I recently found out that my soon-to-be ex-husband is dating a 23-year-old. She is pretty, in good shape, and works with him. From what I discovered in the credit card records, he’s been wining and dining her with dinners, gifts, and hotels for at least the past three months. I’m a professor at a local college in a small town. It’s humiliating that I’ve had people in the community tell me that they’ve seen my husband with someone who looks like our teenage daughter. The hotel employee who recognized my husband checking in with his girlfriend is my student. I’ve been feeling so depressed because I know that I can never compete with this woman. I don’t know what to do. I demanded quite a bit of spousal support during the divorce process because I thought it would scare him into staying. He is determined to divorce saying that he doesn’t care what I take from him or how much money it costs, he just wants to be with this girl. Should I approach her? How am I supposed to get over this?
Dear Scorned Spouse,
I know this must be unbearably painful for you. Although you want it to work, you can’t force him to stay. As Bonnie Raitt said, “I can’t make you love me if you don’t.” Acceptance is your primary focus in the first stage of healing from this relationship. You deserve someone who puts you first. Forcing someone who is so adamant about leaving will only cause resentment. You are worth so much more than this man. Don’t settle for crumbs.
No, you should absolutely not speak to this woman. She’s probably in love with him too and it wouldn’t make her rethink anything. Nothing of any value will come from you confronting this girl.
Unfortunately, you’re living a common scenario of a guy who makes a lot of money with a big ego looking for a girl half his age who is probably wooed by the money he makes and the attention she is getting. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with him. It sounds like he’s having some kind of midlife crisis and trying desperately to hang on to his youth. He’s the one who should be embarrassed.
I understand it must be awful hearing about them all over town. Tell people that you don’t want to hear the gossip. People should know better than this type of talk is hurtful and unproductive.
Get the divorce. Take what you need from him to support you and your child. Then, try and find someone who will appreciate you.
Scaring someone into staying rarely works. You have to try and move on for the sake of you and your child. It’s a long process but you will get there and in time you’ll come to realize that he did you a favor.