October 19, 2015

Ask Me Anything: Abandoned Wife Struggles to Move On. {Weekly Advice Column}

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Dear Elephants,

Welcome to this week’s Ask Me Anything, where no question is out of bounds! To submit questions for next week, please email me at [email protected]I look forward to hearing from you! ~ Erica


Dear Erica,

I’m really struggling and am completely stuck in my healing/grief.

My husband left our 12-year-old and me last year for his college sweetheart after 13 years of marriage. He walked out the door stating “I’m not in love with you anymore,” and “You are not ambitious and have no goals.”

That was the last time I really saw him. He left me emotionally, financially bankrupt!

Our divorced was finalized three weeks ago. I found out last week through our son that he married a doctor (OBGYN) last week (the same woman he left me for) and she has a six-year-old daughter!

He told our son, “We are a real family now, and you have a sister!” I asked my son how he feels about it and he did not say a word. He just shrugged his shoulders and walked away to his room.

I can’t seem to get my head wrapped around this new reality that my husband left our family, broke up another family (she left her husband after 13 years of marriage as well), has a whole new family, AND is living in a new 2.1 million dollar home!

He expresses to me frequently that since I’m struggling so much he needs to take our son and raise him in a stable two parent home with professionals. He is cruel and angry towards me.

While I’m trying to move forward with my heart and life, I’m still not ready to date. I still can’t sleep past 3am, and I still get anxiety attacks several times a day with all the new responsibilities I have.

How do I get unstuck and move past my rage and sense of injustice?

~ Abandoned


Dear Abandoned,

I’m not going to mince words—this is a tough situation. Not only have you been left high and dry, your husband of 13 years seems to have little interest in helping you transition beyond taking your son away from you. No wonder you feel enraged.

First, you need to acknowledge that it’s okay to feel this way. If you don’t sit with these emotions they will infect every part of you and you will never be free.

Next, you must reach out for support. No one should have to go through this alone.

I know that finances are tight, but you should make an appointment asap with your general care practitioner. She will be able to guide you to resources in your area that will be a good fit for you; therapists that work on a sliding scale, support groups for single mothers, and possibly even places to help you increase your earning power.

Your son needs help, too.

The confusing messages his father is giving him about what constitutes your family can permanently change how he sees himself—and not in a good way. Even if he acts like nothing is wrong, you know better.

Ask your doctor about the best choices for him as well, and force yourself to follow up for both of you. You’ll need to gather all your strength and resolve to make it through this time.



Dear Erica,

I  am 25 years old (female), my spouse is 28 years old. We just got married in August 2015.

We never had sex before marriage. Two to three weeks in, he was so excited that he wanted to have sex every day. I didn’t blame him since we’ve had a four year relationship without sex.

But after that, he lost interest.

He is the first man I’ve been with, but I’m not his first. I still have a lot of curiousity and interest in sex, and apparently he does not. I told him how I feel and he claims that he is stressed, I’m too passive sexually, I’m pushy, he has no time, he can not relax, etc.

I feel his rejection very deeply and it breaks my heart.

I told him (again) about this, and he said for a man sex has nothing to do with feelings, and that if he rejects me it doesn’t mean he doesnt love me. From August until now we have only had sex about 7/8 times. I do think thats too low for newlyweds, isnt it?

When I try to make him go to a psychologist with me, he refuses. I realize maybe he doesnt have much interest in sex because he’s more used to it than me, and I’m like a teenager– very inexperienced.

Do you have any suggestions for me? If I keep asking him,  it will seem pushy and won’t help.

He gets his morning wood just fine and he has wet dreams, so I think the problem is psychological.

Are there any solutions ? I don’t want to be sex deprived for my entire marital life, and I don’t know if I can bear this any longer!

~ Deprived


Dear Deprived, 

What’s “normal” sexually can vary widely from person to person and couple to couple. For some people, having sex—even as newlyweds—seven to eight times in two-and-a-half months would be fine.

The point is, it isn’t fine for you.

Not only are you sexually frustrated, you are being emotionally shut out. Your husband, instead of communicating with you, blames you for this problem in the bedroom and refuses to value or even acknowledge your feelings.

Unfortunately, though you refer to yourself as a “teenager,” it’s your husband who is painfully immature.

I agree with you that it is very strange that he was into sex for the first 2-3 weeks of marriage and then suddenly claimed to be too stressed, too busy, not interested, whatever– but I have no idea what that means.

As you say, the problem is clearly not physiological (because he can still get an erection and is having wet dreams), but that doesn’t help us figure out what the problem is. Because he won’t be open with you or seek professional help, you are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

You only have two options; continue on as is, or seek help on your own from a licensed therapist. I would recommend the latter. This is an issue which requires immediate attention, and which isn’t going to get any better on its own. Be as brave, bold and forthright with your therapist as you have been here with me.

You deserve more than what you’re getting, and it looks like you’re going to have to take the reins to get it.






Why We Fall for Narcissists—the Devil’s Little Helper.



Author: Erica Leibrandt

Editor: Renée Picard

Image: bhumikabhatia at Flickr



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