Q. My husband is divorcing me because he found out that I used my position as his former secretary to cause a breakup with his old girlfriend, who was his one true love. They were happy together and really in love. I know this because I used to spy on them. I used what I knew to drive a wedge between them with distortions and deception.
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A month ago, they got together for a heart-to-heart talk about their breakup, and figured out I was the culprit behind it.
My husband also knows that I don't love him at all. He overheard me telling my best friend that I married him only for financial gain and social convenience.
We have a good life together: travel, family, a business and a small son. Our friends envy our lifestyle. I am good to his family, if only for appearances.
Personally, I believe that marriage is about social and monetary convenience, not about love. I will never divorce him, since I am a faithful Christian woman who doesn’t believe in divorce. I am well-known and admired in my community.
My husband plans to reconcile with this other woman once he divorces me. He never stopped loving her, and she still loves him. I don't get what he sees in her. She is just a silly, nerdy, chubby woman who doesn't go to church, and doesn't need him since she makes her own money and has a career as a lawyer.
I do need him. He pays for everything, I am a traditional woman, with traditional values — a good, moral Christian lady who never cheated on him. Besides, marriage is good for children and we have a son. I am already his wife and it is not important how our marriage started. Marriage is marriage. How do I get him to stay?
A. You claim to be a good, moral Christian? I seriously wonder what those words mean to you.
You have been deceptive and conniving, intervening to destroy this couple’s love and then marrying and having a child for social and monetary gain. There seems to be little that’s good, moral or Christian about you. Regular church attendance while lying and betraying others does not make one a good or moral Christian.
I usually maintain a nonjudgmental stance, but your letter presents a clear matter of right and wrong. How do you get your husband to stay? I have no advice for you. There is nothing you can or should do at this point. In fact, I hope your husband leaves as soon as his lawyer can make that happen.
It is unfortunate that you seem to have no idea about what is meaningful in life. It seems that your narcissism so consumes you that you are incapable of loving someone other than yourself. Everything about your letter cries out, “It’s all about me. Me, me, me.” I doubt that you are able to see the world from anybody else’s standpoint.
Now, you don’t want to lose your meal ticket, but it looks like that is on the verge of happening. I can only hope that your little boy will be well cared for and that you will now be aware of the darkness of your heart and truly inspired to make some changes.
Clearly, your soon-to-be-ex-husband has uncovered your deception, and knows that you not only set out to destroy his previous relationship, but you also have no love for him.
Though marriage may mean social and monetary gain for you, that is not what it means to everybody. Even though you were fine with having a marriage devoid of love, your husband was not. Despite your ability to be very successful as a wily conniver, you sound extremely unlovable.
You have little choice but to face up to the fact that the future wife, who appears to you to be a silly, nerdy, chubby, non-churchgoing lawyer, has a whole lot more going for her than you have going for you. Your deprecating description of her has no bearing on reality, which might well be that she is a kind, loving, intelligent person who makes your husband happy.
According to what you have written, your husband’s departure is the best thing for him, your son and his future wife.
Dr. Gail’s Bottom Line: Deceiving somebody you don’t love into marriage is a bad idea, and it’s not surprising when a marriage based on trickery doesn’t survive.
Any ideas, suggestions in this column are not intended as a substitute for consulting your physician or mental health professional. All matters regarding emotional and mental health should be supervised by a personal professional. The author shall not be responsible or liable for any loss, injury or damage arising from any information or suggestion in this column.
Dr. Gail Saltz is a psychiatrist with New York Presbyterian Hospital and a regular contributor to TODAY. Her most recent book is “The Ripple Effect: How Better Sex Can Lead to a Better Life” (Rodale). For more information, please visit www.drgailsaltz.com.
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