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A cautionary tale for me?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Family<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (13 June 2014) 11 Answers - (Newest, 14 June 2014)
A female United States age 51-59, *amarosa writes:

I am even further disillusioned by this thing called love.

My back story is:

I am 53, divorced for 4.5 years. No kids. Was married for 12 years, together for 16. My ex cheated on me and left me for another woman. He never showed any remorse, just went on his merry way. (that woman subsequently dumped him, and then he went on a few months later to find another young girl and get engaged) From the time of the divorce he wanted to be 'friends' but I did not appreciate the downgrade, and I didn't want to be around while he shopped around for my replacement, so no. His family claimed that they still 'loved' me, but did not know what to say, so they didn't say anything. Who was I to be anyway? Their son's Ex wife? (watch me fading into obscurity....) My lesson: blood is thicker than water.

Now, as a divorced 50 something, I have not had any luck in even having a legitimate date, not to mention an actual relationship. Only interest came from a couple 'old college friends' who in fact were close to penniless. One, after 3 phone conversations, asked me for money. (I'm not looking for $, but please don't be penniless, is all I ask, because I'm not putting a roof over a man's head)

Now recent events have gotten me to the point of hopeless on love due to what has happened to my 86 year old Aunt!

My aunt's back story: Married to my Uncle for 38 years. He died in 1985. In her 50's she was not able to 'live alone'.

So, she married again, he died. She married a 3rd time, again he died.

In 2001 she married a 4th time.

Her and this man have been married since. Now they are both 86 yrs old. His children have announced that he will be going to live with them. No room for my aunt. (good luck to you lady!) And that they want the home that they have been living in together sold immediately. (it is his prior home, and she has one as well- unoccupied)

My heartache is that if these two people weren't on their 2nd (or subsequent) marriages, this wound NEVER happen. Children would never do this to their two biological parents.

I know there is more to the story than I know. But how could this man allow himself to be separated from his wife? (If not a nursing home situation)

We are rallying around my Aunt and she will be cared for.

Back to my cautionary tale.

Since I've had a failed marriage, and no children, is this what I have in store, if I'm ever blessed enough to find someone to love?

It is a very cruel reality, and I already have some trust/betrayal/rejection issues from my divorce. (hey- I didn't have any of those before he walked out on me)

I am not negative, I just can't find any hope anymore.

View related questions: cheated on me, divorce, engaged, ex-wife, money, my ex

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A female reader, mamarosa United States +, writes (14 June 2014):

mamarosa is verified as being by the original poster of the question

@Cindycares

"But what 's important is , that you got away basically intact."

Yes, yes basically, I did. Thank God.

"I understand that you may miss your in - laws."

Yes I do (or at least did). From the moment my Ex asked me for a divorce (and seeing that we never had children) I KNEW I would be irrelevant to his family. I had lost them all.

Sooner or later. So, IMO, better sooner.

In tact financially, yes.

But mentally, emotionally scarred.

I did not have any trust or rejection issues before the divorce. How can any one say that it's not a direct result of being betrayed?

In tact physically, no. Not really.

I'll explain.

I have RA (rheumatoid arthritis). I had always held and paid for my own health insurance. My premium was going up to $1000 a month, just me (c.2009)

My Ex paid for his own (about $130-150)

He joined the Army Nat Guard Reserve to get health insurance that would cover us both. I was extremely grateful for the relief (I even offered to give him $500 a month savings that I would gain)

He did sign with the military. I dropped my Aetna coverage (which I could have held for life). Three weeks later, he left me.

He assured me that I would still have the Army's version of Cobra. I was pursuing that, but it was not true. By the date of the divorce, I was uninsured. (and I didn't even know it) What's worse, I was UNINSURABLE (due to then pre-existing condition)

I went uninsured for 2+ years (no drugs for RA, suffering much physical pain and joint damage(?))

I finally got the gov'ment plan for Pre-existing Condition (which ended in 12/2013) But soon as I found a rheumatologist (after waiting 3-4 months for an appt) the rheumy dropped the plan. Back to square one, but the plan was now ending.

It has been one thing or another (out of my control) for the last almost 5 years. No treatment- other than some sporadic steroid use. (you cannot self pay specialists-they are looking to charge insurance co.;s $$$)

I place the blame squarely on my Ex and his reckless behavior. Sorry, but what was I supposed to say when he signed up for the military and I was offered a savings of $900 a month? Should I just have said: no thanks, because I'm not so sure about you. (?)

In tact. Yes and no.

Dodged a bullet? YES!!!!!!

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (14 June 2014):

CindyCares agony aunt132K in debt, OP. Wow. The more you write the more it sounds that being abandoned by your husband was a blessing in disguise ! You dodged a massive bullet, OP, and if this cannot decrease your bitterness I don't know what can. Call me unromantic , but being partnerless in mid 50s is much more bearable than being pennyless and maybe homeless at the same age. You see yourself as the victim of ill use and swindle, OP, - why don't you try seeing yourself instead as the beloved child. of a benevolent Universe . Some times, when a kid is running into incoming traffic, you have to grab him hard and pull him back strongly and swiftly, not worrying that you may leave a bruise on his arm. The resentment and anger you still feel is exactly this, Op-a bruise on your arm after a brush up with a nasty fate. But what 's important is , that you got away basically intact.

Intact, OP. I understand that you may miss your in - laws . But accept that for reasons of theirs they have turned their backs on you ( even if you find the reasons unacceptable ). So what OP. Life is long nowadays, female life expextancy is 85 in my country, maybe a bit less in yours but not that much. That means that EASILY you've got 30ish more years to make new friends, find new parental figures, new nurturers and supporters. Focus on what you can get, not what you have lost.

As for a mate, sure, that too, why should you not hope. I only advised to not get ATTACHED to your dream, to not make your happiness depend upon it, because objectively, it is easier to end up coupled at 20 than at 60. That does not mean that you are doomed to be single, that you can't have the same luck of many other ladies who found a good companion to share their ... third youth. And if you can shed some negativity, some bitterness, some pessimism , ... as cliche' as it sounds, it will be easier that he crosses your path. People turn naturally to the sun, not too bad weather...

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A female reader, mamarosa United States +, writes (13 June 2014):

mamarosa is verified as being by the original poster of the question

@ Cindycares

"You are reproaching your ex in laws because they choose pleasing their own son over pleasing you ?... It may not be morally right, it may be objectionable, but- it is what happens almost always ( unless maybe the son is really a sociopath, a violent criminal, etc... ) ; no , mothers will not disown a son, even a d..head son, over an ex daughter- in -law.

YET it's their son, they want to keep the peace with him, they want to get along with him, and they want to see him happy."

Yes, therein lies the rub.

This world is blurring the lines between right and wrong more and more. People do these things (cheat, etc.) because they know there are no consequences to their actions.

What entitlement does 'being happy' give a person to destroy another persons happiness?

Respect is earned and not an entitlement either. (concerning people who know each other, not regarding strangers. I.E. I respect strangers privacy, property, freedom, opinions, rights, etc.)

Also, I am not in the same state as the former In Laws, so no Sunday dinners apply. It would be even more awkward for us to make an effort to visit, etc. And what would we talk about, if not the on son?

I had a fantastic relationship with the former In Laws. I could go to a car show or home Improvement show with my former FIL, just us and have a great time.

They lived at our house 12 years of the year, no problems.

I did notice how they doted and fawned after their son though. And he needed that type of reassurance, attention, recognition and the constantly being told that 'he pooped rainbows' type thing. I am much more of a self sustained, DIY, on my own type person (whose mother died at age 5).

@ Mark

" if you could tell us more about why your aunties husband is being moved in with his family? That would make things clearer for us to explain."

No, I would not be able to take them both in. I know my limits. I am alone, and must work, and am just getting by as it is.

I think there is something going on there. Because the obvious answer is moving them both into assisted living as a Married couple.

Keeping married people together would be my priority in thinking.

I think that possibly they were not getting along so well. I don't really know.

"So what do you suggest OP? That your ex husbands family disown him and offer you love and help you find a nice, loyal partner?"

That does not at all sound bad to me. What about siding with right instead of wrong?

Certainly did change me, and my outlook and my situation. AND I am better off without him for sure. He hid a lot of CC debt during our marriage. ($132K- no typo) which could have ruined me financially as well.

That 'title' of finacee or 'wife' is hers! And she can have it! And she has no idea what she is in store for. A person does not just stop lying after 40 years.

I am living in SINGLETUDE, and I will not marry just to keep from being alone.

I would however like to have hope that there is a man that would call me his own, till death.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (13 June 2014):

CindyCares agony aunt It's still their son, OP. A son that was not a good husband, a son who has done bad things, maybe a son who went agaisnt the principles which they had taught him ( be loyal, be honest etc... )- YET it's their son, they want to keep the peace with him, they want to get along with him, and they want to see him happy.

Maybe - probably- your ex husband would not have liked if he had noticed they were staying close to you, like inviting you over for Sunday dinner or such,- he would have thought they were taking your side against him. And maybe- probably- his new woman would not have liked it either , for the same reason. After all, now the official " title " of wife or fiancee' is hers and it entitles her to at least formal respect . You are reproaching your ex in laws because they choose pleasing their own son over pleasing you ?... It may not be morally right, it may be objectionable, but- it is what happens almost always ( unless maybe the son is really a sociopath, a violent criminal, etc... ) ; no , mothers will not disown a son, even a d..head son, over an ex daughter- in -law.

You sound still very cut up about your ex, which is understandable, of course - then again, from your brief description, he sounds like a disloyal,shallow , selfish, cold person - so , are you sure that by decamping, all in all, he has not ended up with doing you a favour ? he let you free , either to find a more suitable, more loving partner ( with a bit of luck ) or to live in serene, fulfilled, dignified singletude ( NOT solitude. One CAN be partnerless yet not lonely ) Once you get rid of , or never adopted , your multi-married Aunt's mentality, that any man is better than being without a man, -and you live to make YOURSELF happy, cultivating friendships, family ties and personal interests and pursuits, singletude can be a rewarding status too .

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A male reader, Mark1978 United Kingdom +, writes (13 June 2014):

Mark1978 agony auntI wrote - "If push came to shove would you move auntie in with you if she had to be looked after? If so would you let her hubby come live with you too and go for the double care option? "

It should have read something like: "if push came to shove and you had to movie auntie in with you for whatever reason, bearing in mind her age and potential physical/emotional issues either now or later, would you be willing to take on having her husband live with you also?"

Perhaps if you could tell us more about why your aunties husband is being moved in with his family? That would make things clearer for us to explain.

"They call me family, their 'daughter' for 16 years and then they aren't obligated to 'offer me friendship'? What the hell was I then? I am a person."

As for your husbands family, I didn't mean to appear cold, rather point out that, despite being "family" for sixteen years you are now out of the loop. I appreciate that your husband was in the wrong not you, and that you stayed faithful, but naturally they will stay friendly with him as he is family, and even if they really liked you and saw you as a great friend and family member, they wont usually stay in touch to avoid the issues of you husband potentially not liking it. I split with my long term GF recently and was close to her parents, but I wouldn't feel it appropriate to stay friends with them as it would be awkward. Its is not a reflection of you that they are not staying in touch, rather a measure of the cirumstances.

"Disrespectful to their son and his new wife? Gimme a break. Their son disrespected ME. "

So what do you suggest OP? That your ex husbands family disown him and offer you love and help you find a nice, loyal partner? That's not going to happen is it. At the end of the day your ex husbands parents want to keep the piece with their son, love their son and, although probably hurt by his actions and disappointed by his problems, want to appear supportive to keep the family harmony going. Its human nature. Your husband cheated and that hurt you and changed you and your situation. For your Ex husbands parents the change was far less for them than it was for you, and he IS their son.

Mark

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A female reader, mamarosa United States +, writes (13 June 2014):

mamarosa is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thank you all for the responses.

@ Mark

"If push came to shove would you move auntie in with you if she had to be looked after?"

Yes. The offer has already been made. I am in a different state than her and her two children, and 2 grandchildren. It's a huge trade off for her, to not see her immediate family, and support system. But she'd have me, and someone to say Good night and good morning to, and looking after her to make sure she is o.k.

Another complication is that I am moving to yet another state. Moving out of FL (where old people love it) to CO (where old people hate the weather-in generaI) just closed a Refi loan and am searching for a home to buy. My new consideration is a bedroom on the main floor, in case she does agree and needs it.

It is completely up to her.

@Mark

"You ex husband is a grown man and, no matter what his family think of his antics, they are not obliged to apologise for his behaviour or offer you friendship. They could hardly say to their son "Just popping round your ex wife's for a chat" could they?"

Apart from them living in another state, and they'd have to travel to see me, which is the awkward part, your comment is pretty cold.

They call me family, their 'daughter' for 16 years and then they aren't obligated to 'offer me friendship'? What the hell was I then? I am a person. (that did not do anything but honor my husband and marriage) If that is the case I was never a friend of theirs or family. I was not some sort of appendage of my husband that could be removed.

@CindyCares

"For instance, that your Aunt " couldn't " be alone, and she might have been more anxious to be married , period, than to be married to the right man. Someone who loved her, respected, cherished and no way he would have ever accepted to be separated from her. Maybe in her keenness to get a husband, she did not do her homework properly and did not get the right husband."

Spot on CIndy. Her inability to be alone drove her down this path. I thought this man was very attentive when my aunt broke her hip 2 years ago, and went through rehab etc.

@Cindycares

"He goes along with the plan because he wants to , obviously he cares more about helping out / pleasing his children than keeping his wife around, an old wife who , after 13 years, might have become more of an habit , or even a burden, than a loved companion. In short, if the old man favours his children over his wife, that would be on him , not on the evil children- and in part on your Aunt for having chosen the wrong husband."

Yes, right again CIndy. I think this is the case.

@Cindycares

"Plus, being chummy with the ex wife could easily have been taken as taking sides and being disrespectful to their son and his new wife ( or wives )."

Sorry CIndy, but that is just twisted.

Disrespectful to their son and his new wife? Gimme a break.

Their son disrespected ME.

My Ex told me his mother would be 'bias' towards him. (taking sides- but the guilty side) Bias is beyond the dreaded 'being judgemental'. Because it is judgement without merit.

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A male reader, Sageoldguy1465 United States +, writes (13 June 2014):

Sageoldguy1465 agony auntPlease remind yourself of this.... every day:

You CAN'T do a darn thing to change the past..... You can ONLY make sure that you make your future great.....

Good luck...

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (13 June 2014):

CindyCares agony auntWell, yes, blood is thicker than water generally speaking, I am sorry that this makes you bitter , but it's a bit like being bitter because when it rains you get wet.

What was your ex husband 's family supposed to do ? First, they may have liked you all you want, but you were anyway an acquired relative, the frequency and closeness of your relationship is inevitably linked to your being part of that family, once the tie is broken it's natural that some distance intervenes. I mean, it's not that they did not like you, they did, but it's not as if they had CHOSEN you to be their close friend and dearest companion,- your husband did, and they went along with it. Gone the husband, so it's gone 80% of the scope and sense of being close to you. Plus, being chummy with the ex wife could easily have been taken as taking sides and being disrespectful to their son and his new wife ( or wives ).

I'd count myself lucky that they did not blame YOU for the break up of the marriage, as many in laws are want to do even against all evidence !

As for your Aunt's case , I agree with Mark, what has this got to do with you ?. As for that, then just open any newspaper and you'd see even worse news of wives raped, battered, killed, defiled with acid, SOLD in slavery... are we all going to stay away from men because some freak in India threw acid on his wife's face ?.. I understand that your Aunt's situation hit very close home for you and you feel it more, but it's a skewed way to see things and to do stats. For all you know, against your Aunt's sad case there are 10 , or 50 old couples serenely living together their golden years , surrounded by the affection ( or at least by the non-belligerance ) of children and stepchildren !

I disagree with Mark on one count, that those children necessarily took advantage of their old father. It ain't necessarily so, it is possible but not mandatory. My mom and her sistee, for instance, are in their 80's too and there's NO WAY you could pull the wool over their eyes or make them do what they do not want.

Mark is (relatively ) young, so he is want to think that old age and PHYSICAL deterioration necessarily comes with mental deterioration , and a weakened will or personality. Luckily, it ain't always so.

So, what happened here, we do not know, but we only have one side of the story, there could be more. For instance, that your Aunt " couldn't " be alone, and she might have been more anxious to be married , period, than to be married to the right man. Someone who loved her, respected, cherished and no way he would have ever accepted to be separated from her. Maybe in her keenness to get a husband, she did not do her homework properly and did not get the right husband.

I am saying this because I know how old people can become stubborn and set in their ways, so, unless the old gentleman has Alzheimer, or dementia , etc., don't be fooled, he goes along with the plan because he wants to , obviously he cares more about helping out / pleasing his children than keeping his wife around, an old wife who , after 13 years, might have become more of an habit , or even a burden, than a loved companion. In short, if the old man favours his children over his wife, that would be on him , not on the evil children- and in part on your Aunt for having chosen the wrong husband.

These are just guesses, and uninformed guesses as for that, but, with more relevance to your question, I think the trick is, at any age, but most of all after 50- do not settle for second, or fourth best. Know what you want and what you need, and refuse to accept less than that, just because you fear being " alone ", , read : without a man. Being alone is way better than being mismatched or ill coupled. And yes, the mismatch perhaps could include choosing someone who is very attached or very indulgent to his children- or, that has children at all, if you aren't very independent both financially and mentally. Because, after all, as we said, blood is thicker than water , and , right or wrong that it may be, it's not unusual for a person to favour his blood over his 2nd or 3rd or 4th spouse.

Another thing , in your Aunt's sad case, could be the hereditary angle. You say the house belongs to this gentleman, but, suppose he co -owned it with his previous deceased wife, when she died, her half of the property might have gone to the kids. Which stayed put so far because they did not need it , but it's rather normal that at a certain point they'd claim their legal rights. Or even just MORAL rights, it's obvious that the old gentleman would feel his children have more right to his, and their mother's house, than a " new " wife ( who has her own unoccupied house ).

Finally, I think that your Aunt's story is bitter, but it's a bitterness which has not particularly and solely got to do with being married or being single, it's the bitterness of human condition- we can't always get what we want, at times there are adjustments which are hard to swallow, the need to move when we'd want to stay put, the need to be flexible when we'd want to be rigid. The acceptation of our weakness and impotence in front of external circumstances, the impossibility to always make things go in the direction WE want and the necessity to accomodate other people's needs too. ( Like, if these guys have NO place at home for TWO extra people, what they were supposed to do,plant a tent in the garden ? ) This mental shift is always hard to take, married or single.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (13 June 2014):

My ex husband's mother married a very rich man who had children with his former wife. They lived happily in the former marital home until he died. We all assumed that she would then have to sell the home or would be allowed to stay in the home until she died and then it would be sold and revert to his children. But no horror of horrors he left the house to her. As soon as he died she sold the house and moved elsewhere keeping all the money and writing her will so only her biological children would inherit. The rich mans own children were instantly cut out. I was horrified by this and told me husband at the time that he could not possibly take any money as he was not entitled to it as it should go to the rich man's children. He said and did nothing saying it was his mother's choice. Money can be a terrible evil especially to those who have none and they will act in a dreadful way to get it.

I was married for 20 years to a man who left me for a younger woman. It hurts terribly and it is not always the right thing to do to try and find love again. Sometimes it is better to just enjoy what you have as a single person and enjoy doing the things you do with no input or anxiety from any other quarter. It takes many many years to move on from a long marriage and especially when you are older in your fifties ( as I am). I think it would be good to put the idea of dating out of your mind for a while until you are calm and happy by yourself and then maybe look again. There are some very strange people out there and a lot are money grabbing. I have learned to live alone and enjoy my own company. I had never been without a man in my life from the moment I left home until my husband left and I never thought I could function let alone enjoy being alone. Now I am fine with it. I would not want to venture into the dating scene. If you do want another relationship and with someone on a par with you then you will need to wait a while until you are happier inside and then ensure you mix in areas and with like minded people. This all takes time but will happen when you are settled inside.

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A male reader, Mark1978 United Kingdom +, writes (13 June 2014):

Mark1978 agony auntthin the blood I meant

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A male reader, Mark1978 United Kingdom +, writes (13 June 2014):

Mark1978 agony auntI think you are taking on too many other issues that are not your problem. You say you are not negative, but im afraid you are.

Yes blood is thicker than water but what was your ex husbands family to do? Stay in touch with you when their son was divorcing you and meeting other women? You ex husband is a grown man and, no matter what his family think of his antics, they are not obliged to apologise for his behaviour or offer you friendship. They could hardly say to their son "Just popping round your ex wife's for a chat" could they?

As for your aunt, its sad and tragic, but, to be blunt, irrelevant to your own love life. Its like saying "My cousin has just been made redundant and my uncle forced to retire early so why bother getting a job myself as its bound not to last".

"Children would never do this to their two biological parents."

Wrong!!!! Many adult children screw over their biological parents. As you say, blood is thicker than water, but money is a prime motive that can think the blood very quickly.

"But how could this man allow himself to be separated from his wife?"

He is 86. Do you think an 86 year old is going to think straight and rationally? He and your aunt are vulnerable people. To ask how he can allow it to happen is a little naïve. Its not a sign of him not loving her, but rather (from what you imply) him being taken advantage of my his family. You say there is more to the story and I suspect you are not seeing the bigger picture - sadly, and im in this situation with my grand parents, elderly care is complex, heartbraking and always a compromise.

Perhaps his family are having him live with them as he is no longer able to cope and has become a danger to himself and your aunt? At 86 few people still have their full independence. Does he have health issues or dementia? That is a common reason for an elderly parent to either go into a home or move in with a son or daughter. Having had an elderly relative live with us for a while it was very hard work, exhausting and too much to cope with for us. Having their partner move in with us as well would have finished us off.

If your aunts husband needs to be looked after than his family will take on that responsibility. Its a big responsibility and one which, for his family, will be stressful and difficult. Living with an 86 year old when you are younger is very tough. It will be hard work, upsetting and they will probably be at there wits end very quickly. There is no way they are going to move his wife in with them as well if she is more "with it" mentally and more physically able. It will be hard enough with one, but two?!

As for selling his home, well if he isn't living there and they (his family) are going to be paying out a lot more in heating, food, etc they probably think its not financially viable to keep his house going simultaneously. They probably need some of his pension, etc, he would normally use to pay for his own home to pay for his food and needs. Having an elderly parent live with you is very expensive.

"We are rallying around my Aunt and she will be cared for."

In the nicest possible sense, taking on your Aunts husband is a big undertaking for his family, they cannot realistically be expected to move your aunt in as well and care for them both. Its too much. They both lived to a grand old age but now are more reliant on others. If push came to shove would you move auntie in with you if she had to be looked after? If so would you let her hubby come live with you too and go for the double care option?

I don't think the issue is of you aunt being left out in the cold, although it may seem that way, but rather the sad reality of any couple reaching that kind of age. In an ideal world couples would die peacefully, in their sleep, at the same age. That doesn't usually happen. More common is one of the two in a marriage becomes frail, confused and develops dementia or similar and needs a lot of looking after. Their husband or wife is unable to provide that care with the best will in the world. That's when things get very complex - emotionally, financially and morally.

"Since I've had a failed marriage, and no children, is this what I have in store, if I'm ever blessed enough to find someone to love?"

Well the alternative to you Aunt is to grow old alone - no family, not husband, and that's a pretty lonely existence.

If you have a negative view of love and commitment then not many people are going to be asking you on dates. With a negative, "why bother when it will only go wrong" mentality, the people who will show an interest are weirdos and men looking for sex, money or whatever.

Since your husband left you for another woman you seem to be soaking up others relationship problems to justify being better off without him. Of course if you marry again he could die young, leave you for someone else or become old and get taken away from you, but to avoid love and relationships in case that happens is to deny yourself the pleasure and the good things.

Mark

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