Q: My wife left me six months ago, after 25 years of marriage. I was dumbfounded, as I had no idea anything was wrong. I was willing to try counselling, but she wasn’t interested; she’d already made up her mind. I’ve pleaded with her to reconsider, all in vain. She has initiated divorce proceedings, and I’m devastated. I don’t understand what has happened. I don’t know if I’ll be able to ever trust anyone else again.
A: It can’t be easy to have your world turned upside down so unexpectedly. I imagine you are feeling shocked and bewildered. It seems as though your wife is determined to go ahead with her own plans, so if you’re comfortable that you’ve done all you can to reconcile and make things right with her, just let her go. Obviously, this is will be very hard for you. Your wife has probably calculated the consequences of her decision over a long time, and so is likely to be more prepared for this change than yourself.
If all has been done that can be, it leaves you with no option but to respect her wishes and choice.
You say that you had no idea that there was anything wrong with your marital relationship. This isn’t an uncommon situation in couples who eventually separate. The relationship runs along in a more-or-less comfortable rut with very little meaningful communication and no opportunity for one or the other to express their feelings of dissatisfaction. Unless both parties make a conscious effort to keep the flame of love alive, it can go out. And the way to keep it burning brightly is to talk to each other about things that go deeper than just the surface.
I know it’s hard for males to talk about such things as their feelings and emotions, but if you see it as sharing what is on your heart, it may not be so difficult. Communication does require practise and time, and this is often where we fail. We become so busy with life and good things, such as work, family and the future that we don’t make time for each other.
As to trusting again, you have suffered a great shock and also a great loss, and it will take time for healing to occur. It’s easy to understand that you feel as though you will never be able to trust anyone again. It may be useful for you to find a counsellor to help you work through your feelings of bewilderment and betrayal.
As hard as it may be, right now is the time to take stock of your life and to make some changes, so that any future relationships need not suffer the same fate.
Time is a great healer.