Just Ask Joyce: I’m Lonely and Thinking About My Options
Q: “I’m in a difficult season in my life. I have been married for 16 years, but I am a lonely woman. My husband has always traveled during the week in his career, and he more than adequately provides for our family. He is a really good person, and I love him. I haven’t been unfaithful, but there is someone I have reconnected with on Facebook who makes me feel alive again. He’s married and has a family but seems unhappy as well. If my husband ever found out, it would devastate him, and our kids would never forgive me, but I can’t seem to stop myself. I don’t really want to divorce my husband, but I’m afraid I am falling out of love with him. Should I wait this out to see if this will pass for the sake of our kids?
Joyce’s FIX: This season in your life will define your next. Your dilemma has many tentacles, and each one should be explored and given appropriate weight. With the imprecise picture you’ve painted, perhaps I can point out the obvious while offering some insight to consider before choosing your path.
1. Marriage. It’s an institution of commitment. Is it something you can’t dissolve? Of course not. People divorce every day in courts all over the world. Is loneliness a good reason to call it quits with a “really good person”? It comes down to personal convictions. Your husband hasn’t been unfaithful, he’s a wonderful provider, but his work involves travel — something you obviously knew would be a part of the “package” when you agreed to become his bride. Now it could be a deal-breaker?
2. The children. It sounds like the kids really love their dad. But they also love their mom; otherwise, you would never be able to hurt them badly enough they couldn’t forgive you. More kids manage divorce than ever before. They seldom are in favor of it, and make no mistake — it complicates their lives, along with their parents.’
3. The spouses. Your husband and the wife of your Facebook friend will both be greatly affected. I know nothing of his wife, but your husband was obviously someone worthy of your love at one time. He also sounds like someone who trusts his wife explicitly, thus his reaction to your newfound lease on life would be one of devastation.
4. Grass. It’s always greener on the other side of a Facebook exchange. You’re hearing the best this man has to offer in words, but he could be much different after 16 years. Or days.
5. You. Why are you unhappy? We know you’re lonely, but two unhappy people will likely still be sad after the new wears off. If your season ends in divorce, there will be many more issues you will be faced with. So will your acquaintance from the Facebook affair. (Yes, I said it. It’s emotional unfaithfulness.) You’ll also be dealing with the other man’s issues. Perhaps a self-evaluation of how you feel about who you are would help you define your next season.
Why not pick up the phone or even Facebook your husband with some of the same conversation you’re having with your old friend? Find ways to fill your time in a positive manner. Spend more time with the kids. Send encouragement cards to friends. Take online classes. Volunteer in your church or some meaningful organization. Look forward to the weekends, planning encounters for the whole family to enjoy and private time for the two of you to rekindle the excitement you once enjoyed. The more you engage in your Facebook fling, the quicker you’ll forget your love for your husband.
Struggling with a relationship issue? Write Joyce Oglesby, Family Life FIX-IT Pro at firstname.lastname@example.org and find a solution for life.