This week, BEL MOONEY advises a 54-year-old woman whose 25-year-old husband has seen several women behind him
I am 54, my husband is 61. We have been married for almost 25 years and I only discovered six months ago that he saw an ex-girlfriend only two months after we started. That relationship lasted more than 13 years. Although I suspected it, he denied it, so I let go.
His last affair began more than four years ago when a passenger in his bus handed him her phone number and said: & # 39; Call if you are interested. & # 39; Which decent, respectable woman does that? She has been married for 30 years.
As a fool he called her without thinking for a moment, and began to visit her several times a week. I knew he was cheating because he was a schoolboy who loved his soul.
Initially he denied the affair and then promised to end it. But he did not.
Recently he admitted that they were both excited about the fact that I knew about it. Is that not crooked? How could they enjoy causing sadness? He admits that he is in love – even obsessed.
I left him two months ago and now live alone, ten miles away. His beloved lives in his city.
Although he still loves him, I decided to consult a lawyer.
During our marriage we only had sex a few times a year. I thought he was gay or had an erectile dysfunction. What a fool! He just did not want me.
I am grateful for our fantastic three children – all kind, well-adjusted people – and two grandchildren. In some ways I have been very lucky, but the solitary marriage is an unbearable sadness. I know he is bad, but I am very much in love with him.
I still hope that he will realize what a prize I was.
I dedicated myself to him and our family and was always loyal and loyal. Why did he stay if he wanted other women? How could he betray me so often?
Even now I want us to come together again and be happy; to grow old and gray together.
Will he ever wake up and see what he has lost? Am I a complete fool and doormat?
I will consult the lawyer about a divorce, but that is not really what I want.
My head says you are going to divorce. My heart says you are trying to get him away from his obsession with the other woman. Why can not he love me?
Your letter made me very sad – not only because you were so often misled and hurt, but also because you still love the man who did it.
I am sure that there are many women who identify with your situation, but maybe even more who want to shake a bit.
Many of us have been injured – and some of us have also deserved the pain. But this is an inevitable part of the human experience.
The big question is how long can someone endure? There comes a time when they might just stay in the marriage for convenience and / or status as well as for love. There is also the fear of being alone – which (I know from the letters of readers) is enormous.
But in your case you stayed because you loved – and still love – a man who describes you as & # 39; a bad party & # 39 ;.
He lied to you for almost 25 years, and yet you would have him back in an instant.
Thought of the week
So, although much will be forgotten if the sound of War's alarm goes off
And the days of death and strife have passed away,
I will always see the vision of Love working in arms
In the district where the injured prisoners were.
From The German Ward, by Vera Brittain, Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse and writer (1893-1970)
You must realize centuries ago that you would never change it – and yet you still hope that, he will realize what a price I was & # 39 ;.
Despite everything that has happened and the contempt he has shown for you and his family, you long to be old with him.
Frankly, it surprises me! It is really time for you to place your feelings under a microscope.
The serial cheat is often helped and encouraged by a compliant partner in his / her behavior. You ask why he stayed when he & # 39; wanted to have other women & # 39 ;. Well, because you were the willing skivvy who raised the children, kept the house and let him do what he wanted.
Was this & # 39; love & # 39; on your part – or pure masochism? What are you still & # 39; in love & # 39; to this man – the certain knowledge that if you come together again, he would probably become a tireless old lech until the day he lost his mojo, and then you would be useful to serve his old needs?
I know that sounds hard, but if you want to go further and reclaim your own life, you need a clear view.
Your desperate wish that he would worship & # 39; & # 39; is pointless – and you have to see that.
For the sake of your dignity, you must make that appointment with a lawyer who has scared you off and looks at the facts of your marriage.
With 54 you have many years ahead to create a new life, to spend time with your beloved family, to make new friends.
I hope the & # 39; doormat & # 39; will rise up under the feet of her oppressor – and will be transformed into a flying carpet.
My pilgrimage brought home the true power of empathy
Bel traveled to Tyne Cot Cemetery, near Ypres, prior to Remembrance Sunday. It marked the fourth pilgrimage that she and her husband made to Flanders
At Tyne Cot Cemetery, near Ypres, there is a young woman with pink cheeks and shivering in a bitter wind on the steps of the great sacrificial cross. Chania is 22, graduated from the University of Exeter and a trainee from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Like many other young volunteers in this centenary, she spends four months in the wind and rain of Flanders, simply to answer questions from visitors of the 11,965 (8,369 of them not mentioned) graves in this, the largest Commonwealth cemetery in world.
She does it because she loves reading the soldiers-poets from the First World War and knows how much commemoration matters.
Chania says she and all her friends were furious about the recent decision by the Cambridge student union not to honor the Remembrance Sunday: "I know people at Cambridge who say they do not represent them."
With a tinkling voice she adds: "I am as old as many buried here. There is a connection between today's youth and these men – and will always be that. & # 39;
What would I want those celebrated students of Cambridge, and all those who say that the scarlet poppy of memory "glorifies the war", could walk with me among the pale tombstones that stand in the parade as soldiers? . They would not then easily reduce the memory of the dead.
More from Bel Mooney for the Daily Mail …
This was the fourth pilgrimage that my husband and I made to Flanders by participating in a special study tour organized by the War Poets Association, led by battlefield historian Andy Thomson. The experience is overwhelming. We learn history, listen to poetry that is read aloud and share camaraderie and tears.
But why travel to stand in that gloomy cold landscape and feel deeply grieved?
As an advisory columnist for many years I recognize the importance of sharing personal grief.
Many letters about mourning come to my page, and yet there is no individual sorrow near the worldwide mourning for the brave souls of the First World War. Many people find it very difficult to talk about loss, so a visit to those huge cemeteries becomes the ultimate lesson in empathy.
By coincidence I come across a row of gravestones with unknown soldiers of the Lancashire Fusiliers; only four of the 250,000 men who have endured the defense of an insignificantly small Belgian town named Ypres. & # 39; I died in hell; they called it Passendale, "wrote the poet Siegfried Sassoon.
My beloved grandfather William Mooney was there too – a teenager from Liverpool who had already survived the massacre in the Somme in 1916. At Tyne Cot I am now looking at these anonymous graves. Men from his regiment. Were they grandpa & # 39; s sizes?
I imagine him lighting a Woodbine with them, visualizing them while writing to their sweetheart in a filthy trench, hearing the jest and despair of their soldiers in their hearts.
Those fantasies are a sudden body-blow. The four Fusiliers may not have names, but my tears fall for them.
My grandfather survived the bloodshed (although he was injured later in Dunkirk) and lived to keep both my children. These other men had their whole promise, all their hopes of the shattered earth, without identity. Blinded, I bow my head.
And so sadness becomes universal. Around these rows of tombs lie marble panels with 34,877 names of men from the United Kingdom and New Zealand forces without any known grave, almost all of whom died between August 1917 and November 1918.
What sense can we make of such numbers? When you visit the battlefields of Flanders, that question numbs your brain quickly because it destroys the heart.
Was that war useless? Have they died for nothing, as some claim?
Such debates fade when you walk solemnly in the tombstones.
That's why I rejoiced when Federal Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in his budget that he would pay £ 1 million to pay for visits to the battlefield for students. A further £ 1.7 million will be provided for educational projects in schools on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camps. Misguided people claim that the memory of the First World War is exaggerated, because we have to mark and regret all wars and all genocides. But – just as ignorant of history as of symbolism – they miss the point.
To remember that the dead of the First World War does not mean that you ignore the losses of the Second World War or forget Vietnam. Making a pilgrimage to Auschwitz does not mean that you leave Armenians indifferent. But some horrors are so great that they are imprinted upon the human consciousness – permanent symbols of evil.
And the more anger and sadness are concentrated, the more intense they are. This is what the young people need to learn, and why I made four pilgrimages to the battlefields. I call it pilgrimage & # 39; because we kick on sacred ground.
The oldest person in our group (of 51 people) is the distinguished poet from Belfast, Michael Longley, CBE, who was born 35 days before the start of WW II and whose father was a hero of the First World War.
Demonstrating the involvement of the young are Mira and engaged couple Sophia and Edward, all 26.
In between – representing every decade – we are Christians, Jews, doubters and non-believers, from many backgrounds, those who choose the white flower of the Peace Pledge Union and those who wear the red poppy from Remembrance. No niggling confrontation here.
Bel answers questions from readers about emotional and relationship problems every week.
Write to Bell Mooney, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A pseudonym will be used if you wish.
Bel reads all letters but regrets that she can not enter into personal correspondence.
For three days, in cold, bright sunlight and bitter rain, we read aloud the words of poets such as Wilfred Owen, Edward Thomas, Isaac Rosenberg, Siegfried Sassoon and Edmund Blunden. At 15 and passionately anti-war I fell in love with the work of Wilfred Owen, whose words have never improved: "My subject is war and the pity of war. The poetry is a pity. & # 39;
Too bad, indeed. Owen received the Military Cross in October 1918 and was subsequently assassinated in machine gun fire on November 4 – already a great poet at just 25. In Shrewsbury, the ceasefire bell rang when the doorbell of his parents began to sound from the dreaded news.
Next to his grave (at Ors municipal cemetery in northern France) I find it difficult to keep my emotions under control – yet it is even more intense to be in the small brick cellar of Forster's House where he found shelter not long before his death.
There he wrote his last letter to his Dearest Mother & # 39 ;, pushed by 50 men in a small, smoky room.
I hope you are as warm as I am, as serene in your room as I am here, & # 39; he wrote. I'm sure, you could not be visited by a group of friends who are as good as me around here. & # 39;
With our own new group of friends we ride along the western front, knowing that for every 3 cm of land a British soldier died trying to catch or a German soldier died while he tried to defend it.
M everyone fights from duty instead of tendency. For example, Edward Thomas (known for his poignant poem, Adlestrop) was a sensitive man who kept a detailed nature diary on the Front.
He found comfort in observing field mice and wondered: is a mole ever hit by a scale?
This brilliant writer himself was killed (39 years) by a grenade explosion in the battle of Arras.
Many men – some famous, most unresolved moments of relief on the battlefield by noticing strange moments of beauty. In one of his poems Isaac Rosenberg hears the song "unseen larks & # 39 ;.
Rosenberg – a brilliant artist and poet whose poor parents emigrated from Russia to England – was a humble private individual, murdered in action in April 1918, 27 years old. So the litany continues. The loss. The garbage.
Between 1914 and 1918 the world lost the flower of her youth.
More than 2,000 German students went over the top, arm in arm, singing patriotic songs, only to be mowed in minutes by British rifles.
All their names are beautifully carved in oak on the German cemetery in Langemark, where a large flat lawn is the massive & # 39; comrades grave & # 39; marks. It is the last, unfathomable resting place of 25,000 more souls, their names recorded on massive black blocks of stone.
After the Commonwealth cemeteries, the German are gloomy, overshadowed by trees. But how important to visit; to also remember the grief of the mothers of Wolfgang, Otto and Fritz. That is what I mean by empathy.
This last pilgrimage has changed me by the profound, permanent importance of what we have seen. And through the immeasurable power of all those silent warnings of the unforgettable dead who cry for peace forever.
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