Wayne Levine | Man-to-Man
I’ve been married for several years, and we have a young daughter. We have had a pretty good marriage over the years. Though we have had our rough spots, I have never cheated. I have made a real effort lately to be a better husband, and it seems to be working. Then, out of the blue, I receive an e-mail from an old girlfriend who tells me she wants to meet for coffee. Just when things are getting better, I have to deal with this. I feel like I’m spinning out of control. I don’t know what to do.
Here’s the easy answer: Push the delete key. If your commitment is to your marriage and family, no good will come from meeting up with your old girlfriend, especially considering the reaction you’re having to simply receiving her e-mail. You’re spinning now. Imagine what’s likely to happen in her presence!
In order to honor our commitments, we have to close the backdoors. If you’re on a diet, it might mean not stopping at fast-food restaurants. If you’re in a committed long-term relationship, it might mean staying away from Internet porn, chat rooms or the sensual massage parlor. In your case, it means deleting e-mails from women who will only distract you from the main woman in your life, your wife.
You’re being tested. It’s time to pass this test. It’s time to close this backdoor and refocus your energies on the mother of your little girl. You’ll see an immediate improvement with the “spinning” condition in your head. Perhaps Nancy Reagan was right after all…just say no!
I’m very depressed. My wife wants a divorce, wants to move out of state with our young children to be closer to family, and couldn’t care less whether I tag along. She despises me. I’ve not been a very good husband—and only a marginally better father—for a long time. I guess she’s tired of me being so worthless. We’re separated now, and yesterday she texted me 68 times, trying to get me to agree to allow her to move without contesting it in court. When she badgers me like that, I just want to give in. I don’t know what to do.
Quitting Is Easier
The first thing to do is to figure out what kind of example you want to be for your kids. Right now you’re showing them that a man would rather throw his kids under the bus—when the going gets rough—than take a stand to be a strong and loving presence in their lives.
I suspect your wife is VERY tired of your behavior over the years, and it’s likely contributed to her anger and harassing behavior, though still unacceptable.
It appears you have a lawyer. I suggest you not make a move or a phone call—or text—before consulting with him. Discuss with your attorney the best strategy to stop the harassment. Your wife needs to hear that you’ll make your decision when you’re ready. She’s expecting you to simply crumble as you have in the past. But this decision is too important to allow that to happen.
You have to decide what is best for your kids. Do you understand their need to have their dad in their lives? Will your profession allow you to follow her out of state? Have you received the support necessary to deal with your depression?
Reach out to some men who can help you find your truth and the many options that you can’t possibly see from your current vantage point. Don’t do this alone.
I realize your current situation feels overwhelming. But you have the opportunity to be a better man starting right now. Everything you do will be a lesson for your kids. Every move you make will have a lasting impression on them as they grow into adulthood. This is serious stuff. Get the support you need to take care of you and your kids. You all deserve the best possible outcome.