DEAR DEIDRE: AFTER many years in an unhappy marriage, I was finally ready to leave my husband – but then his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Now I feel trapped because I can’t bring myself to divorce him at such a difficult time.
I’m 48 and he’s 49. We’ve been married for 23 years and have two grown-up kids.
Our marriage hasn’t been good for a decade. We have nothing in common, argue a lot and don’t have sex.
There’s not been any abuse, it’s just that we have grown apart.
I didn’t want to hurt my kids, so I decided not to leave until they had moved out of the family home and established independent lives.
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That finally happened last year, and since then I’ve been planning to tell my husband our marriage is over. I was just waiting for the right time.
But last week, I came home from work to find him in tears. He’d had a call to say his dad only had a few months to live – perhaps a little longer if he undergoes treatment.
How can I tell him I want out at the time he needs me most? I’m so miserable, but I don’t want to cause my husband more pain.
Am I being selfish even to think of leaving him now?
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DEIDRE SAYS: You’re not selfish. You’ve put your children’s needs before your own, and now you are thinking about your husband’s welfare.
Only you can decide if it’s better to go now or to hold off. But waiting until after his father’s death won’t be a good time either.
If you’re unhappy together, this could heighten his distress. Not speaking up will make you resentful, adding to the arguments and tension.
It may be better for you both to agree to separate. You can still be there for him as a friend. My support pack, Ending A Relationship, should help you.
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