Ask the aunties

Artwork by Julie Hamann.

Artwork by Julie Hamann.

Dear Aunties

I have been married for over 20 years. During that time my husband had various affairs; some appear serious but others just ‘flings’.

I thought I had learnt to live with it as he always returns to the nest!

Now my children are beginning to leave home and I find I want to follow them, not to be with them, but to have an independent life!

Friends, family and close friends asked how I put up with such betrayal? I think it was easy enough once I fell out of love with him. Even so I have shed copious tears during our life together.

I took my marriage vows very seriously so if I do leave it will be a huge break for me.

The children wonder why I didn’t leave years ago but apart from the affairs he is a good man! Strange isn’t it?

Have you any advice for me?

Mavis

Dear Mavis

This problem is very difficult for us also. First, sit down with a pencil and paper and write down all the pros and cons re leaving and staying.

Second, consider a visit to a counsellor. She or he may sort out for you the perils of leaving and /or staying. There is a very good counsellor in Taree. Community Health at Manning Hospital will assist you with this.

Certainly, talk seriously with your husband. It is possible that he thinks you have become used to his ‘affairs’.  We have heard men say, ‘She’s used to me. She knows I always come home’!

Perhaps you need to tell him exactly what you feel and think. Try and do this without blaming or accusing.

We realise this is very difficult because one thing leads to another, but it is better for you if you can discuss openly and honestly exactly what is on your mind NOW.

Write to us again if we can be of assistance.

The Aunties

The Manning River Times presents a series of letters under the title ‘Ask the aunties’, focusing on potential scenarios that could lead to domestic violence. While the people letters are imaginary, the problems are real for many women.

To seek help, phone 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732); Lifeline 13 11 14 or the police 000.

Some signs of abuse can include: unfairly and regularly accuses her of flirting or being unfaithful; controls how she spends money; decides what she wears or eats; humiliates her in front of other people; monitors what she is doing, including reading her emails and text messages; discourages or prevents her from seeing friends and family; threatens to hurt her, the children or pets; physically assaults her (hitting, biting, slapping, kicking, pushing); yells at her; threatens to use a weapon against her; decides what she uses for birth control; forces her to have an abortion or to continue a pregnancy; constantly compares her with other people; constantly criticises her intelligence, mental health and appearance; prevents her from practising her religion.