Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Re-Married My Ex-Husband And Now I Want to Die”

I am a 66-year-old woman who retired in December 2012. I was also an Associate Pastor in my hometown and living in a beautiful apartment loft, single and holding my own. I also have four grown children between the ages of 24 and 46.

I had been divorced for a very long time from my first husband. We married when I was 21 and he was 24. After our divorce, he remarried and was married for 30 years until his wife died. He lives in a rural countryside in the Caribbean.

He called me nearly three years ago, two weeks after his wife died, to offer me marriage. During that time I was going through some turmoil in my life; my elderly mom was ill and in an assisted living facility. My youngest daughter had a lesbian relationship which at that time I could not come to terms with. In all, I was going through a stressful period in my life and had myself emergency-committed to a psychiatric hospital.

When my ex-husband asked me to marry him, I did not give it a second thought. I plunged myself into this marriage seeing it as an escape from my woes. The three children we have together were surprised, but they gave me their blessing because this man is their father.

So, I retired, did my rounds, got all my documents signed, and was on a flight to the Caribbean that afternoon.

My husband is a strong, healthy 70-year-old person who is still employed, but he is far from what I expected. He does not like to go out — not even to lunch, to the park, or anywhere. He just works and comes home. In the meantime, I sit in the house all day, with no car, no friends, not being able to walk to a store since we live in a rural area where, in order to go anywhere, you need a car. He loves his life, his chickens and his roosters, and he is completely satisfied with his lifestyle. I am in the small house seven days a week, 24 hours a day. He does the shopping, so I hardly get a chance to do that, either.

So, I am depressed and, at this point, having suicidal ideations. Today I locked myself in, turned off my cell phone, and am wondering how much longer will I survive this ordeal. I want to die. I know it’s a sin, but I am slowly losing my mind.

He is a really nice person, but I can’t live here anymore. I am contemplating going back home, but without divorcing him — just living where I can be happy and surrounded by my family. He understands my frustration and is fine with me going over there several times a year, but I don’t want to fly that often.

I was taking antidepressants and am on sleeping pills. I cry sometimes, and I am very sad. Why did I make this huge mistake? — Regretting the Remarriage

You made the mistake because, as you said, you were in turmoil and saw the marriage as an escape from your woes. You were wrong. It was not an escape. And now you’re unhappier than you were before. But you are far from stuck, and this situation is certainly not irreversible. The good news is that you can get on a plane and go home and rebuild your life. You can seek counseling from professionals and emotional support from your three children, your friends, and your church community.

The woes you were initially trying to escape may still be there, or there may be new ones for you to deal with, but now you have some perspective that perhaps you didn’t have before. And you know there’s no such thing as permanently escaping your problems. You have to face them and deal with them, and, if you can’t deal with them on your own, you have to get help.

It sounds like you have a lot to live for and that you left a good life behind back home. That life is still there. Please don’t avoid it because you feel like you have to pay the price of a mistake made in haste. Please don’t punish yourself. Go home. Reconnect with your support system. Consider joining a group like PFLAG if you need some support accepting your daughter’s sexuality. Get some psychological help. Get some legal help if you need it in separating from your husband. Just . . . get help. You don’t need to shoulder your burdens alone. And you certainly don’t need to sacrifice your happiness for a man who doesn’t seem to care about you. You don’t need to martyr yourself to commit to a decision you regret making in the first place. Life is all about learning from our mistakes and doing the best we can moving forward. So learn and do better for yourself.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

17 comments… add one
  • tbrucemom April 1, 2015, 9:50 am

    So the LW retired from her job and moved out of the country to reconnect with an ex-husband she actually hadn’t SEEN in over 30 years and had no idea what her life with him was going to be like. A man who called her TWO WEEKS after his wife died and proposed marriage OVER THE PHONE. She was escaping from what? An elderly mom and a lesbian daughter? This woman is in dire need of intensive counseling. Hopefully it will help but it will probably take a while based on the fact that she says she’s suicidal, is already taking medication and wanted to “escape” what seems to be nothing more than most people have to deal with – LIFE! Let alone without any kind of knowledge of what her life would be like. I also don’t think it’s fair to say the husband doesn’t care about her. He just has a different lifestyle and has said she can go home as often as she’d like but she doesn’t want to fly. And how many children does she have, 3 or 4, because at one point she says 4 and then she says 3. Is she some how not including the lesbian daughter now? Maybe it’s just an error but that’s what I thought based on her reaction to the daughter’s relationship. I guess I’m just cranky this morning because I usually have empathy for the people that write in for help but I can’t seem to muster any for this LW.

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    • Dear Wendy April 1, 2015, 10:14 am

      The three children comment was my fault in editing; I ave fixed it now to make more sense (she meant the three children she shares with her on-again husband).

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    • Lyra April 1, 2015, 2:26 pm

      Normally I would agree with you — moving to the Caribbean, retiring, agreeing to get re-married to her ex-husband, etc. was a really horrible idea — but in this case it sounds like she is in a SEVERE state of depression. I mean, she’s having suicidal thoughts. That’s really about as extreme as you can get. When someone has that extreme of a depression, they simply do not make the best of decisions, so I think she deserves some leeway here.
      LW, please get help of some kind. Therapy, counselling, etc. Also, know that moving back isn’t necessarily going to be an instant fix. It sounds like this issue is deeply rooted, and something that isn’t going to be fixed overnight. One thing at a time. Commit to therapy, and if at that point you realize moving back is what you need, then figure out what to do…if you stay married or if you get divorced again. Don’t try to fix this all at once. Good luck.

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  • Nookie April 1, 2015, 10:18 am

    Well I feel bad for her, her sense of desperation is palpable in this letter to me.
    LW, you made the wrong decision. And that’s okay, everyone makes the wrong choice sometimes. You’re lucky that you do have it within your power to change it to the right one for you. Tell your husband how you’re feeling, that you’re not happy and want to go home. If he cares at all for you, he should be happy for you to go. If he throws a stink, screw him and leave any way.
    But like Wendy says, get yourself into some counselling to deal with the things you tried to run away from. I hope things get better for you, you do deserve happiness.

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  • Skyblossom April 1, 2015, 10:36 am

    You should definitely be in counseling immediately. I also think you could probably find an alternative to living like you are or leaving. Is it possible to buy a car so that you can have the freedom to get out and do things that you enjoy and to see a counselor? It seems like there has to be an option between the two extremes.

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  • Diablo April 1, 2015, 10:38 am

    MOA. Which in this case is “Move On Again.”

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  • juliecatharine April 1, 2015, 11:12 am

    LW, you say you were on antidepressants, which I take to mean you aren’t taking any now. Did they help before? How long have you been off of them? Did you go off with the help of your doctor? A psychologist and a psychiatrist would be my first stops. Going home and restablishing your old life sounds like a healthy thing for you. Alternately, you could seek help where you are and see if those steps make your marriage a happier one. Have you thought about working or volunteering? Even getting a dog could make a huge difference in your day to day life–my dog has brought more joy to my life than I ever would have thought possible. Good luck with your journey back to mental health. It’s tough but you can do it.

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  • Sue Jones April 1, 2015, 11:32 am

    Well LW can either go back to her old life, or at the very least get a car so she is not so isolated. Or even if she likes her ex- husband she can have a non-traditional marriage where she spends most of her time back in the states and visits him in the Caribbean. But either way, counseling is important (and it can be done with a licensed therapist via Skype these days) to figure out her situation and why she was so rash and impulsive in her decision making.

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    • Skyblossom April 1, 2015, 11:44 am

      Rushing to make another change without thinking through all of the ramifications just seems like another rash decision. I think she needs counseling before making any decision. If her main problem is being isolated I think a car would help with that problem.

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      • Skyblossom April 1, 2015, 11:45 am

        The comment was meant to agree with you and add to what you said.

  • milka April 1, 2015, 12:54 pm

    Dear LW, I am very sorry to hear of everything you’ve been going through. I know how it feels like we’re drowning because of a decision we made. As much as you’re feeling so bad and also guilty for your decision, don’t beat yourself up. You were going through a really hard time, and it felt like a safe shore to remarry your ex-husband; it’s ok things are not going as you hoped – you do have choices and you will get out of this. It’s easy to give advice on other people’s problems, but I really feel it would be extremely important and good for you to go back. You have the support of your family, friends, your environment. You need that, and it is completely ok to want that for yourself. You don’t owe your husband anything, you are completely in your right to realize this situation isn’t healthy for you, and you prefer to go back. If you’re afraid of people judging you, don’t be. There will always be a few people who are unkind and don’t try to put themselves in other people’s shoes, but most people will surprise you positively and help you through this. It might be extremely good to see a therapist; there’s also a website called 7 cups of tea which has been very useful to me when I need to talk to someone. We’re here for you too. You’re not alone.

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    • Skyblossom April 1, 2015, 6:38 pm

      Since she was severely depressed before moving to the island. I don’t see how running back to the situation that she considered awful will fix anything. She needs mental health treatment and then she needs to figure out where she should live and if she should be married.

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      • milka April 2, 2015, 2:47 am

        I didn’t mean running back will fix it, just that it’s incredibly important to have a support system and she shouldn’t feel guilty for it.

  • TheHizzy April 1, 2015, 4:13 pm

    Sometimes I read these and think “This HAS to be made up”

    GTFO that island and get back to a real life for yourself.

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  • veracityb April 1, 2015, 4:37 pm

    LW, please be kind to yourself – I’m rooting for you.

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  • bittergaymark April 1, 2015, 4:40 pm

    Oh, for FUCKS sake. Seriously? This is a REAL letter? These are REAL questions? Did you leave the part where you were in a car crash and left post lobotomy? The answer is so fucking simple… Just LEAVE. Or — hey, how about this concept…. BUY A FUCKING CAR. What happened to all your money? Sorry, but I am sick and tired of people just being so plain fucking dumb. I guess if you fucking act like an idiot — things don’t turn out so hot, eh? Grow the fuck up, LW. You sound all of age 11 here.

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    • Skyblossom April 1, 2015, 6:40 pm

      The problem is she is mentally ill so has trouble making good decisions for herself.

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