Dear Christine, Tears to Anger, in Ann Arbor

Dear Christine,

I’ve been in a 22+ relationship with my partner and mostly it was a wonderful relationship. The last few years have been tougher for us because of health issues, hysterectomies and deaths in the family. The passion had dissipated quite a bit, but we still always said “I Love You” & “kissed” upon coming or going somewhere, among other normal intimacies that do not involve sex. But, I always felt absolutely certain in my heart that we would grow old together, no matter what -just like our vows to each other when we had our ceremony.

Out of the blue, she starts being very angry and picking fights with me. She starts making irrational accusations, and it seemed she was trying very hard to get me angry with her. She succeeded a few times, but only after relentlessly picking at me. Then she hands me a letter telling me that she is no longer “INlove”with me & ready to part ways, even though she still cares about me and loves me as a friend. I have to admit, I was feeling like I was no longer “INlove”with her either, but I still lovedher and was hoping we could get therapy and regain our passion one day. We had been through so much turmoil, I honestly believed it was just a temporary phase we would eventually work out.

I begged her to go to a marriage counselor with me and “try to work things out”. At first she refused, but eventually gave in -but she wanted to see the counselor separately. For weeks she had me thinking we were trying to work things out, but she would NEVER talk with me about her feelings or our relationship….she wouldn’t even give hugs anymore. I just knew there must be someone else she fell “inlove”with, but she denied it several times. A friend of mine told me that most of the time when someone leaves a long-term relationship, they usually have someone else they plan to be involved with. I even mentioned this to the counselor, but he swore that she never told him that she was interested in someone else, and believed that sometimes people just give up whether they have a “relationship lifeline” or not. He denied that people usually have someone else in their heart when they decide to suddenly end a long-term relationship.

Finally, after weeks of ZERO communication from her, very tense living conditions and hours of sobbing uncontrollably, I looked into her computer and found her love interests. I found her writing how intensely she loved this man she knew many years ago and has somehow come back into her life after so long. And I also discovered that she was planning a romantic trip with him so they could get together for the first time. I think that even made it worse, knowing that she was going back to men for her “passion”. But she would never tell me the truth about anything. She lied so well that she deserved an academy award.

Of course I never told her I knew about it, even when she told me (2 weeks in advance) that she was going out of town to stay at a friend’s house for a long weekend. I was being extra nice and tried to communicate openly with her, hoping she would come to her senses and back out of it ~ or at least be HONEST with me about it….but she failed miserably. Those days she was away were tortuous for me. But, that is also when I realized that TRUST is totally gone now, and there is no way that we can possibly even be friends in the future. She has lied to me, and now she has betrayed me.And now I worry about how we are to separate all our finances and belongings fairly as we still live in this house we own together.

Christine: Do you think it’s wrong for me to get a lawyer ready? Do you think it’s wrong for me to wait until we get everything completely separated, and then send her a letter or

me to wait until we get everything completely separated, and then send her a letter or recording telling her how I’ve known all along about her lies and affairs? And how much I feel betrayed….and without TRUST cannot be her friend and I never want to see or hear from her again for the rest of my life? Tears to Anger, in Ann Arbor

Dear Tears,

Absolutely call a lawyer. You need legal advice, to find out what you don’t know about how to protect yourself. You have been lied to and betrayed, and no matter how much you begged to hear the truth and work on the relationship in counseling, your partner chose to withhold the truth. If you do get a lawyer, my guess is that your partner will guess that you have verified her lies already, whether you tell her directly or not. I’m always one to push for honesty and disclosure, but I’m not in the situation, and you need to assess your safety financially and otherwise as you weigh the cost of disclosure of your snooping to learn the truth.

I don’t know what communication used to be like between the two of you, but apparently it has gone south in the past few years. It’s not uncommon for long term relationships to mellow and become less passionate, and if both in the relationship are OK with that, fine. It’s easy to get lulled into a routine with each other that is comfortable, if no longer exciting. If honesty is still a part in the relationship, then bringing up the issue of having plateaued in the relationship and not liking the lack of passion is mandatory to bring up. That is, if you want to try to rebuild the relationship.

It doesn’t appear your partner wants to rebuild anything with you. In fact, she has done great damage to your trust and love and the commitment you both made to each other. She is not giving you any reason to trust her at this point, and having legal protection while going through a division of property and finances is really important. It’s part of the reason we are fighting for marriage equality! I’m sorry you’re going through this mess, but you will get through this.

I encourage couples to talk on a regular basis about any and all issues that come up between them. Also to plan for a possible future where one may fall out of love with the other, or may fall in love with someone else. It’s best to make a plan of how to approach that with each other (tell the truth up front, get professional help to try to resolve issues, agreeing in advance to a fair split of the relationship property and money, who you each confide in, such as mutual friends or not, family or not etc.). Working in this field, I am prompted to have these conversations with Susan, my wife, on a regular basis. Having these conversations and working out a plan should the relationship fall apart is critical to do while you both still passionately love and respect each other. Good luck to you, Christine

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248-591-2888Click here to email Christine.

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