Dear Coleen, a few months ago, my husband told me he didn’t want to be married to me any more and felt our relationship had run its course.
I thought things were fine, so this came like a bolt out of the blue. I thought once he’d moved out, had some time apart, and had time to think, he’d want to come home. But how wrong was I?
A few weeks after he moved out, he moved in with another woman, someone I know and who I really liked, so it was a double blow and very hard to cope with.
We have a son, so we have to see each other, and have managed to keep it amicable for his sake, but it’s been very difficult for me.
The hardest part, apart from our son being confused and upset, is that I can’t deal with everyone knowing what my ex did to me.
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We live in a fairly small community where everyone knows each other’s business, and I’m sick of the pitying looks I get or people just avoiding me because they don’t know what to say.
I’m 38, so still young, but have no idea how to restart my life. Can you advise?
One of the worst things for me when my first marriage broke down was that feeling of humiliation and people feeling sorry for me or thinking I must be stupid for letting it happen. But here’s the thing, most people will feel genuinely bad for you and want to help.
I was a bit younger than you when my first marriage ended and counselling really helped with these issues. I had therapy for about six months and it helped get me back on my feet, see things more logically and feel stronger.
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Coleen Nolan is the Mirror's resident agony aunt
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I think it helps to know that what you’re feeling is a natural response to what’s happened. But try to stop worrying about other people and accept the empathy and kindness from people who matter to you.
Don’t dwell on how this happened or when your ex got together with this woman – it’s happened and you have to put yourself and your son first. It’s a credit to you that you’ve managed to keep things amicable for your son as it would be easy to use him to get revenge.
It takes time to move on, so don’t put pressure on yourself and accept you will have bad days, but everything you’re feeling is normal. Good luck.