Friday 22 September 2017

'I was dying a slow death with my husband. I'm free now.'

Geraldine and her husband were in their fifties when they retired to the west of Ireland, but the 25-year-old marriage was doomed, lasting just three more years.

It came as a deep shock to Geraldine, the mother of three adult children, that there was no going back.

"My husband had retired and was in the house all day so we had been at odds with each other. But we thought the move would be a new start," she says.

''When we got to the west of Ireland there was some excitement for me although he seemed to be dragging his feet. Then a strange thing happened. He started excluding me from anything he was doing and creating a new life totally for himself that didn't involve me. It was hurtful. It was like we were competing with each other for friends. It deteriorated really quickly."

The idea of starting somewhere new on her own terrified Geraldine, who had never lived alone before and hadn't worked outside of the family home for almost 30 years.

"I was very, very depressed. I just couldn't imagine starting out on my own. Where was I going to get the money? What was I going to do? I couldn't stand living with him but I didn't know where to begin. Life was miserable," she recalls.

The couple went to counselling but it only made matters worse.

"He brought up so much from the past that he was angry about and that he never brought up at the time," Geraldine says.

Even after they separated, she still harboured a hope that they might reconcile, but within a month her husband told her he had begun a new relationship.

"I really fell apart. I felt a lot of anger. I felt like I had been totally deceived.''

Four years on and she is frustrated that the marriage has yet to be brought to a legal conclusion.

"It is like a dark cloud hanging over my head and I don't like it. I just want to be free of this man. We had done a legal separation and I was content with that but now he wants a divorce and I don't know how I am going to end up financially.

"But I was dying a slow death with him. I feel freer now," she says.

Irish Independent

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