Dear Miriam,

My husband has left me after 30 years of marriage. He told me he is gay and has been battling with this for years. He did his best to keep the marriage going and give our two children a normal and happy life. They are both living independently now and getting on with their own lives. I am shattered.

He has always been kind, caring and very supportive during our many years together. When I think about it, intimacy has been non-existent for a long time, apart from an affectionate or comforting hug from time to time.

That didn’t bother me too much when the kids were here as we were busy caring for them and we were both working full-time. Once they flew the nest, I really saw what was missing from our relationship.

He has met another man and wishes to pursue a relationship with him. I am grateful for the sacrifices he made so our children had a happy childhood, but find it so hard to believe he has gone and that he has met somebody else. I do wish him well with his new partner, but it is really difficult to take it all in and figure out what I am going to do with the rest of my life.

If you can guide me on how to keep going, I would really appreciate it.

Lonely Lady

Dear Lonely Lady,

Thank you for your letter and I am sorry to know you are going through such a difficult time right now. It is a lot to take in.

Grief follows loss, and you are in the early stages of grieving the loss of your marriage and all that it entails. You may experience various emotions going forward including sadness, anger, fear and anxiety. Anger can be a huge part of the grief process.

It is OK to be angry — make sure you manage it in a healthy way. You may find yourself wishing from time to time that it is all just a bad dream, then finding it hard to face reality. Grief is the price we pay for love. I believe it would help you to seek professional support as you try and make sense of your loss.

It is OK to be angry — make sure you manage it in a healthy way

It is important too that you try and have structure in your day. It helps to give focus and to keep us grounded. Keeping a journal can also help as you are releasing pent up emotions on to the pages and not holding back. Emotion turned inwards eventually manifests as depression and disharmony leading to ill health.

New world

Know that with time, you will gradually start to heal and embrace a new world around your loss.

The pain will become less intense and acceptance will eventually come with regard to all that has happened. Be honest with your children regarding your sadness and pain. They will understand.

In time, you will have to sit down and focus on the legal aspects of the break-up. Citizens Advice may be a good place to start.

In writing this letter, you have taken the first major step in claiming back your power and your life. You can only heal at your own pace, so do take it one day at a time for now. I wish you all the best for the future.

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