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He left me for a younger woman

When an older man leaves for a younger woman, he usually fears getting old and stale.
When an older man leaves for a younger woman, he usually fears getting old and stale.

I noticed some men leave a long-term relationship for a younger woman. It seems so wrong. What do you think?

Imagine you have devoted the last twenty years to raising your family and you are looking forward to finally spending some quality time with your husband. Then, suddenly, out of the blue, he leaves you for a much younger woman.

How easy would it be to descend into animosity and bitterness? Such betrayal is so unfair!

We can understand those who are tempted follow the example of the three jaded women in the blockbuster film, The First Wives Club. The wives, played by Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton, seek revenge. One by one they outwit and then financially and emotionally “cripple” their cheating ex-husbands.

Ivana Trump, also appearing as herself in the movie, sums up many women’s actions with her phrase: “Don’t get mad, get everything!”

Ivana certainly did in real life, suing her immensely wealthy husband, Donald, for a fortune. Most of us don’t have such a an avenue; our husbands are not so rich.

Of course men are not the only ones who do the deserting, but anecdotal evidence suggests fewer women than men run off with someone many years their junior.

It does seem unfair when a husband deserts a loyal wife for a younger model. For years, the wife has usually put her needs last, after those of the children and her husband. She will have most likely stalled her career in favour of his, and her money earning capacity, as a consequence, will be less. She is probably approaching middle age if not already there and beginning to lose her youthful looks. If she’s been spending most of her time helping at the school tuckshop and mixing with children, her confidence levels, in terms of the wider world, are likely to be fairly low as well. At one of the most vulnerable times in her life, she is left to cope alone, both financially and emotionally.

How could the person who vowed to love her through good times and bad, until death do them part, treat her so poorly? How could he leave?

The quick answer is he has panicked.

One day he looked in the mirror and saw one grey hair too many; or he found himself panting while climbing a set of stairs; or his father died. Maybe his business went broke or he lost a lot of money in poor investments.

He suddenly realised he was weak and mortal and, instead of facing his mortality and feelings of failure and coming to terms with it all, he got frightened. He ran, hoping to escape, until he ran into the arms of the first young female that looked his way.

Don’t begrudge him his new life. He is not going to enjoy it, not for long. His new partner will want to get married and have children. Although he might enjoy some of the interaction with his second family, he is going to get tired, very tired. It will be years before he can retire – by that time the retirement age will be seventy.

His new wife will give him a hard time if he harbours any affection for you. Although such affection may be tainted with guilt, it is likely to increase proportionally to the increase in difficulties he faces new life, especially if you have been emotionally tolerant and understanding during the breakup.

He has left because he has had the typical mid-life crises. Unfortunately, he has let his emotions dictate his actions. He will probably live to regret it.

So is the “get even” approach appropriate?

Getting even keeps you hooked into him. Revenge never satisfies in the longer term. Sooner or later you have to let go and get on with your life.

Leave him to reap what he has sown. In the meantime, make the most of the opportunity he has given you. You can grow, you can learn, you can create and you can have fun.

No one expands or grows by feeling completely safe and secure. Adversity is necessary. At first it is awful dealing with the loss, the grief and the hurt of rejection. But make the decision to move on. If you accept the challenge to grow your personal power, you will be surprised how happy you can become.

Moving on

  • Decide to turn adversity into opportunity. Decide you are going to become strong and powerful.
  • Join a gym, do weightbearing exercises and aerobics. Being physically strong and healthy is a precursor to building your emotional strength.
  • Seek help from a psychologist to work through your emotional baggage; you don’t need it any more.
  • Pursue the interests you sacrificed in the past no matter how adventurous they seem now.
  • Follow your bliss. Who or what makes you feel energised and joyful? Keep increasing into your life, contact with these people and activities.

Terri’s Story

Terri’s husband of 26 years has left her for his 27-year-old assistant. Terri feels confused and hurt. She decides she never really knew him at all. They were both so busy raising their three children that they never uncovered the real issues and differences between them.

After many months of grief, Terri decides this set back will not undo her. The children are grown up and she realises she can do what ever she likes. She can read a book after dinner instead of watching the news. She can have a bath, undisturbed on a Saturday morning. She can drop into friends for a cuppa and stay for lunch. No one is waiting for her. She is free.

There are two things Terri has always wanted to do. Paint nudes and ride a motor bike. Just thinking about the possibility of doing either, brings an adrenaline rush to her head and makes her draw in a sharp breath.

Soon, she musters up the courage to take bike-riding lessons. She loves them and is saving for a bike of her own.

With such success, she takes a life drawing class. Her technique needs some work, however, her teacher is kind and so she looks forward to the class each week.

Terri is determined to keep learning, experiencing and growing. She doesn’t know if her life would have been as full if her husband were still around. And now she doesn’t care.

32 thoughts on “He left me for a younger woman

  1. Last July, my husband of 34 years left me for a young thai girl 35 years younger who can’t even carry a decent conversation with him. He has since married her and now expecting their first child next month. I was a total wreck and still recovering. I hope I can pull myself through this. Some days I doubt if I will ever smile again.

    1. Maria, such a painful time for you. As Mary Oliver says in her poem, “The Uses of Sorrow,” “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.” I hope your suffering continues to transmogrify into wisdom and compassion for self and others, and you see yourself as the woman you truly are: sufficient, resilient, strong and always ‘enough’. All the best to you. It gets better. Rachel

    2. I found out Christmas Day 2017 that my husband was returning to Thailand and not coming back. He met a young girl in a bar in Patong and was returning to start his life with her. They are still together and we are in the middle of a divorce.
      What I have learned in the last year:
      I am the lucky one, he is broken and always will be. Thailand is an escape from reality. He has lost his children, friends and family. One day he will wake up from this but it will be too late. We will have moved on.
      The pain is real for us ( we have 3 children) but we have to move forward in our lives.
      The best revenge is a life well lived!

      1. Tina, falling for a bargirl ends in financial and emotional ruin for men almost every time. One western guy commits suicide everyweek over there, usually jumping off a balcony or being killed by the girl’s husband or boyfriend etc. There are thousands upon thousands of houses built over there by white guys, for bargirls and their families. The white guys cannot own property there so when the house is done, he gets kicked out and the girls real husband gets moved in. Google it makes for fun reading

    3. When we act from our woundedness, we perpetuate the pain in the long run. That is what is likely to happen to him. However, I hope that you heal and get stronger and clearer about your truth as time goes by. All the best. Rachel

    4. After 30 years of loving my husband, he left me for a 21 year old ex student of his. I am devastated, i also have a 21 year old Autistic son who lives with me. I just cant wrap my mind around why a 53 year old man could see in a 21 year old. I think its gross, and very disrespectul, he even moved in with her before we even filed for divorce. How do i move on and get over all the hate and anger

      1. Hi Robin
        My husband of 26 years left me for 22 years old she is from Indonesia and he is 69 years 70 in May this year I am very devastated and I am suffering from mental health issues because of it and they are engaged know how sick is that.
        But what I can’t understand just because they want young girls why do we have to pay for they stupid it and are homes pulled apart

        1. Thanks for sharing Vera. I can only imagine how it must feel. All strength and power to you in the coming months. Rachel

    5. I am So Sorry Maria! You did not deserve this! No Wife deserves to be treated with such Selfish Cruelty! My Divorce just became final after one year! It was a Brutal Experience! I too was abandoned by my Ex Husband Of 33 Years for a Younger Woman! All I can advise, as I am still not 100 percent, is to take it one day at a time! I am not crying every day anymore! I am starting to laugh again! I have two Adult Children, that I am very close too. I am still going through the process. I am still scared of the future at times, but the fear is subsiding little by little. Get Some Help Sweetheart. Go to a Counselor or a Support Group. Good Luck! It will get better. You can go through life with your head held high, with integrity. Your Ex will absolutely reap what he has sown. Nobody treats another human being so poorly and gets a Free Pass. Good Luck! God Bless.

    6. I’m so sorry. I went through a very similar situation. .way younger girl ..who is also his cousin. We were together for 14 years..I found his phone and saw there texts ..I confronted him, he walked out the door and never talked to me or his daughters again..I stayed in my house, in my bed..for literally almost 4 years..I am now realizing he was a narcissistic asswipe. Oh and on his way out..I said I guess I never even knew you and he said yeah that’s right I cheated on you the first day we slept together. .I was devestated but can see how sick our,relationship was..eggshells…I hurt for my daughters the youngest was very close to him..we hear he is now denying they are even his! I pray that God will help me be able to love and trust a man again..but I’m kind of doubtful. .Sorry Dear I Feel Your Pain!!

    7. 35 years??? lol what a delusional idiot. i can guarantee she has a man on the side or a husband in thailand. 35 yrs LOL what an absolute twit. you should read the free book “Private Dancer” and see what really goes on in Thailand. the woman will leave him and go back to thailand with the kid, go back to thailand and leave the kid with him, or, most likely, leave him and take his assets + house. there is literally NO other way this can go. trust me its 35 years! meanwhile i would go get a facelift, and some fat grafting, hit the gym, get into meditation and wait for the fireworks

    8. Im so sorry I can relate my husband of 20 yrs left me for a younger woman met her on a layover traveling and texted me ending it and he moved out of state with her and her 4 kids i never heard from him again. I did hear he was engaged and trying to have a baby but ur right i feel i will never smile again i was so use to him. There was no sign or warning just up and gone. I dont know how men or woman can walk out on a family and move in with another like they had known each other for years when he only met her 5 hours and ready to end his 20 yrs over this woman. I lost everything in the process its been about 3 mths now and I still feel like my heart has been pulled out we have no kids together so I feel like he has died because he never contacted me or prob never will again. ? I do hope things will get better as time goes on and I hope u are doing well

  2. My boyfriend and I was living g together. He started sleeping out almost every night. When I spoke to him about it he will blow up on me. I was left with the kids under stress. Came lost out third baby s he left me in ally pain. I found out January 23 he is now living with a 20 year old as he will be 40 in October. I am thankful to God he showed me so I can no longer guess why he was sleeping out. I am happy he has set me free from my misery and am happy with my kids enjoying my life and living for once in my life…..God has something better in store for me.

  3. I have been closely following the Barnaby Joyce affair. It sickens me. Even before my husband ran off with a work colleague, I used to feel sick also at the sight of Karl Stefanovic after he ran off.
    It is so very hard and my husband is being so nice to get what he wants in the settlement and access to the children , which he hasn’t worked out has all to do with him running off and his ongoing dishonest and unreliable behaviour. It infuriates me. I would like to know how, when wives have been the backbone of a marriage, while husbands travel and build up a career, and generally do what they like, we can not feel embittered. I was so looking forward to some special things with him last year, as our youngest became more independent.

    I am trying to drag myself out of that bitter attitude, having thrown myself into things I have always wanted to do ; volunteer work in a developing country, entering my first ocean swim, learning to sing etc etc. Journaling, therapy, exercise, talking to friends, time with my kids ( my favourite thing in the world) but I am still feeling f….ed over.

    Suggestions welcome.

    When does it get good??

  4. In September 2016 my partner of 25 years admitted an affair with a work colleague but wouldn’t tell me who. In January 2017 I worked out who it was and she is a federal politician and my partner was her boss who worked hard to get her pre-selected. She is 10 years younger than me (and him). Lately she has been in the news and I find that very hard. I also find the Barnaby Joyce affair distressing and I’m very sad for his wife. Me and my kids believed in the integrity of my ex and we suffered when this happened.

    Nevertheless, as I pull my life together I discover that life is full of surprises and great people who love me. Since we split I’ve gotten a tattoo, gone scuba diving, went to the NT and bought a little house near the sea. I do what I want to do now.

    I remember in the first few months I was terribly sad thinking that no one would know or care where I was but now I sometimes: No one knows where I am! Yipeeee!

    To all of you that have suffered this – don’t look back. The way he treated you is more his problem and is not what defines you. You are defined by your strength and you have more than you know. In the end you are the one with integrity and courage so apply it to your life now.

  5. We been together with my partner for over 4 years and lived together over 3. We been throw lots and our relationship was great, strong connection even with his and mine family. We were planning to buy a house and around 2 months ago talked about it even more. We were trying for a baby. Last few months he got bit colder and told me later he was not happy, but he didn’t tell me anything. beginning of January he start to see a girl from his work, she is much younger than him. He is 36 and she is 21! she recently broke up with her boyfriend and moved alone for the fist time. after couple of weeks they already had fights. He said she is childish and he doesn’t like the way she is behaving with him and others…but they made up. They not officially couple but people knows about them as they working together nearly every day. but at work they acting normal no feelings. He told me he is confused and don’t know what he wants. I moved out of our room last week to my friends house. I left him space and time to realise what he wants. He was txt or call nearly every day see how I’m. Yesterday we met for coffee he told me that he miss me but he is divided now, there is something with this girl that she is giving him young energy or something, but he said that he knows there is no future with her, and he cant talk with her about serious things etc. He suppose to be happy I moved he can enjoy the single life…but he is depressed and looks very sad and tired. We talked calm and I could see on him he is lost. We said we will give each other a time separate and see what it will bring us and if he will realise that he love me and want me back. I do love him to the bits he is my soul mate and I think we meant to be together. I told him he has to decide what he wants and think about future and he needs to know who is better for him. His answer was I know you better for me. After coffee I had to go to hospital for appointment and he went with me by himself, he gave me few kiss on the face while we been talking, also put his hand on my knee for some time. When we were looking for the correct departments he asked in reception and said “my girlfriend having appointment….” I could feel something from him. He txt me after that he was happy to see me that we talked a bit and next time we will talk more… after no contact and I think he went after work last night to see that girl again 🙁 I think she is alone now and bored and looking for attention, they not sharing nothing together except work and sex. They working together around an year but before nothing between them. only when he start having a problems with himself didn’t talk to me to tell me what is he missing etc. and I think he got bored. As we live in 1 en-suite room only and he is working a lot. She also broke up with her boyfriend and first time living alone, I think this brought them together… he is having some feelings for her and told me before I moved house that he need to go see her as he miss her and thinking about her… but I don’t think is love, he said himself he doesn’t love her and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t love him. she is 21!! I think she is just using him not to be alone and get the attention. If this will be real they will be happy, specially in the beginning. no fighting and he is depressed and don’t look happy… Do you think that time will maybe help us get back together and for him to miss me and realise he wants to be with me? Can this “relationship” they 2 having be real? as people knows about them as working nearly every day together but they not officially couple, she knew he was living with me when dating him ( I think that shows her age and how serious she is about him ) and he doesn’t look happy said himself he doesn’t love her and no future….
    Please any opinion or advise? Many thanks

  6. Hello my husband and I have been together for 18 years and we are still married he has always been a barfly womanizer type of guy but was always generous smart caring and would do anything for you ….well 2 years ago I found out he was cheating with a woman who was married to my cousin he did leave me for her and come to find out he was also sleeping with a 23 year old girl ..he is 47 years old ..well the girl that was married to my cousin became pregnant, he denied the baby the whole time she was pregnant, left her and is now currently living with the 23 year old around the corner from myself and our three daughters …I have been severely depressed very isolated and do not know what to do I have self-medicated which he says was part of the reason he left because he couldn’t take it anymore because of the years of medication I was taking I need some advice on how to be stronger for my three daughters.. I have a 24 year old stepson from his previous girlfriend, we have three beautiful daughters together 17,14,and 10 and now there is a one-year-old in the mix with the girl who was married to my cousin who he is not even with …he’s with the 24 year old she is now and lives around the corner I don’t know what to do.. my grandmother had passed away and left me $3,000 that I used to hire an attorney for a divorce and he refused to sign the papers I don’t have any family my mother father brother grandparents Aunts Uncles cousins sister-in-law are all deceased so basically I have one brother and one aunt and my three daughters in my complete family he seems very miserable to me he never Smiles or laughs anymore he lives with her 55 year old mother and her 17 year old brother who is our oldest daughter’s age I am 43 but because of me being molested as a child I refuse to bring a man into my home.. he pays all the bills ..he is a very hard worker he buys all the food and our girls want for nothing they have the best of everything but our home is just very depressing now I’m trying to figure out a way to start a new life but I don’t have any answers.. any advice would be greatly appreciated.. also I had heard that now the 24 year old had said he can’t marry me or buy me a ring but he can give me a baby which would make her baby mama number four.. I’m confused I’m devastated heartbroken I felt like my soul was crushed it was a complete shock not a bad the cheating but about him leaving I would appreciate any advice anyone could give me in any similar situation on how to jump start a new life for myself because I literally take my girls to school laying on the couch all day pick my girls up make dinner do homework and get right back on the couch and I can’t live like this anymore please help thank you God bless

  7. My boyfriend, my soul mate, my heart. Was acting cold for several months, which I thought was depression related to being unemployed. Turns out he is in love with a woman 17 years younger whom he met on a school trip to Europe with daughter. She left her husband for him. They are in love and he says he loves her more than he ever loved me, I tried to kill myself and took enough drugs- I stopped breathing- but he called 911and they saved my pathetic life. Can’t imagine a day much less a future without him. The devastation is complete and real. Trying to survive for my kids, but dont think I can.

    1. To Lauren, Jennifer and Laura…
      When it comes to love, our rational mind isn’t running the show. Instead, breakups make us think like this: the person who knew me best and loved me most now thinks I’m a piece of garbage, so it must be true. It takes time and effort but you can get your sense of self-worth back. Here are some important tips:

      1. Realise you are not the many things that your ex (or others) said or implied about you.
      2. Be extraordinarily compassionate to yourself. This website from Kristin Neff has some self-compassison meditations: http://self-compassion.org/
      3. Forgive yourself for any mistakes you made.
      4. Create space for healing and love. Be yourself. Visualise yourself as a confident lovable and loving person.
      5. Create a no-negativity zone. Say ‘no’ to people who brin gyou down.
      6. Be kind to others. Showing compassion to others is a great self-esteem booster.

      Book into see one of us or find a good therapist near where you live to work through your grief and loss, and your journey back to your strong, confident, authentic self.

      All the best to you all.

      Rachel 🙂

    2. Lauren, you can make it. You’re going to have to pray and ask God for strength. You have to begin by loving yourself. Never love a man more than you love yourself. And definitely don’t kill yourself. That won’t make him love you. It’ll only make you appear to be desperate and you don’t need to feed his ego any more than it already has been. If he wants out, let it go his way. Stop calling, e-mailing, looking at his Facebook and things that’ll keep you upset. Stay busy, surround yourself with trustworthy, supportive, positive people, read your bible, stay on your knees and pray and cry it out. Talk to close friends and family when you feel weak, but definitely don’t run behind him. You are valuable and deserve better. It will take time but slowly, eventually, you will get your smile back. Believe me. One day you will look back at this and laugh. You will even ask yourself what you even saw in him. Keep taking it one day at a time. Eventually your heart will heal and you won’t think about him.

    3. Another thing Lauren, you said this guy is your boyfriend. Even though it hurts, you dodged a major bullet. Just imagine how you’d feel if he was your husband. You’re not even married to this guy and can’t trust him. Just imagine how insecure you’d feel if you did marry him. I know it hurts. Trust me. I’ve been there. It feels like you’re going to die, but you won’t. God actually allowed you to see what type of person he really is, not just who he pretended to be. Thank Him for showing you. Learn from this and move on to bigger and better things. Life is too short to pine away over someone who doesn’t love or show you respect. And remember this: never give a boyfriend husband treatment and privileges meaning don’t allow a man to have your body who is not willing to give you his last name.

  8. I keep searching the net for the perfect answer to make me feel good again. My partner of 13 years is 57, i’m 46. I guess i was the younger model when he divorced his wife of 25 years. At first it was me that wanted to move away, he had cheated on me a few times picking up chicks from the pub that would listen to his sob story on how bad our relationship was, when yes we had our downs but many ups too!

    After we sold the house and moved our separate ways, albiet 1 suburb away, i realised i wanted him back. However, he started partying more at the pub and yes i became the stalker that would find stray women over it his place. I never saw him doing anything, it was just that fact they were there!!

    I’d do the drive bys, the face stalking, watch him from across the road at the other pub etc… see the other issue too was that he was always ringing me to invite me over to dinner, we were still sailing, still doing family things with his daughter and grandkids (we have none), so he was keeping me close but then having a great old time on the weekends, and i guess this did make me angry! I couldn’t understand why he wanted to be with me only on a parttime basis i guess. We did christmas and birthdays still!

    We both share the same friends and the same sport of sailing.

    I’ve actually been doing the no contact period on him and has been 4 weeks…. I find out he’s been seeing a 23 year old in secret. I just can’t fathom the thought!

    I have been doing yoga, going to the gym, hanging out with my friends, dressing sexy and looking a million bucks, yes for myself, but i guess on the hope he will see me… being locals we have the same pubs and clubs we frequent… I’ve picked up other men, i’ve been on dates…

    I’m trying to do everything the experts say, yet he’s still the first person i think of every morning and last at night… i just don’t know how to get over this! I seriously can’t believe he’s seeing someone 35 years younger…. And it just pains me every day.

    1. Angie, it’s a heart-breaking story 🙁 It gets better. Just keep going. Grieve and allow feelings AND also be stubborn in your commitment to live well and be the bigger person. Best wishes, Rachel

      1. This story resonates so much with me. I was the younger model when my husband divorced his wife of 20+ years. He is 21 years older than me. Now, 12 years later, I am almost 38 and he is 59 almost 60. I found out 2 nights ago that he is dating and sleeping with a 23-year old girl. It angers me, saddens me, and I know I have a hard road ahead. He is a narcissistic sociopath and I know I can’t confront this head on or it will get real ugly real fast. I think the grieving process started yesterday. I was at a big family event and suddenly the sobs started coming out of nowhere and I had to hide so no one would ask me what’s wrong.

  9. My sister was devastated when her husband of 17 years left her for the younger woman. It was hard for her and when he suggested to stay friends she almost agreed, but then an older, wiser relative advised her not to go that way (as that would leave the door open for him but make things much harder for her). She listened.
    He was seeing children, going on holidays with them, she never said a bad word about him but made it clear to everyone that she will never, never like to be in the same room with him alone, so everyone knew how she felt…but guess what, 12 years later and he is sick and kicked out.

    My sister recovered, found the psychologist, started drawing classes and found even new friends. Her life is just fine.

  10. I highly suspect my husband of cheating with a woman 20 years younger. I can’t find evidence as I think they meet and carry on at her place. She recently moved, I think so that I wouldn’t be on her doorstep and interrupt their good times. There are too many suspicious things going on that add up to cheating. I don’t know whether to issue ultimatums or what to do. We had a good relationship until she came along.

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