
    barbara, dublin, ireland !

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