'For 17 years, I begged my husband to share the mental load. Last month, I left him.'

How does one process and accept their husband moving on with a new partner after 17 years together and two kids, only seven months since separation?

I am the one who ended it. I am the one who tried and begged for him to work on himself and us. I had little joy in the relationship in the last two years, and he was a lot of work. I didn’t get much back in return. I wasn’t appreciated and celebrated. He was depressed and needed to do counselling but refused to go. 

We were friends for 17 years before we got together, so our friendship was always a huge part of our relationship. 

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We laughed so much, we were into the same things, we really got each other. 

But to not work on himself and just move on to someone new, I’m SO hurt. I keep crying, but I also feel like - what do I expect? I ended it, not him. When he recently asked me to look after his cat (and the kids) for five days so he could go stay with her, I got angry with him. 

I said, “How can you ask me to do that?”. I was crying. His answer was: “I don’t see what the problem is, you broke up with me, you don’t want to be with me anymore, so why do you care if I’m with someone else?”. I was speechless. 

How can I care?! I’m devastated.

The new partner is a friend of one of our friends - so kind of in our friendship group. And now she gets the best bits of him I had in the beginning. His humour, charm, romantic gestures, affection. And I am left with a load of weird guys on dating apps. Let's face it – the women are better catches than the men most of the time. 

It feels as if by him moving on with someone else he has just erased our whole life together. 17 years of joy, laughter, struggles, children, holidays and family get together’s with our wonderful brothers and sisters and their children. 

Gone. Clean slate. New woman.

I am still grieving and trying to process my new life, and I am not ready to give myself physically or emotionally to anyone else right now. I need time to be with myself and work on myself. Him, not so much. My friends keep telling me not to worry as he will not change and someone else can now deal with him, I am free of him. 


But I still love him - I just can’t live with him. This is what makes it hard for women to break up with nice guys, because he is a nice guy. For so long I held on because of this. I actually had a friend say about a year ago: “Don’t break up with him. There are no other guys out there. He’s not that bad”. 

This advice came from a friend who has been miserable in her marriage for over 10 years. Who HATES her husband and constantly complains about him. But she won’t leave, I’m not sure why. 

But I did, and as hard as it is, and I am really proud of myself for it. 

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I feel sad, hurt, lost, scared and worried about my future, but I am no longer angry. I am no longer resentful. I am not waiting for him to buy me a present, take me out, help clean the house or fix the broken WHATEVER. 

He is no longer in the other room asleep after work or on the weekends leaving me to do all the housework and look after the kids. I can buy what I want now without having to explain it to him or justify it. I can plan a holiday for myself and friends without him saying I can’t go because we can’t afford it (we could). 

I can spoil myself when I want. Of course I have less money now, a lot less, but with little I have... I can do with it as I please. 

My beautiful sister-in-law (his sister) said to me the other day whilst I was crying on the phone to her about him: “Women need women, and men need women”. One thing he said to me not long after he moved out was that I would be ok because I had a great group of friends and support, however he was lonely. 

He has male friends, but as is common, they do not provide the same emotional support as women do. I am so lucky to have amazing female friends who are totally there for me at the moment and pretty much will be what gets me through this. 

So off he goes, into the arms of another woman. As I write this, he is with her and I have the kids. 

I’m trying not to think about it, but it’s hard, and it hurts. I think all I have is time. Time to grieve, time to re-invent myself, time to grow and change. 

And hopefully, by taking the time and doing the work I will one day meet someone who cherishes and adores me. And buys me a f***ing present for my birthday!

Feature Image: Getty.