The pain of being the one left

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Last year my husband said he knew this girl who needed our help. She had what appeared to be an abusive boyfriend. My husband wanted to help this girl, and I agreed- why not help a person who needs some support. However, soon I became excluded from the help. That is,my husband was the main one interacting with her. He would send emails, meet, exchanged gifts- I was NEVER allowed to be apart of this. My husband was acting like he was having an affair. He was lying to me. He was buying secret phones to call this “girl”. He insulted me,said things to me that one would not even say to their worst enemy. Once he had to go to the hospital. He gave me instructions for taking care of his mother, brother, daughter,and this girl- no parting words for me. The painful examples can go on and on.

Now, the girl has a mother. And naturally she wants to know who is “helping” her daughter. She NEVER calls me. But she does tell my husband that her d husband doesn’t touch her and is impotent, and she is getting a divorce- all under the pretense of “helping her poor daughter”. My husband doesn’t not allow me to be present in any of these interactions either. This woman even invited my husband to meet. I found directions to the “woman’s house”.

My husband continually states that he only wanted to help these people and that is all he did. He has apologized, and asked for forgiveness. He says he did not have an affair. But he lied about so many things. It seems to me that an emotional relationship did take place- maybe physical with the girl’s mother.

I feel terribly hurt by all of this. I told him I was not comfortable with these people, and ignored my request rid them from our life-despite the girl saying she would not leave her boyfriend. There are days when I don’t want to get dressed. I really do just feel sad a lot. I feel sad when something triggers a memory about this situation which started last August. I have trust issues now. I just don’t know what to do. Everyday is a struggle for me . I am a little better,but I am still hurt and angry. I just can’t believe my husband did this to me. I don’t know if I can ever forgive his behaviors. I just feel disappointed.

There are days when I know I am depressed and maybe my feelings and sadness are disproportional to reality. There are days when I question whether or not I like being sad- maybe I am just not letting this go because I get a payoff from these feelings.

I have never been in such a state. My husband just lives his life as if nothing is wrong. In the meantime, I don’t want to leave my house because maybe he is lying to me about where he is or what he is doing. I am the one with the scars and the hurt. I am the one who cries because of this. I go to work, and everyone likes me ( most people anyway) and I have fun at work. I laugh a lot. I feel like life is good. But then I get ready to come home, and I realize that this aspect of my life is not what it used to be. I feel sad all over again.

Anyway, I just want to know if my feelings are normal? I want to know how to get better. I want to be able to trust again and be me. I just need guidance because I am really very sad at times. And it makes me sad to think that I am depressed. I never thought I would ever be in this position- maybe that is why I am.
Thanks for your input,

A: Yes, your feelings are quite normal. What you are feeling is typical of the person in a relationship who has been betrayed. Your husband knew all along what he was doing. You, on the other hand, had no say in the situation. That lack of control makes most people feel devalued, upset, anxious and depressed. Since your husband was letting you have almost no impact, your only choices were to either leave or wait it out. Neither is a happy position to be in.

I’m glad that you are able to be more yourself at work. That’s an important affirmation that you are okay and that you have it in you to get beyond the sadness. But your relationship with your husband needs some major repair work. He is either clueless or he is hoping that if he acts as if everything is the same, he won’t have to deal with either guilt or your justifiable anger. I suggest you make an appointment with a couples counselor. Go even if your husband won’t. Once he sees you are serious, he may join you later. But in the meantime, you would have a place to deal with your feelings and to make some decisions about how you want to respond to the events of the past 6 months.

You are not crazy. You are hurt. You deserve to have some support from an experienced professional who can help you make sense of the situation.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Jan 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). The pain of being the one left. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/01/18/the-pain-of-being-the-one-left/

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