Broken Vows

13 Feb

Dear LetterBalm: I am in a young, unfortunate marriage. My husband and I have been married only three years, and for two of those years he’s been cheating on me. He doesn’t think I know – but I have known since the beginning. I’ve said nothing to him while I’ve spent a lot of time crying privately and figuring out what to do. The strain and hurt have been enormous, and I’m only 22. I’ve decided to leave him, even though it will be difficult economically. What can I say to him to let him know once and for all what he’s done to me?

–Shattered

How heartbreaking that the vows you made as a young bride were dashed by a man who was in no way ready to commit to his marriage. Ms. L.B. advises you to take things slowly and carefully (and, unfortunately, get tested for STDs). Try to find an affordable therapist who can help you work through your disillusionment and self-esteem. At the same time, consult a divorce attorney about the law in your state and whether an annulment is feasible. You also need some discreet advice to protect your finances. Don’t discuss any of this with family, friends or your husband. When everything is ready, work out with your lawyer what you’ll say and sit down with your husband. If you fear his reaction, ask friends to stop by to be there for you:

Carlos, this won’t take long and I need your full attention. You have been cheating on me for the past two years, and I’ve known from the beginning. Please don’t deny it – we’re way past any excuses. You’ve betrayed me and caused me terrible pain. I’ve taken steps to have our marriage annulled/I’m divorcing you. There’s nothing more to say. I suggest you get a lawyer – here’s my lawyer’s card. Starting tonight, please pack a bag and stay somewhere else. Our lawyers can work out a plan for you to come for your things. I wish you well, although that’s more than you deserve. Please pack now – Carlita and Jose are stopping by soon, and I don’t want you here when they come.

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