ASK JEANNE – Chapter 018

Dear Jeanne,

My wife is in love with someone she has never met.

She is intent on ending our marriage (18 years) to run off to someone 3 states away that she has only talked to by phone and Facetime. I am devastated and do not understand how we got here.

Our marriage has been “lukewarm” for a few years. We stopped doing date nights and couples vacations a lot of years ago. Work and the kids have been our life and sex has been almost nonexistent for some time now.

Our boys are 13 and 15. She says that they need me now more than they need her and that she is done being responsible for them every day.

She has already inquired about a job transfer within her company and is planning to visit her “new guy” (what she calls him) later this month.

I don’t know why I am reaching out – or even what you can do to help. I feel lost.

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Dear Lost,

Your story is a painful one. It is also one that you are not alone in experiencing. There are more than a few men that I know who have gone through this set of circumstances and the accompanying heartbreak.

The situations that I am familiar with have not all turned out the same. Each man’s journey to his today has been different. Some have repaired and restored their relationship, while others have moved forward singly into their next becoming.

I don’t know what the future specifically holds for you. I do know that the choices that you make in the present will determine that path.

Your wife clearly was experiencing some gaps in her needs. She seems to be reaching out for the spirit of romance and perhaps even adventure.

As life’s challenges and their reality increase in partner relationships, some lean in and some go outward. Not all partners will share the same pattern of behavior, which is greatly influenced by their own family energies that are carried by each.

Betrayal is a feeling that carries a deep abyss of emotional darkness. Experiencing betrayal can cause a feeling of being almost incredulous at first before the emotional darkness settles in.

Acceptance takes longer for some than for others. The sooner that you can accept the facts of the current situation, the sooner that the downward spiral of your emotions will abate. The sadness and grief will not just end, but acceptance does bring the opportunity to be more grounded in the present where decisions are being made.

Acceptance will bring some emotional stability, which is something that your sons need from you right now. Keeping yourself emotionally in order enough to show up for them is the priority right now.

Working with a professional who can listen and guide you through this season of your life will be highly beneficial to you. The emotional void can become a journey of self-discovery and understanding, not only of your own self but also of your wife’s and your relationship. There are books that can be recommended to help you, yet accountability to someone who can assist you in advancing through this darker period will prove to be priceless in its value.

As a final thought, stay loving. Be aware of how you show up. Anger will fuel more separation between you and your wife while accepting that things are where they now are can open the door to a kinder presence.

We do not know what choices your wife will make going forward. I do know that your capacity to show up with constancy, kindness, and consideration will elevate your home culture and benefit you all.

I also know that life happens and some of the greatest futures have been released through the personal revelations and understandings that dark times bring to us.

As always, do reach out for clarification on anything that I have brought to the conversation here.

Much love to you,