Updated: July 12, 2012 6:11AM
DEAR CHERYL: I intercepted a message from my wife of 30 years to her nephew. She was using our Facebook account.
The message read, in part: “We’re getting ready to move and it makes me nervous. In five years I get a life of my own. Until then I just need to survive and go through the motions, put on a happy face and pretend.”
Here’s some background: In 2008, she had sent me a text at work saying we needed to talk. When we talked, she said that she loved me but wasn’t in love with me. She asked for a divorce. I know she was involved with a co-worker.
She later called off the divorce. When I asked her why, she said, “I have decided to love you.” I never really got a better answer than that. Part of me wonders if she stayed for economic reasons.
I’m not blameless. I’ve been a bad boy on the Internet, all of it fantasy though. She has questions about that that she’s unwilling to ask me face-to-face. She’ll only ask me by email.
The morning that I discovered her message to her nephew, I drafted a message to her, but I haven’t sent it. It reads: “If you want to go through the motions and put on a happy face, that’s fine. I had questions four years ago that were never satisfactorily answered. Now you have questions that you’re afraid to ask me in person. Unless there’s some dialogue between us, I’m done. I’ve made up my mind.”
Should I stay or should I go? If I’m going to have to start my life over again, do I really want to delay that process for five years?
Having just filed for Chapter 13 complicates that answer. I’m 55 and can retire at 60, but I’m thinking that I’ll work until I’m 62 and rebuild my credit.
NOBODY HAS TO
GRIN AND BEAR ME
DEAR NOBODY HAS TO GRIN AND BEAR ME: Finding that post was the best thing that ever happened to your marriage, which may be why your wife left it where she did. It’s a chance for both of you to put everything on the table, decide where you are, where you want to go, and if you want to go there together.
The two of you need to sit down with a counselor and address the big honking elephants in the room. She has to come clean about why she wanted the divorce and then changed her mind. I’m not buying the “I decided to love you.” Did her co-worker get cold feet? Did she? Was it a financial decision?
Then you need to understand why you were being a bad boy on the Internet. What void was it filling? Is it something you’re willing to give up? How does she feel about it? Does it make her feel diminished? Insecure?
And finally, she has to explain her post. Is she really planning on leaving in five years or just blowing off steam? If she’s really planning on leaving, why is she waiting? What happens in five years? I’m guessing money — pensions, early retirement, etc. — has a lot to do with it.
Once you know what’s going on, you’ll be able to make a decision about whether to stay or go.
Good luck and stay in touch!