I am 57 years old. My wife died after a mostly satisfying 24 year marriage. Approximately nine months later I began dating a 38 year old woman who was exiting, by divorce, an 18 year marriage that produced 4 kids, ages 10 through 19 and where her every move was controlled by her husband. We dated for nine months and were totally inseparable. Shortly after we married, my wife told me that she had to have more space in our relationship. She began going out alone with her single girlfriends and not coming home until 2 or 3 in the morning. This has escalated to an average of twice a week and includes some Friday and Saturday nights. I have told her that I’m very unhappy with her going out by herself, but she says she has to do this to make up for her 18 years of “imprisonment.” Consequently, I spend many unhappy, hurt times alone, babysitting the children. The problem has been magnified by her sister, who is trying to replace her absent husband’s companionship by attracting single men in nightclubs. My wife assures me that she does not speak to these men or let them buy her drinks, but she is, nonetheless, spending hours on end in nightclubs full of men who are looking for female companionship. I guess my question is – what do I do next? I don’t believe in giving an adult person an ultimatum. I think that would destroy the relationship forever. But, its getting so that I don’t want to go home at night, because I’m not sure if my wife will be there. That made me mad at first, but not it just simply hurts me so deeply that I find the feelings very difficult to cope with.
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You didn’t hijack this woman to be your bride – she agreed to it. As her husband, you are well within bounds to expect her to pay reasonable attention to you and to not dismiss your needs. I agree that for you to give her an ultimatum might be too much. However, your present solution isn’t working either. There are other options for solving this problem to be explored here that can help you both get what you need. You and your wife will need to talk openly and without anger to arrive at these other options. Why don’t you ask your wife to attend some marital counseling with you? That way you both can benefit from having a good referee around while you talk this out. I hope this helps!