Sunday 21 July 2019

Agony aunt letter: 'I have no closure and am forced to carry this dark secret alone'

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Full text of the 'Dear Patricia' letter dated February 20, 2011

"I've made a right mess of my life and I need help on how to go forward. It all started four years ago, when my best friend died. This man was also my wife's cousin and a close family friend. He left a wife and a young family after him.

I coped by throwing myself into doing all I could for my friend's wife and children. There was much sorting out to do in relation to his business. Unfortunately, this led to an affair with his wife, and I fell deeply in love with her. It lasted three years and came to an abrupt end recently when I found out that she was seeing someone else. When I confronted her, she claimed that she had fallen out of love with me and was waiting for an opportunity to end "us".

This was a defining moment for both of us. She no longer depended on me, and quickly forgot about me by putting all her energy into developing this new relationship. This man promised everything that I couldn't. She introduced him to everyone in the family, including my wife, and they were all delighted that she had found love again.

My problem is that I am broken-hearted and angry at how well things have worked out for her, despite her lying and cheating on me. We meet on a constant basis as we have a business connection as well as the family connection. She refuses to discuss our affair and says it is in the past. She has confessed it to her new lover, while I have no closure and am forced to carry this dark secret alone. I now feel a tremendous amount of grief, and shame, for a lost love - and am possibly suffering postponed grief for a dead friend - all in silence.

I know I have done wrong and let my wife down badly. I contemplated telling her, but feel it would do nothing to relieve my burden while it would devastate her.

I have been diagnosed with depression, but none of the medication is working. My wife has been a tremendous support and loves me deeply. Ironically, this almost makes things worse.

Unfortunately, while I love her, I am not in love with her. I'm still in love with my ex-lover even though I accept that the affair is over. I wish I wasn't, and wish I could transfer the feelings I have for her back to my wife. How do I begin to rebuild my life?"

Irish Independent

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