A yo-yo relationship
Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 29 years. Three years ago, I discovered that he was having an affair. He claimed that the affair was ending anyway, that he loved me and that he wasn’t interested in being with the other woman. We went to counseling, together and separately, but after about nine months, he said he wanted a divorce. I was devastated. We filled out and signed divorce papers that he had printed online, but he said he wasn’t going to file them yet.
I was casually looking for an apartment to rent, not thinking he would really file the papers, but one day he walked into our bedroom and asked me whether I could give him an estimate of when I would be moving out. A few days after that, I happened to drive past a town house for sale, and within a couple of days, I had decided to buy it. Because we were not yet divorced, I had to ask my husband for help, which he gave. Amazingly, though, he asked me whether I was buying the town house for me to live in or for us!
The town house is in my name only, and I have been living here for a little over a year. Since I moved out, however, rarely has a day gone by when my husband hasn’t come over to spend time with me. We spend the evenings watching TV, go out to dinner and otherwise behave like a married couple. He filed the divorce papers the day I moved out of our house, but when we both were notified of a court date, he canceled it, and the divorce was dropped. Since then, he has brought up three or four times that he wants us to get a divorce but live together like a married couple because he wants a chance to woo me back and prove how much he loves me. Each time, I was very hurt and cut off communication with him, and each time, he would plead with me to give him another chance, saying he would never bring the subject up again.
Well, guess what. Last night, he brought over divorce papers, which I signed. I told him that he’d better let the divorce proceed this time because I’m tired of this. He thinks it’s no big deal to get divorced, and he doesn’t understand why I’m so upset. Oh, and the kicker? He wants to retire in a year and a half and then get married again! Am I crazy, or is he? — Tired of the Yo-Yo
Dear Tired of the Yo-Yo: You’re not crazy — but it would certainly be understandable if you were a little crazy after all your husband has put you through. Though I can’t say exactly what’s going on in this yo-yo’s head, clearly he’s only thinking of himself. He’s demonstrated a staggering lack of empathy.
You need to move on, but he’ll make sure that’s impossible as long as he’s around. So it’s important that you discontinue contact with him until your wounds fully heal. If you don’t already have a divorce attorney, consider hiring one. He or she could be his point of contact so you don’t have to be. That would free you up to focus on taking care of yourself. Start therapy again. Make your home a sanctuary. Join a gym; there’s nothing like realizing your strength. Designate some “emergency contacts” — friends or family you can call when you feel as if you want to call him. Make it so that when he inevitably tries reeling you back in, he finds you’ve cut the string.