A heartbroken husband was completely blindsided by his wife’s sudden request for a separation, so he’s seeking advice from Trish Murphy, a psychotherapist who writes for the Irish Times.
“Recently my wife said she wants to separate after eight years of marriage, and has been to a solicitor,” the letter begins. “She doesn’t seem to want to discuss the reasons why she wants to separate, simply saying she doesn’t love me any more.”
Though he’s not 100% sure why she wants to break up, the man has a suspicion. It all started about two years ago when his old college roommate stopped by for a visit.
“This chap, who is openly gay, told my wife about a one-night stand we had when we were students,” the man explains. “At the time my wife was furious and I explained to her the truth as I see it. This was something that happened impulsively, I don’t necessarily have regrets about it, but neither do I identify as gay or bisexual.”
He goes on to say that the reason he mentioned the hookup to his wife before was because it simply didn’t cross his mind.
“I had never really given it much thought,” he says.
Eventually, he wife got over it. But then six months ago, he went on an innocent business trip with a male colleague who happens to be gay and, he writes, “she started to question my sexuality again.”
“I love my wife and our family life,” the man says. “I don’t want it to end like this. I grew up in a broken home and me and my siblings suffered as a result of our parents break up. I don’t want this for our children.”
He wonders: “How do I persuade her that I love her and have no desire for anyone else, female or male?”
In her response, Trish Murphy says the whole situation can be boiled down to one thing: Trust.
“Trust is created when people are honest with each other and when there is consistency in the relationship,” she says. “You may not even be aware of your dishonesty in terms of not telling your wife as you see some things as unimportant–it is possible you did not speak for fear of conflict or break-up.”
Wait… what? Is Trish honestly suggesting that because this dude didn’t provide his wife with a detailed report of his entire sexual history prior to their meeting, including inconsequential one night stands that happened in college, he’s somehow to blame for her obvious homophobia?
Trish continues: “She may not trust that you are fully engaged in your intimacy. It might also be true that you are not willing to fully explain this as you do not really understand it yourself.”
Hmmm. Apparently Trish missed the part of the letter where the guy said the whole hookup was a one-time thing that “happened impulsively” more than a decade ago, that he doesn’t regret it, but that he also doesn’t “identify as gay or bisexual.” Sometimes people experiment.
Trish concludes by telling the guy it would be “worthwhile for you to take responsibility” and to “demonstrate that you are self-aware enough to do your part in creating changes that might make the marriage worth saving.”
What do you think of Trish’s advice? Sound off in the comments section below…