An anonymous reader wrote to me last week with a cry for help that I have seen so many times, so much so that I read an article where it has been suggested that Facebook has a relationships status ‘Still sleeping with my ex!”.....
I chose this letter in particular as it appears that more and more frequently couples are divorcing without getting good advice from a counsellor or a coach. Divorce is so traumatic - even if you want to reconcile there is just too much hurt to overcome.
The reader wrote:
“I have recently divorced my husband and moved out of our home. However, ever since the move, my ex has shown me so much attention, that I have had him stay over at my place already.
I somehow know deep inside of me, that it may all be an act, just until he gets me back into the comfort zone of loving him, and then he will start all his nonsense again. He has had numerous affairs and hates to discuss same, in order for me to heal. I have been through emotional and physical abuse, but I do still love him.
I don’t know what to do, because one part of me is telling me to hold on and the other part is saying it is time to let go! My family don’t understand what I am going through and it is hard for them to be objective at this time. Help me please...”
Infidelity is the primary cause of break-ups
I am conducting research on the reasons for infidelity this year. To date the biggest cause of a man’s infidelity is low self-esteem and self-worth. This underpins their need for flirtation, clandestine cell phone and email relationships and ultimately the physical affairs. The attention from another woman, who doesn’t know all his faults and failings the way his partner or wife does, makes him feel good about himself; it makes him feel masculine, worthy and fuels his ego.
Lest we forget, ladies, men do have a very real ego, and whilst infidelity is an absolute no-go area, it is a very real part of our daily lives. We read about it in magazines and newspapers, hear about it on the radio and watch news stories and programmes on TV where it is mentioned almost daily. Men in turn know that they have done wrong but their ego and guilt won’t allow them to admit it,
The current balance in society has never weighed more in our favour; women have more rights and opportunities than ever before. Quite right I hear you say, but is it in all aspects? I think not!
Our emancipation in many ways has come at the cost of our men’s emasculation
They have not been able to find balance between being the provider, head of household and the new found position of his partner or wife as an equal in the workplace.
Sometimes, ladies, we have to remember to leave the ball breaking in the office and in many ways remember to be the ‘lady’ at home. Some of us need to relearn how to love our men.
I hope that I get a lot of input from everyone who reads this article as it was my aim to be provocative in my content. I am being guided by the feelings of some of the most respectable men I know and love, together with more and more South African men daily.
I responded directly to the reader, with honesty and warmth, advising her to sit with her ex-husband and initiate real communication, to see if they can find some common ground, and a way forward. He must want to want to change his behaviour and it takes guts, determination and perseverance to do it. I advised her to make sure that she is sure that this is what she wants, before thinking of a more permanent reconciliation.