They had been together for nearly 20 years, but Nina (not her real name) woke up one day to find that her husband no longer wanted to be with her. He had met someone, he said. Someone who was more fun, caring, and…more than ten years younger than she was. Her worst fears were realised: her husband left for a younger woman.
It was a painful blow to her already crippled self-esteem. Before leaving her, the sex had gone from their marriage.
He no longer complimented her. He would criticise almost every thing she said or did for him. Even as she strived to satisfy his every need, he made her feel like she was constantly failing.
Nina was a mum of three, who remarried when her youngest was only a toddler. What hurt more was that this man was the only father her kids had ever known. Her first marriage only lasted for two years.
She thought this man was “the one,” but it turns out the feeling was not mutual.
Her husband left for a younger woman, why does this happen?
There is no easy explanation as to why husbands leave their wives for younger women. In Nina’s case, her now ex-husband claims she no longer satisfied him. He blamed her for “letting herself go,” for no longer making an effort to be the woman he fell in love with and married.
Sadly, this sounds familiar to many of us. And it is often the one who has been hurt who thinks they are at fault.
This feeling of inadequacy isn’t the only thing women who are left by their husbands take to heart.
Some believe that men devalue women once they’re past 40 because women sometimes tend to fear ageing too much.
Simply put, men pursue younger women because they want to feel young, too.
What if your husband left for a younger woman? It might seem like a possibility best left ignored, but it always pays to be vigilant. How can you avoid it?
Psychology Today outlines three risk factors for marital collapse for couples approaching middle age.
1. Unrealistic expectations
Men and women have their own expectations about marriage. They also have different ways of dealing when these expectations are not met.
Some choose to fight for their marriage, while others just up and leave, thinking that there is someone out there who can make them happier.
Some men, who are just overcome with the need to feed their ego, seek out younger women for more excitement. Some might want to be admired, pampered, and exert control over their partners.
In their quest for this type of fulfillment, they put their own needs above the needs of their wife and family. They think they have earned the right to act solely for themselves.
3. Lax behavioural limits
Over the years, couples can get comfortable, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it can cause problems when these freedoms are taken for granted, and even abused.
For example, a husband might not be aware that his harmless flirtation with a younger co-worker is already leading him astray. Why? Simply because he is in denial that this is harmful behaviour.
If your husband left for a younger woman, how can you move on?
It is deeply humiliating to be left by the one you vowed to share your life with. But what can be an even bigger blow is knowing that they left for someone younger.
Moving on doesn’t happen overnight. It is a long process that requires commitment and patience. But there are ways to get started.
1. Don’t wallow in self-pity
Easier said than done, of course. But it can be done. Being abandoned for someone else can cause you to question your worth, regardless if they are younger or not.
Blaming yourself is normal, but it doesn’t have to be your emotional norm.
Do not sabotage yourself on the road to healing. Know that the first step is truly forgiving yourself. This is the only way you can begin to repair the damage, to know that you are worthy of recovery.
2. Prioritise self-care
Choose to love yourself. Join a gym, get spa treatments, travel—whatever is feasible for your life situation and resources, do it. If your husband left for a younger woman, doing things for yourself, even in simple ways, can help remind you of your worth.
For mums, focusing on caring for your kids will help, too! They are, after all, counting on you to give them the best care, even if you are hurting.
3. Pursue your interests and passions
In line with self-care, focus on what you had to set aside and sacrifice while in a relationship. Are there dreams you put on hold so your husband could excel in his career? Pick up where you left off. It is never too late.
Work on your relationship with yourself. As they say, sometimes you are the only one you can count on.
4. Don’t obsess over ‘what could have been’
When a relationship goes awry, it’s natural to analyse what went wrong. But obsessing over every little detail often does more harm than good. Breakups are messy and there is often no clear explanation as to why a marriage ends.
There will often be unanswered questions and words left unsaid. Sometimes closure means being brave enough to let go without the promise of answers.
5. Swallow your pride and ask for help
Mums want to stay strong no matter what, but we all need a little help once in a while. When it comes to the heartbreaking period after a marriage ends, a mum will need all the support she can get. Seeking out trusted family and friends will be of great help through this tough time.
It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes an equally supportive one to keep raising that child once your partner decides he wants out.
Sources: Psychology Today, PsychCentral
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