To His Wife on His Sixty-Fifth Birthday

Sad Goodbye
Life Lessons
October 21, 2023 Well … it’s over. After nine years, this person has stopped visiting my website. I don’t expect he’ll ever be back. You won. You two are heading into your golden years together. I am walking away alone.
I have given up hope.
We tried to hang on. He hung around reading everything I wrote for years after he dumped me and went back to you. With respect, I don’t think a happy person does that. But, finally, he’s made his peace, and he’s decided he’s staying with you. I’ve stopped looking for him. I know he won’t be back here. I will never chase after him again. No means no, and if the rest of his family never listens to his no, considers his feelings, or respects what he wants, I will. I remember you didn’t have a very good attitude the night he dumped me for you, at least from what he had to say. I tried to warn him but he would not listen, and I realized it just wasn’t the right time to impose my point of view. He felt guilty and there was nothing I could do.
You got angry and blamed all the problems in your marriage on him. That’s never a good idea, because issues in a marriage are created by both people, not just one. You insisted on marriage counseling and then went for about a year. I have to tell you that the last time I spoke to him, he still wasn’t very happy. He said you put forth little effort and acted like you really didn’t want to be there. Still, he stuck with you anyway. You cut off all sex (again) after marriage counseling was over. That doesn’t sound like a successful outcome to me at all. Still, he stuck with you anyway. I guess there’s little reason to put forth any effort when you know you will get your way anyhow. Why do any difficult work to change when you don’t have to? All you have to do is call up family and cry and be upset and they will lean on him for you, and you know he can’t withstand that. You don’t have to tell them it’s a sexless marriage, or all the things he told you in counseling he was unhappy about. (Maybe they registered for a bit, but from where I sit, nothing’s appeared to penetrate.)
You basically got most of what you wanted in the marriage, and he’s very good at playacting to others that things are fine, so of course it’s easy to proclaim that his moving out came from out of the blue, and that he’s “depressed” and “crazy” and needs to be fixed up and straightened out. Here’s a hint: THAT’S NOT WHAT YOU DO WHEN YOUR SPOUSE COMES TO YOU UPSET ENOUGH TO LEAVE YOU. What you need to do instead: Say, “I love you.” Say it a lot. Say, “I’m sorry.” Say, “I want you to be happy. I will do whatever it takes.” Then you go to counseling (pick a different therapist this time; I suspect the one you had was not at all talented) and you listen to what you are told and do as you are asked. Please pick a counselor who believes in looking in family of origin issues. You both have a ton of them. (I’m looking at mine. It’s the least you can do.) Also remember to share what you’re unhappy with as well. And don’t forget to look back on the good times. It’s what will motivate you to do the miserable work it takes to heal a marriage that’s been off course for almost thirty (non)fucking years. Please remember that every ounce of healing you are able to do in this lifetime benefits your children, your grandchildren, and everyone in your family line from here on down. Don’t let unresolved childhood issues create a home where you live like roommates, and a marriage that’s just a business for paying bills, mowing the lawn, and helping your daughter with her children. That would be a sad way to end an emotionally frozen life. You both deserve better. Your husband judges himself a lot by how you treat him. That’s not a great thing, because he’s very codependent and has low self-worth. Ideally, nobody should judge themselves by how their significant other treats them. I don’t think I’m unworthy because he dumped me. On the contrary, I know how to run my half of a relationship. I know that when you don’t spend time with a man, when you don’t hug him and kiss him and you don’t want to have sex with him, he’s going to be lonely and unhappy. I know you don’t hit below the belt and scream the place down in order to get your way. I know you don’t leave a guy alone all evening, night after night. (Hint: If he’s got a girlfriend, that’s when he’s texting her.) I know you need to have mutual honesty in a relationship. I know that when your husband comes in with unhappiness or a complaint and you shut him down, you may think you have won the battle, but you’ve really lost the war. You won the battles, you lost the war and then you won it anyway, and now you’ve won all battles for all time. He’s staying with you forever now. Please treat him well. COULD YOU STOP:
Spending all your time on Facebook and in your room working on stuff alone?
Talking blandly about superficialities only?
Saying cutting things to get your way?
Withholding physical affection and sex?
Perhaps you should recognize that your husband wants to know you. He wants to know how you feel. He wants you to share things about how life looks and feels to you, how he might annoy you; things of that sort. He always told me that everything you said to him felt “veiled,” and that’s the word that he used. Like you were barely visible, an indistinct shape behind a scrim, someone hard to know and difficult to embrace. Your husband is lonely. He wants to be loved and feel loved. I’ve studied up on all this for years, and I think I could have done an amazing job (of course, no one can fill up a bucket with a hole in it, but for those buckets with no hole, I’ve worked on how to be an amazing partner for years.) I wanted to be that partner for THIS guy … but he’s chosen you. So, could you do that instead? Please go to counseling and explore what in you keeps you emotionally and sexually closed off to this guy. If he’s too needy for you, talk about it. I get that sex gets challenging for females our age, years past menopause. Please go to the doctor. Or check out some videos … there’s more than one way to please a man sexually. Don’t make him whack off in the shower three times a week, sorry he stayed with you. You’re in your sixties; the Walker and the Chair beckon. Use the time you have left to share real love with this man who’s been with you over forty years. I cannot do it; so, will you? I’d like to leave this forever knowing you two are happy, you have each other, and you will not be there in that house side-by-side alone for his remaining years in this life. He’s a good, good person. You know this. So, please love him and take care of him. I leave him in your hands, which I hope are capable. Yours, Your Husband’s Former Mistress.