Dear Amy: My husband and I are both seniors. He works full time and I work part time.
We have been married for over 25 years.
He recently told me that he is involved in a relationship with a 19-year-old girl. When I pressed him for details, he said that they communicate several times a day and have been in touch every day for the last two years.
I am devastated and repulsed by what he told me in his very calm but smug way. The more I cried, the more sadistic he became.
I kept asking why.
He finally said that he wanted someone younger.
I am 13 years younger than he is.
He insists that there was no physical intimacy, and he was only trying to help her.
What do you think? Is he just trying to hurt me or maybe throw me off?
Now there is an ugly divorce ahead.
Should I just resign myself to take a divorce settlement as offered, or fight for everything I can get?
I have an attorney who advised me to figure out our assets and debts and get ready to split them, since we live in a no-fault state.
I am already in therapy, but it hasn’t helped my state of mind.
— Heartbroken at 63
Dear Heartbroken: First this: At the age of 63, you are not quite a “senior” — at least in my opinion.
Your husband, 13 years older than you, definitely is.
I realize that this sudden change in your life is both shocking and heartbreaking, but I wish you could try to look on this with the benefit of hindsight.
One year from now, your husband will be yet another old fool who has met the online girl of his dreams — only to be taken to the cleaners, either emotionally and/or financially — and probably, both.
I don’t suggest that you engage in a protracted, nasty, and expensive court battle — but I do suggest that you find a competent and assertive lawyer who will do some forensic accounting and dig into your marital finances as quickly as possible, and begin the process of verifying and dividing them — before your husband has had the chance to hide, spend or waste joint assets on this new relationship.
As hard as it is to face, this is not the time to passively lick your wounds.
Yes, I think your husband is trying to hurt you and throw you off, and if he is not actively trying to hurt you, then — at the very least — he is not attending to your anguish.
Stick with therapy. Think of this as an experience that you should try to move through, learning as you go.
Dear Amy: Before the pandemic, I hosted a small group of international students at my home over holiday breaks. (My children attend college out of state.)
My kids were upset with me, saying that I should let them know that strangers will be at the home so they can make other plans.
Their argument is that they come home to spend time with me and not with people whom they don’t know.
They feel this is their time to catch up and let down their hair.
What are your thoughts?
The program I volunteered with to do this is starting back up and has reached out to me.
I enjoy being a surrogate to the students who are so far away from their own families, but do not wish to alienate my own children.
— Empty Nest
Dear Empty Nest: First this: Do your children know Thanksgiving’s backstory? Your hospitality is what this unique holiday is all about!
They are reacting selfishly, and their basic motivation is that they simply don’t want to share.
However, these experiences can be very impactful for everyone involved; in fact, two of my brothers-in-law met their (international student) spouses under very similar circumstances.
I think you should call their bluff. Give them a heads up that you’ll be hosting. And if they don’t want to come home, perhaps they will find a generous family in their college town who will take them in.
Dear Amy: “Generous Gram” wrote to you regarding her grandchildren who didn’t thank her for her generous monetary gifts.
She should ty this: Send a check and don’t sign it. When they call or text to address the issue, don’t respond.
— Uncle Been There
Dear Uncle: Many people have responded, suggesting this “don’t sign the check” gambit. Looks like a lot of people have “been there.”
(You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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