Online Dud

26 Jun

Dear LetterBalm: Many years after a terrible divorce I was very lonely, so I tried online dating sites. I was looking for a man who would love me truly. After several tries, I found a widower my age (late 60s) whose wife had died nine months earlier. From the beginning, he pursued me, even though I told him we needed to take it slow. Well, he convinced me to marry him last year after we knew each other only six months. I’ve come to regret my decision. He expects me to wait on him hand and foot (he says cooking and cleaning are “not my thing”), we rarely have sex or cuddle or go out, and he spends an inordinate amount of time every day on the phone with his wife’s sister. I recently learned that his wife was divorcing him when she got sick; I don’t know if her sister was the reason. When I try to talk with him about our marriage, he just gets angry. I think we have a marriage in name only, and I want out. What do I do? What do I say?

–Full of Regrets

How sad that you rushed into a bad marriage, but don’t beat yourself up over it. The sooner you take control of your life the better it will be for you. Yes, indeed, your mate is a selfish man who wants a servant. He didn’t allow himself to mourn his wife before he jumped into marriage with you. Perhaps he was afraid of being alone – and perhaps he wanted to continue the questionable relationship he has with his wife’s sister. (And, his first marriage wasn’t a happy one if his wife was taking steps to divorce him.) Ms. L.B. advises you not to discuss your marriage further with him or anyone else except a good therapist – you need to find out why your husband was able to browbeat you into marriage. At the same time, quietly see a lawyer and nail down your rights, assets and estate; you want your husband to get not one penny or piece of property. Then, when everything is ready and you’ve thoroughly rehearsed your script, sit down with him. Be strong and calm and don’t get drawn into his drama: 

Joel, I’ve come to realize that we are married in name only. I’m not going to give you a litany of what is wrong in our relationship. You’re not a stupid man, you can figure it out for yourself. I recently learned that Marcia was in the process of divorcing you when she got her final illness – apparently, your first marriage wasn’t a happy one, either. It’s clear that you’re never going to give me what I want, and staying together will just bring both of us more unhappiness. I’ve hired a lawyer. I’ll be moving out from your place in the next few days and putting my things into storage. But starting tonight, I’ll be staying with my sister and her husband. I hope we can keep this civil and be kind to each other.

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