Sunday, September 26

He had an affair when I was at my worst. Can I trust him again? | Relations

The dilemma It’s the usual. He was unhappy, he didn’t feel loved, blah blah blah… We are in our mid-50s, we are not married and we have no children. Together for 16 years and friends for 18.

He left me last year. Then I found out about the matter, but he told me it started only three months before he left. After nine weeks of separation we reconciled and he ended their relationship.. I didn’t understand why he was so upset and I finally found out that it was a three-year affair, not a three-month affair, and it happened three years ago. Why didn’t you finish it? We have no ties. He said it was because he really loves me and hoped that we would be happy again.

In those three years I was intimidated from a job that I loved by a misogynistic culture., was violently assaulted at work, I had to take a lower paying job in a toxic culture until I found another where I was happy, had breast cancer and was very affected by treatment and generally felt overwhelmed.

Your answer? Put a little aside. It says there is no contact now, but how can I believe that? I want to get in touch with the other woman because I’m sure she will tell the truth.

Mariella responds Most likely, yes. But that’s not the point here, is it? You’ve been through a few cataclysmic years, the kind of thing so many middle-aged women experience: a time when the tangible sense of disappearing from sight and being discarded by society collides with the fortunately transitory biological implosion of life. menopause.

As any 50-year-old woman will tell you, the end of fertility is more of a big bang than a whimper. Those who have not experienced it may be less understanding, but we are also guilty of not explaining what we are feeling or asking for help or support in a clear way.

The fact that we enter this phase of our lives ill prepared and with little support is one of my many concerns about the way women are still discriminated against and overlooked. For too many women, this liminal phase of our lives is still the one we dare not mention. The levels of embarrassment that come with it are such that we try to negotiate it with pitiful ignorance, without the hormonal supplements we need, which should be as readily available as tampons or period pain pills, but they are not.

There is no way you missed menopause, although you may not have had a name for the traumatic experiences you have been enduring, so I am surprised that it is not on your list of problems. That you have coincided with a breast cancer diagnosis is an extremely low blow and unless you have had the best gynecological advice (available to few and too often at a price), you have probably been told the route to so many menopausal diseases. , hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not for you. If so, I urge you to seek more specialized support. To get started, download the brilliant new app from menopausal doctor Louise Newson, Balance, but also ask your GP for advice on your nearest menopause specialist.

The bottom line is that if we don’t understand what’s happening to us at menopause, those around us, no matter how well-intentioned, can’t help either.

Your partner has taken the oldest and simplest cure for their problems, but it is imperative that you put their actions in context, regardless of what you decide to do. Understanding that you have both experienced one of the most turbulent periods in any couple’s timeline should at least help spread his anger at his abandonment of you at the moment when he needed it most. You have every right to be angry, but you should look back at what you’ve been through, rather than remain buried under it. It’s time you put yourself and your own needs first, which means you should take the time to figure out what they might be.

Your partner’s reaction is a textbook; yours doesn’t have to be. You are at a major turning point where freeing yourself from the expectations of a world that believes that women have a primary role, having children, should be a liberation. If you are healthy and can figure out how to be happy, you have potentially the same number of decades to live that you already had, so how do you want to spend them and with whom? You may forgive your partner or you may decide to move on, but digging into the dirt you’ve discovered for evidence of further betrayal is definitely the least constructive action to take. He has made it clear that you are his priority. I suggest you sit down and find out if it’s yours.

Much of what has happened is the result of poor communication, but only you can decide whether you want independence or perfect your arrangement into something that pleases you both. May I finally add that whatever you choose to do, you have a great expression. You need to keep writing, which can be a cathartic way to explore the recesses of the mind and gain clarity on troubling issues.

If you have a dilemma, please send a short email to [email protected] Follow her on twitter @ mariellaf1

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