I split up with my partner of 20 years three months ago. He’d always refused to marry me.
We have one daughter, who’s 16 and disabled, and he has two grown-up children from his marriage.
He split up with his wife when his kids were toddlers to be with another woman, whom he was with for 13 years until I came along.
After I had our daughter, I suffered from endometriosis following a C-section but didn’t have it diagnosed for seven years, so sex was painful and we coped doing what we could.
After I had surgery for the condition to make sex better for both of us, he didn’t want to do it.
I tried hard for 15 years to keep that side of our relationship alive. But we settled into life together and it was good – apart from the lack of sex.
I looked after our home and our daughter, and built up a beauty business. He looked after the finances, cars and so on.
I trusted him wholeheartedly when friends suggested he may be playing the field. I said, “No way”.
He often took out his female employees for lunch, but he worked with 25 women and he was the boss.
At the start of the year, he started ignoring me and, to cut a long story short, I found out he’d been having an affair for a year.
I chucked him out and have since found out he’d had several sexual liaisons, while all the time refusing to have sex with me. I am tall, attractive and slim, even if I say so myself!
He has messed with our finances, putting things in his name and he also told our daughter that he lost interest in me when she was a baby and only stayed because he didn’t want to be by himself, and would leave when the right woman came along. I think she has now.
I feel used and cheated out of 16 years of my life. I can’t believe he’s been so deceitful and calculating!
I must be so naive. Now at the age of 53 (a young 53), I have to start again. Advice please!
Don’t even think about blaming yourself – you are a brilliant mum and clearly a dynamic person, starting your own business from scratch, and you tried hard to make your relationship work.
Emotions are still raw because it’s only been three months since you threw him out but, from an outsider’s point of view, you have so much going for you that it won’t be as hard as you think to make a fresh start.
As a first step, get some legal and financial advice so you know where you stand and are armed with this info when you start talking to him about making the separation permanent.
Don’t play it his way – take control and you’ll feel 10 times better.
I think the hardest part for you is thinking you knew your partner so well and he turned out to be vile.
But now you’ve accepted he is that, get back in the driver’s seat and take charge.
Will it be easy? No it won’t. But when it’s all over, you will be fine. You’re still only 53, and an attractive, clever woman. Use that anger you feel to motivate you.
Let’s not forget this charmer dumped his first wife when his kids were tiny when someone else took his fancy, and then he dumped her to be with you.
Trust me, this woman he’s with will also get dumped. That’s what he does. You are so much better off without him.