It’s confusing the anecdotal evidence and the research you read about husbands leaving their wives.
Received wisdom is that men generally don’t leave – that it’s women who do that – unless they have a lover to go to. And yet the research my friend sent me says that men rarely leave their wives for other women. So that would indicate that men really do never leave.
Yet there are three women in my road alone who are evidence to the contrary – all of whom have been left by men in the last two years – two for other women and the other we suspect had been dabbling and had an option in mind…
Marriages with a partner from an affair rarely work out and yet my horsey friend bucks the trend. Her husband gave up not only his wife and home but ultimately his children to be with her. She maintains that only those who do it in the first six month flush will do it at all.
We all know of someone who has been in an affair with a married man for years and years who is always saying he will leave his wife yet can’t bring himself to – she meanwhile is addicted to their passionate affair, thinks there is no one better out there for her, so hangs on in. At least that isn’t me.
But what I’m fascinated by is the different ways they leave. I had lunch with a friend yesterday whose husband had given her no indication he was unhappy (the signs were there but he never sat her down and told her) yet coldly made plans to leave. He then gave her a weekend’s notice that he was “thinking about it” and then on the Monday, walked out leaving her and the two children crying in separate rooms.
Mine – “he” – simply could not do it, in spite of the fact that his marriage and my friend’s were probably quite similar – un-nurtured by both sides, lack of the manifestations of love, of sex. My friend deserved it no more than my lover’s wife did. One was moved by tears, tortured by guit and unwilling to inflict any pain at all on his children. The other thought only of his own happiness.
It is very very hard for my friend not to seek to punish him for what he’s done to her. Because my divorce has been so loving I often counsel her to put the children first, to try to forgive – but this is easier said than done.
My divorce was so different partly because there was no one else involved and because we spent three years struggling to save it and waiting until the runes aligned so we were both agreed. I am so very delighted that he has found someone lovely to love him. I said to my friend over lunch yesterday that even if I never meet anyone else, at least he has and that makes our divorce worth it. Throughout it all he has been exceptionally kind to me. We’ve both understood that we’ve always done our best for each other with the tools we had available. He will always be part of my family so in one sense, I chose well.