You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face,
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You're gonna find - yes, you will -
That you're beautiful as you feel.
                      Carole King (from Tapestry 1971)

My cheating husband is leaving and I don't know if I'll ever heal

By Bel Mooney


I found comfort in your down-to-earth and compassionate words when you replied to my letter (February 23, 2013).

But, oh Bel, my husband did not give up his mistress, or change his phone or computer codes (as he promised after reading what you said) and continues to lead his 'other life.'

Things came to a head last week after I caught him texting, 'I love you.'

'The tears are never far away, sometimes I struggle to breathe, I can't sleep, I'm so frightened and alone'

'The tears are never far away, sometimes I struggle to breathe, I can't sleep, I'm so frightened and alone'

He won't give his mistress up and says our marriage is over, there's no hope, he'll never sleep with me again, he's not in love with me but 'cares' for me, he wants a new life, he doesn't want to grow old with me, he wants a younger woman (she's 20 years younger) and as much excitement as he can cram into the future years, perhaps another family.

Of course, I knew it, but a pathetic part of me grasped a straw of hope that we could put it all behind us and continue with life, for ourselves and our boys. This straw is taken away and I'm left with nothing. I feel so desperately sad.

I've overcome cancer and the deaths of both parents and I can honestly say that this pain I feel is at least as powerful and overwhelming.

The tears are never far away, sometimes I struggle to breathe, I can't sleep, I'm so frightened and alone. I have been with my husband for 30 years, not all of them happy, I admit, but we've been through so much together.

He was my rock, my man, my source of strength and now there's an empty void where my heart used to be.

I am frightened of the future: unlike him, I don't have anyone waiting in the wings. I also feel anger and bitterness: how dare he treat me like this, how dare he discard me and our marriage and the boys?

Our two boys, 13 and 15, heard a lot of our nasty arguments, to my eternal regret.

We have cried buckets and although I've smoothed things over, they'll never forget the horrible things they heard and the sight of their mother, a broken, semi-hysterical wreck. With a heavy heart I am beginning divorce proceedings.

I'm 51 and honestly thought I would grow old with him but it seems life has other plans. Unbelievably, he is still at home, 'taking his time' moving out.

He says he is in no rush and it's good for the boys to have some semblance of 'normal' family life.

Also, unbelievably, I still haven't told anyone about what's been happening.

I'm still protecting him, although this is mad. I will slowly start to confide in my friends and family, but will I ever heal? Will the boys be OK? Will the pain ever subside? I'm crying now so please tell me I will be all right.

This is so sad, but when I look back at your original letter, I can't pretend to be surprised.

Our headline read, 'My husband blames my cancer for his string of affairs' and I clearly remember thinking, 'This man sounds like an utter s***'. But because I sensed (correctly) that you wanted to save the marriage, I suggested you hang on, having laid down certain conditions.

Then you wrote to tell me how pleased you were because you thought I'd suggest leaving him!

You said he had been so shocked to see the letter in the paper, he made promises to be better. Now here we have the next instalment (which I know readers often wonder about) in this depressing and all - too - familiar saga.

I wish I had suggested you throw him out and change the locks - but the truth is, life and people rarely work that way.

You wouldn't have done it then. Now he has pushed you beyond endurance and so you are absolutely right to start divorce proceedings. I think this man is intolerably selfish to protract his leaving process, and wilfully stupid to suggest that he is giving his poor sons any sort of a 'normal' life.

I think he should get the hell out of the family home NOW, to protect those teenagers from any more of the horrible quarrels which will go on doing terrible damage to their impressionable minds and hearts.

You, Deirdre, have been almost culpably weak to go on accepting victimhood all this time in putting up with this man and 'protecting' him from the judgment of the world. It's time you put your sons first. In your place I would get some large cardboard boxes and cheap bags and pack up all his stuff.

Call him at work and ask him where he would like you to send it. Does his woman have her own address? If so, your question will be answered, and if she has a husband or partner still in residence, so much the better.

Regular readers will know I am big on forgiveness and find recrimination counter-productive. Mostly.

But this man has made you suffer so much over such a long period that I think you should tell all your family and friends everything to gain maximum support, and help to give you strength for the next phase of your life. Let them judge him, just as (be honest) you do yourself.

Your abject state of misery and terror is heartbreaking, and I understand it very well.

But you have no choice but to stand tall and accept the fact that the coming months will be very hard. You are gazing into the eye of the storm and your first duty is to make a shelter for your sons, protecting them from the worst.

The divorce procedure needs to be as 'clean' as possible, so you should consider consulting National Family Mediation to get the legal details sorted out with expertise before the solicitors get to work.

Your second duty is to remember who you are. At 51 you have many years ahead of you to re- discover the woman this man has tried to destroy.

Who knows what lies ahead? But I can tell you with conviction that this pain will pass, and that the greatest 'source of strength' lies, not in the gift of some man or other, but within your own heart and soul.


I fear my son will always be alone

My son Tom will be 32 in November but has never had a girlfriend. My husband and I just celebrated our 38th anniversary, and have two daughters (one abroad) and grandchildren.

Tom likes playing with children but says he doesn’t want any and isn’t interested in a relationship. I have pointed out that this will lead to loneliness later, but he says it won’t and if it does he’ll do something about it.

This attitude strikes me as strange since he had a normal, happy childhood. He lives alone in a university town 50 miles away where he has a very good job and his own home.

He has one sport he is passionate about, and stays with friends of both sexes.

Sharing a room with either sex seems no problem.

He is popular, happy to attend friends’ weddings, gets on very well with girls — and is their best friend. He shows no signs whatsoever of being gay (so our gay friends tell us). We can only conclude he must be asexual, which is a subject we know very little about.

My main concern is that this lifestyle will become increasingly lonely as more of his friends marry and settle down.

It’s good to have friends to share hobbies with, but this is no substitute for the love and caring of family life. I can visualise it becoming progressively more difficult for him to meet his soulmate.

What do you think the solution to the problem might be? Can you suggest anything I could do or say to Tom? I do not recall the subject ever being mentioned on your page.
(a very worried mother!)

Has this ever been mentioned here? I can’t remember — but one subject has been raised on these pages more than once: Parents Who Worry Too Much.

Many is the time I’ve found myself gently telling anxious mothers or fathers that none of us can write scripts for our children’s lives.

It’s such a simple thing to say, yet it bears repetition. Because so many people, just like you, lose sleep over things which they cannot possibly change.

Recently my oldest friend had the happy experience of flying out to Kenya to attend the wedding of her younger son, who was marrying for the first time at the age of 42.

Showing me the happy photographs she grinned and said, ‘Phew!’

I have known her delightful, jolly and sociable son since babyhood, and sometimes wondered why he had never met ‘the one’. But his wise mother didn’t consider that her business, and so it certainly wasn’t mine.

Naturally it didn’t stop her wishing he might find a life partner, but she would never have cross-examined him or offered warnings about potential future loneliness.

Neither she nor I would regard it as part of a mother’s role to give unsolicited advice. Which is what you have been doing.

There is more than one way of finding happiness, you know, and we run the risk of pushing our adult children away for ever if we tell them how they should live — which is usually exactly according to the way we have chosen to run our own lives.

I happen to agree with you when you say. ‘It’s good to have friends to share hobbies with, but this is no substitute for the love and caring of family life’ — and yet I think it wrong to push that assumption on others.

What are you doing when you ‘visualise’ it ‘becoming progressively more difficult for him to meet his soulmate’? Beware, since second-guessing his future in that negative way may well have the effect of helping it come to pass. I’m sorry, but this is the ‘attitude’ you should be worried about.

As for him being ‘asexual’ — who can know? About one per cent of the population can be classified as ‘asexual’ — meaning having no interest in sex whatsoever.

The rest of us show interest in varying degrees, and that itself can change over a lifetime.

Tom may end up sharing a home with a good friend. Or he could marry when he is 45.

For now, since he has health and independence and is happy doing his own thing, working hard in a good job and having fun, I suggest you have nothing to worry about and should really — in the most loving way — relax, keep silent and leave him alone.


And finally... Learning to live with lost love

A moving letter came from Mrs P which I’ll share, as so many people suffer bereavement and yet the subject is not dealt with enough (in my opinion) in advice columns.

Since 1975, when my second son was stillborn, I have studied the universal quest for meaning — which is why I understand what Mrs P is saying here: ‘You published a letter (September 14, 2013) from Sophie about the death of her grandad. At present my grief is immense after losing my husband of 38 years only ten weeks ago.


Bel answers readers’ questions on emotional and relationship problems each week.

Write to: Bel Mooney, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT, or e-mail

A pseudonym will be used if you wish.

Bel reads all letters, but regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

‘We were a truly odd couple with a 23-year age gap, yet we married within months of knowing each other and became soulmates — never apart for longer than a few hours.

'There were terrific hurdles to overcome and we faced many hardships both financially and emotionally. However, we grew together, weathered all storms and life turned full circle over the years.

‘My daily struggle now is simply to get up each day. That has to be faced, yet strength comes from “knowing” my beloved is with me in spirit. Neither of us followed any religion but believed in a separation of body and mind — the mind being a life-force that DOES continue.

‘It is all around us, even though we cannot “see” it. Think of radio waves or the interaction between Moon and Earth . . . then perhaps the reality of things we cannot ‘see’ become a little clearer.

‘One needs to tune in, listen and observe — and perhaps gain comfort that one has known some wonderful people and remember all they have taught you.

'Life is a never-ending learning curve and one has to give of oneself to reap even a small reward.’

With that in mind, it might interest London readers to know that the magnificent non-religious Requiem by the Cornish composer Russell Pascoe is being performed in London, at the Cadogan Hall, Chelsea, on November 2 at 7.30pm (020 7730 4500).

I wrote about it on April 13, after we’d travelled to Truro to hear the premiere. The concert is called Dying Light and I shall be there. Do come and say hello.

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