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Just Joan: Wife has dumped me after 30 years.

Byline: Joan Burnie

Q: MY wife and I met when we were at school together. She was 13 and I was 15 and, from the minute I saw her, I knew she was the one. We became engaged on my 21st birthday and married two years later.

Within four years we had three children and, although it was hard work, I loved being a dad as much as she seemed to love being a mum.

We agreed to do without foreign holidays and so on, so she could stay at home while they were small. She returned to work when they were in their teens.

We now have two grandchildren and have been married for nearly 30 years.

Then last week my wife told me she was leaving me. It came right out of the blue. We hadn't had a row and had only just returned from a really nice holiday.

She says she feels she is suffocating. She swears there's no-one else and I have done nothing wrong.

She wants to sell the house - we don't have a mortgage - and share the proceeds. Now she's moved in with her sister.

Our children think she's gone off her head, but I believe it's to do with the menopause and her job. She works with young women and I'm sure she envies them and wants to be like them - which at 51 is ridiculous.

She told my daughter that she'd been planning her 'escape' for 20 years.

I'm very, very hurt, but I think she's ill, so do I wait for her to come to her senses or give her the divorce she wants?

A:I DOUBT your wife is ill, far less off her head. Nor, at 51, is she in her dotage. She's probably got a good 30 years left, as, of course, do you.

Obviously I don't know exactly why she left, but from what your daughter told you, it's no spur of the moment decision.

It sounds as if, having devoted herself to you and the family for half her life, she feels it's time to do her own thing.

The fact that there doesn't appear to be any room in her new life for you must have come as a terrible blow. It was, as far as you're concerned, a very good marriage This must make her decision to end it as puzzling as it is hurtful and I think she owes you more of an explanation. There may not be one which satisfies you, but if you persuade her to consider Couple Counselling, it could benefit you both.

They don't stick bad marriages together - they allow people to work out whether there is still anything worth saving.

If your wife thinks there isn't, there's nothing to do, apart from let her go.

It's possible she may find her new life unsatisfactory and will be begging you to take her back - but don't bank on it.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 17, 2004
Words:502
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