My husband left me for an oncological nurse he met at a bar. How could my ex-husband leave me for that type of woman? I think about this almost every minute of every day and it’s going on two years since he left.
Please help me to understand. I have not been able to comprehend what has happened. I’ve been in remission since 2015, by the way. — Left For Good
First, congratulations on your remission! As for your ex-husband, I think he was a weak man in a rocky marriage who lacked the strength and character to care for a sick wife whom he must have had some complicated and mixed feelings toward. He found a woman whose character featured similar flaws — after all, she “injected herself into the life of a sick person’s spouse,” ahem — and he may have felt a sense of comfort in that. Maybe with her, the expectations are lower and, therefore, the relationship maintenance is lower. He doesn’t even have to pretend to be a stand-up guy, because she knows he’s the kind of man who would leave his wife of twenty-four years during the height of her cancer battle. The bar is pretty low, and for someone with deep character flaws, that’s probably a relief.
But, enough about him (and her). You’ve spent too much energy already thinking about them. In remission, you have the gift of life and health. Get yourself to therapy so you can compartmentalize a small part of your week toward unpacking your hurt feelings, and spend the rest of your time fostering the kind of life you would feel especially grateful to have the chance to live.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.