DEAR DEIDRE: MY marriage has come to an end but I feel guilty about my affair.
I’m 42 and have been with my husband, who’s 43, for the past 25 years — since we were at school.
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We have been married for 22 years and have two grown-up children together. We were once deeply in love but our relationship has been dead for a long time.
He was often unfaithful and though I forgave him, the trust was broken. We stopped being intimate and became little more than flatmates with children.
Two years ago, I met another man through my best friend. This guy is 37 and has made me feel young, sexy and desirable again.
We talk and laugh together, and he listens to me. Our relationship makes me so happy.
My lover has been patient but he wants us to get a flat together so we can build a life as a couple. I want that too — more than anything.
So I agreed to tell my husband about our affair and to end my marriage.
I finally did that, a few days ago. It was the hardest conversation I’ve ever had. I was in floods of tears.
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I hated hurting my husband, though he’s hurt me so often.
He didn’t get angry or upset, as I had expected. He just went really quiet and ever since has been acting like nothing has happened.
I think he’s gone into shock and is in denial. He looks broken.
I feel so guilty and confused, it is stopping me from leaving. My lover doesn’t understand why I haven’t packed my bags.
DEIDRE SAYS: Ending a marriage, especially one to your childhood sweetheart, is incredibly difficult and painful, even if you know it is the right thing to do.
Your feelings are natural. You used to love this man deeply and he is the father of your kids.
You can’t imagine him not being in your life and can’t just switch off your emotions, even though your heart is with your lover.
Your husband is probably reeling and did not see this coming. It will take him time to come to terms with it.
Reassure your lover that you are going to be with him but ask him to be patient.
My support packs Feeling Guilty and Torn Between Two Men should help you think through your feelings.
Talking to a relationship counsellor on your own, or together – even to come to terms with the end of your marriage – could help you.
Contact Relate (relate.org.uk).
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