My Husband Is Selfish, Having Abandoned Family Life

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a homemaker in my late 40s. Soon after my husband and I decided to marry, I got pregnant and gave birth to our first child. Two years later, our second child was born.

My husband didn’t go out or travel with the family, saying, “Children don’t remember things from their childhood.” So, by myself, I took our children myself to dig for potatoes, catch bugs, go to theme parks and do other activities. My husband was always out drinking, going to matchmaking parties, playing golf and traveling with his friends. He was often drunk and came home in the morning.

My husband was then transferred far away where he lived by himself. He seemed to enjoy himself freely and without restraint there, too. He told me that he married me because I could raise our children well even if he left me alone. After about 20 years of marriage, he finished his work at that post but did not return to me. He currently lives at his parents’ place.

I live on my husband’s salary, but the house where I live is in my parents’ name. My parents have extended support to us many times. As my husband has repeatedly cheated on me, I have no affection for him. I’m not confident that we can live well together in old age.

— Q, Hyogo Prefecture

Dear Ms. Q:

I think that your husband is indeed selfish. You have put up with him for the sake of your children.

You haven’t been able to go ahead with a divorce because you have been supported financially by your husband and do not want to ruin your current lifestyle, right? I think your husband is aware of this, so he does whatever he wants.

You have the option of continuing to regard your husband as an ATM and living happily with the amount of money he gives you. However, in an era when many people live to be 100 years old, you can choose a new life for yourself rather than continuing to live in this situation for years to come.

As for divorce, I recommend that you let a lawyer handle the matter. There is no need to rush. You can ask for a referral through a free consultation service provided by your local government. If you follow various instructions, such as collecting evidence of your husband’s affairs, I think you can turn the situation to your advantage.

More than that, think about how you want to live your life from now on. I know someone who secretly went to nursing school in order to divorce a husband who harassed her. She then became a nurse in her 40s and financially independent. Is there any job you want to try? Fortunately, you have housing and other benefits, so I think it would be good for you to make preparations to have a fulfilling second life.

— Masahiro Yamada, university professor