After I Retired, He Left Me For Another Woman

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Dear Meredith,

I’ve been married for almost 20 years. About a year ago, just as I retired as I retired, I found out there was another woman. And she’s married too. She has finally left her husband. The day she did, my husband walked out of here, basically the clothes on his back.

Needless to say, my heart is broken. I don’t know where to turn from here. Since he left, he has been home a couple times to stay. But I think it was only because she threw him out. And it only lasted a couple days. Sadly, I accepted him with open arms. Because I still do love this man. But it appears now he’s not coming home. The sad part is they live about a mile down the road, so I see them go by my street all the time. I’m hurt, embarrassed, and mad! I think the hurt is the worst feeling of all.

I know I need to move on. But it seems to be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. And like I said, I truly love this man. I want to stay with him for the rest of my life. Suggestions?

– Retired


You didn’t mention the finances here, but that was my first question: what do you have the money to do?

You’re retired (congrats!), and have so much more time to figure out what makes you happy. Yes, you’re stuck grieving this marriage, but it is possible to multitask. Be hurt … while traveling. Where did you want to go after you stopped working? Can you sign up for a tour? (Day trips count.)

Be angry for a bit and then think about a move to another town. Have you met with a financial adviser about what it would be like to move and maybe downsize – in a fun place? Where you don’t have to pass anyone you don’t like on the way home?

Absolutely be sad, but then volunteer for a cause you care about. Meet others who feel passionate about the same things. It can feel great to put your attention toward something bigger.

You have plans to make and love to give. Your husband doesn’t have to be involved in these new experiences. I don’t think this is the time to say that living well is the best revenge, but take the revenge part out of it and you’re just … living well, which is wonderful.

This might go without saying, but do not let him back in. Accept that this marriage is over – and if it’s not on its way to being legally over, get that process going. Do not conflate the feeling of sadness with a desire to get him back. What you’re asking for is a time machine, to go back to the happy moments in your marriage when there was no deceit, or before you knew he was with someone else. Time travel isn’t an option, so keep your memories – and then make new ones without him.

– Meredith

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