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‘Texts husband sent making me rethink marriage but I don’t want to be alone’

Dear Coleen,

I’ve been unhappy in my marriage for a long time. I’ve been with my husband for over 30 years and we have three amazing teenage children. People think I have it all – a great home, ­financially stable and lovely holidays.

But, the truth is, I’ve been sad for years. Several years ago I had a feeling my husband was up to something, so I looked through his phone and found he was messaging another woman, who’s a family friend.

It started as just catching up with each other, but led to them talking about their personal relationships and my husband telling her all these lies about me and all the things I wouldn’t let him do. He also commented on how hot this woman is and what their ­families would think if they got together.

I was devastated, I confronted him and he was apologetic, and said he just wanted attention. Even though I forgave him, to this day it upsets me. Also, it doesn’t help that my husband’s behaviour towards me at times is controlling, especially when he’s had a drink. This has been the case for years.

Now I’m older and the kids are grown up, I’m finding it harder to tolerate him and I’m thinking of the future when the children are no longer here.

If I’m honest, my biggest fear is being on my own, especially at my age as all I’ve ever known is being in a ­relationship with him. I feel guilty for even talking about this as I feel it’s a betrayal and my husband would be devastated if he found out.

But I’m feeling so low I need advice on what to do.

Coleen says

First of all, you have nothing to feel guilty for – you’re reaching out for advice and support, which is a positive thing. What you say about your fears about the future when your kids leave home is very important because all you’ll be left with is each other.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried ­relationship therapy or if you want to, but even if it doesn’t help you to repair the marriage it can help you to work through a separation. You could also have counselling on your own, which is what I did when my first marriage was in trouble and it gave me the strength to leave my husband.

If you’ve made your mind up that you want to leave, then you can. I’m 55 and divorced my second husband a couple of years ago, and now the dust has settled I couldn’t be happier.

Yes, at the time the thought of being on my own again was terrifying, but once I set the wheels in motion, and with each step I took, it got easier.

I had lots of support from my grown-up kids, as well as my friends, and I got through it. You’ve been a good wife and a great mum, and you deserve to be happy. Maybe you just need to hear that and start to believe it.

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