Wife Left Him & Kids
Q: My wife of twelve years decided the day after our daughter's 3rd birthday that she cannot be a wife or mother anymore. So I am now a single dad of our two kids. She has been a wonderful wife and mother but now has become evil. She has pushed me and her kids away and does not want our help or says we can't help her. She says it was nothing I had done. She maintains her innocence that there is no one or nothing, she just needs space, even from her kids. My children and I are in therapy. We have learned recently that she has a male friend, and the girls met him a day after finding out about him. I try to make sense of this and figure out where I went wrong. I see my children hurting, and I can't make it better. I have never loved someone so much, and I should walk, but I keep holding on to everything I had believed in before this happened. I'm very confused, and I have never felt so alone in my life. I hope you have some advice for me on how to cope with this. -- Scott, 34
Dr. Susan: As soon as you said your wife had changed dramatically and left you and your children, I suspected there was another man. And sure enough. What a stereotyped crisis she's putting you all through. New job, new man, out with the old, etc. My heart breaks for your kids and their loss, and for you and your confusion.
Rest assured, it's not something you've done wrong. She's having an affair and her hormones have gone nuts. You and the girls are collateral damage. I hope your therapist has experience with families that have been hurt by affairs. You might want to read Pittman's book, Private Lies. It does a great job of explaining the nuttiness and pain that affairs cause to all parties. Continue being a good parent to your kids, and concentrate on convincing yourself and them that this is not your or their fault. Your wife has temporarily lost her mind. Talk to the therapist about how to keep your kids safe and sane. Maybe your wife will return, if not to you, at least to her children, and thus you don't want to badmouth her to them. That's hard, I know. People can be very mean to one another in their selfish search for what they see as happiness.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.