I’m a 45-year-old man with two teenage children and I’ve been separated from my wife of 20 years for about 10 months.
It was her decision to break up and I’ve found it very hard to come to terms with. I still love her and I want her back, but she’s adamant that we’re over for good.
She was my first (and only) love, but during our marriage I didn’t treat her as well as I should have. I was selfish and arrogant, and I had an affair with a work colleague, which I’ve regretted ever since. She finally told me to leave last Easter, so I moved into a rented flat while she stayed at home with the kids.
A couple of weeks ago, she rang me out of the blue and dropped a bombshell – she’s been seeing another man for a couple of months and wanted to tell me herself, rather than let me find out through the kids.
Both of us got upset during the phone call – she said she’ll always love me, but I ruined our relationship and she needs to move on.
I realise this is my fault, but I’m totally devastated and heartbroken.
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What can I do and is there any chance of winning her back? I know I can be a better husband to her.
It sounds as if you’ve learned a big and very painful lesson from the mistakes you made in your marriage.
I don’t know whether your wife will ever welcome you back, but hopefully what you’ve found out about yourself will help you be a better partner if you move on to other relationships.
You might not want to think about this right now, but you’re still a young guy and have time to meet someone else and have a successful relationship.
Resist the temptation to give your wife a hard time over her new partner – it sounds like she deserves a nice relationship.
But I do understand how hard it is to be in your shoes when a marriage is over and you’re struggling with that grief. When my first marriage broke down, I had to drag myself out of bed some mornings, but that feeling does go with time.
It’s OK to have days where you wallow in it, but the next day you have to force yourself to get up and face the world. Focus on your kids and being the best dad you can be.
For the moment, I think you need to stop thinking about getting back with your wife to give yourself the chance to move on and be happy again.
The next relationship you have might be the best one you’ve ever had if you go into it a changed person, having learned what you did wrong first time around. In the meantime, why not try counselling to get you through this tough period?
As you’ll know if you read this column regularly, it was a lifeline for me when my first marriage ended.