Frustrated with absentee husband

All Woman

Dear Counsellor,

I am 47 years of age, and have been married for 16 years. I think my 45-year-old husband has been unfaithful. We met each other at church. No one wanted him because he didn't have any money, but I encouraged him because he had some nice ways. During our marriage the Lord blessed us with a nice house, a vehicle, and visas. I was always travelling to make ends meet to ensure we lived a good life. He was self-employed, so for months sometimes he did not work. I pay all the bills plus the mortgage and insurance.

The problems started when we were both living in the USA where I became ill and had to come back home. He remained there, and is involved with a lady, but he says they are just friends. When I accuse him, he says he is a Christian and a deacon, so I should support him.

I am sick, but he doesn't want to come back to Jamaica. I think it would be best for us to separate because I can't live like this. It is hard being alone in the house. I think he loves me because I have a head for business, a nice house, and can manage money well.

Sadly, your story is one that so many women can identify with. They spend much time and effort trying to ensure that they and their partners live a reasonably comfortable life, but instead of being supportive, the partners are unfaithful and ungrateful. This must be very difficult to deal with, especially in your present state of health.

So during the 16 years of marriage you claim that your husband has been unfaithful, and when confronted, he indicated that he was only being sociable with the lady friend. Have you been able to verify your claims? Could he be telling the truth, and could you be overreacting? Were you so involved in your work that you neglected his emotional and sexual needs?

You see, as much as you are pointing fingers at your spouse, are you taking any responsibility for how you may have contributed to the breakdown in your marriage?

You both need to have a conversation as to how you will manage the long-distance relationship, as it does appear that both of you are stuck where you are now — your husband for work reasons, and you on account of ill health. It is important that some compromise be struck where he will come down and see you when he gets a break. If not, there is always technology that can connect you both in real time.

If, on the other hand, you are convinced that he is involved with his “friend” overseas, and you are not prepared to continue to be alone and he is not interested in being physically available, particularly at a time when you need him most, then that conversation must be had as soon as possible.

Your fear of having to intervene should an eventuality occur is a reasonable one that a caring wife must contemplate. All the more reason why you both need to have dialogue as soon as possible regarding your feelings about the present and future of the marriage.

In the meanwhile, try and enjoy the fruits of your labour, and don't stress yourself to the point of becoming depressed. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally, and reach out for professional help should the need arise. All the best.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com; check out his work overseas on www.seekingshalom.org, e-mail powellw@seekingshalom.org.

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