Dear Amy: I am 50, and my husband of 28 years is 62.
We recently moved to a new country for his job. Our kids are attending university in another country. This has been a huge change for me as I have no kids at home to look after. For legal reasons I can’t work here, but I do volunteer at the local homeless shelter.
My husband recently started reaching out to all of his ex-girlfriends, and when I asked why he said he can’t explain it.
I am hurt, menopausal, lonely, and sad. I honestly don’t know what to do.
Should I return to my home country and start my life over?
I can’t speak to him or look him in the eyes because it hurts me so much.
To add to the misery, we are having his sisters visit soon for a two-week stay.
I feel like my spirit is crushed.
– Crushed Woman
Dear Crushed: Your husband can explain his actions – he just doesn’t want to. And now you two are engaged in a silent and lonely battle.
As hard as it is for you, I would suggest looking him in the eye and pressing for an explanation regarding his actions, and being completely honest about what you are going through.
Sitting down with a couple’s counselor would help.
It is possible to find therapy in other countries (I’ve done it), or you could connect with a therapist in your home country via telehealth.
I hope you will continue to try to build a life for yourself. Doing this when you’re lonely and homesick is extremely hard work. Other expatriates can be an invaluable resource – if there are organizations or places where expatriates gather, do what you can to connect.
In the shorter term, if you are able to return home, at least for a visit, it might be one way for you to clear your head and clarify your options.
Because you seem to be dreading this particular event, you might want to exit while his sisters are visiting.
Dear Amy: I am a woman married to another woman. We have recently added a beautiful baby to our family, and we are ecstatic.
We know other couples like ourselves but haven’t yet discussed how we should handle our somewhat unique family out in the world, or how to explain this to our child, when he is older.
We’d appreciate your take.
– Happy Family
Dear Happy: According to 2020 statistics published by the United States Census Bureau (census.gov) “Overall, about 292,000 children had parents living with a same-sex partner or spouse.”
You are in a very small – but growing – demographic.
When you first bring a baby home, it’s natural to spin out optimal scenarios. Good parents are like good movie directors, story-boarding every shot in order to ease the way to a happy ending.
Real life is much more fluid, slow moving, and unpredictable. Raising a child is the very essence of “one day at a time.”
Your household will be the norm for your baby and toddler, and likely for your circle of friends. You – or your child – will choose what names to call each of you, and you will each mother your child in different and important ways.
You won’t have to “explain” your family as much as demonstrate your family values and answer your son’s questions about your family if they arise.
There is a widening and diverse range in what constitutes a family, and you should make a point of mixing with families of all kinds in order to show your son that no two families are exactly alike.
I love the sweet and brightly illustrated board book (perfect for babies) “Love Makes a Family,” by Sophie Beer (2018, Dial Books).
Dear Amy: You totally missed the mark on your response to “Dad in Name Only,” the father who decided to cut his daughter out of his will.
Why did you call him a “quitter”?
Sometimes you have to know when to stop torturing yourself because of someone else.
It’s abundantly clear that his daughter wants nothing to do with him. That’s her problem.
She’s supposed to be an adult and it’s up to her to mend the fences. She didn’t mind taking his money for her wedding and obviously doesn’t care about his feelings. As for the grandchild – who cares?!
Dear Disappointed: After a terrible divorce, followed by years of gaslighting by the mother, I believed this father should be more patient. Other readers agreed with you.