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April 19, 2014 -
Know your limits and forgive yourself

Part two from my live chat Breaking Up: When and How (March 26):

I let my father break up my marriage and I’m feeling so guilty about it. My husband had been working overseas for six months when I realized he was getting involved with someone there.

   I confided to my parents, cried my heart out, and asked to borrow the airfare to go and confront them both. It meant my parents would have to babysit our four-year-old while I was gone.

   My father said it’d be too hard on me, and he was ashamed for me to lower myself like that and beg him. So he called my husband and accused him of cheating.

   I’ll never know the truth, but my husband said if I didn’t care enough to talk to him myself, he was fine with ending it. He’s still overseas two years later, but has come home to sign the divorce papers, and see our daughter.

    I’ll never forgive myself for letting it end that way.

The Guilty One

Forgive yourself. He may’ve been upset but not enough to come home and fight for you.

   Still, it’s not too late to apologize to him (and yourself) for letting your father speak for you.

   It’ll show your own personal growth since the split – which is important, so that he’ll respect your decisions and requests regarding your daughter.   

   Also, so that YOU have more confidence and a ready voice in your next relationship.


I broke up with a woman I loved because it was obvious she mostly loved my “lifestyle” which she kept talking about. I earn well, live well. She’s never known the ease I provided. But I didn’t feel I got enough back in return.

   She never wanted to just stay home with me; we had to always be out. When I had a big deal going on in business, she’d find some need to get to New York and shop, rather than stay to support me.

   We’re both late 40s, but I felt she hasn’t the character for a long life together.

   I gave her enough money for a year’s rent on her own, and did it a month before our union could be considered “common-law.”

Decisive Action

She knew what she was after, and you knew your limits. Neither of you were completely open, despite any real love which you felt.

  From your perspective, you cut ties in a fairly responsible way.

   From her perspective, you dumped her with regard to your finances. However, she wasn’t supportive. So the break-up was something you both should’ve expected.

My husband (eight years together) is a good man and father. He lacks passion, but I’m feeling a greater need for it in my life. 

   Do you leave a husband and your kid’s dad because you’re bored and restless? If not, how do you get past those feelings?  

 What if I never meet a man who’s sexually hot for me but also decent and kind to my children?

So Torn!

“Restlessness and boredom” can be stultifying over many years. But yes, you can also end up alone.

  So start with you. Consider any things you can do for yourself, to spark more personal fulfillment.

   Have you pursued further education, changed fields, got a new job, and volunteered somewhere meaningful?

   Have you seen a sex therapist together, been more adventurous in arousing him?

   Divorce is NOT easy for anyone. You need to know you truly tried.


My boyfriend sometimes embarrasses me with his poor eating habits, and his limited conversation focused on sports.

   My parents warned me that he may not be the right match, but I got angry and more determined to make it work. 

    He’s just had a simpler upbringing and isn’t as ambitious as me. I’ve tried to coax him back to school, but he’s not interested.

    My mom says I should break up before we get engaged (he keeps asking me) and I get stuck. Is she right? 

Warned and Worried

Your mom’s warning isn’t subtle, but she’s worried about your future.

   Stop reacting, and look closer. His eating habits can change, if he recognizes they diminish his self-image everywhere, not just with you. Same with showing no interests other than sports.

   But, can you live comfortably with the level of learning and ambition that he’s at now? That’s what you need to consider, no matter what Mom thinks.

Tip of the Day:

Just being there isn’t a relationship, both people need to adapt and make changes. 

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