Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

My relationship is gone

Community Member

I'm really struggling with my partner of 20 years cheating on me with younger guys. I was loyal to a fault, supported her through alcoholism, her own depression, post natal depression and all the thanks I get for supporting is... "I love you but I'm really attracted to younger guys so I'm gonna go and have sex with them, see you at the end of the weekend".

I am a nice guy, average looking, not a monster but not horrible.

I've been so supportive and worked so hard for her and our family, and it feels like it meant nothing. I work, cook, shop and provide our single income.

Now she is saying she has never truly been attracted,but we have 3 kids. Am I that stupid that I didn't ever notice she wasn't attracted to me. She was also overly jealous... 'she used to constantly ask me whether I hated her, or found others more attractive. It used to be constant and upsetting but now... she wants other guys and finds me repulsive.

I feel like everyday is just a new slap in the face. Oh and to top it all off my boss hates my guts and I couldn't get my contract renewed at work. So whilst dealing with all this BS I've gotta be the best version of myself to find a new job.

Life just don't seem fair.

13 Replies 13

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi JimmyT46,

That must have been absolutely devastating, for someone to treat you with such little care or respect after everything you’ve done for her. You have been through a lot with your partner and you would think that you are entitled to come out the other side and have a quiet, happy life. But unfortunately there’s a reason you’ve been through a lot with her, with people like that it’s always something you know. If it’s not depression, it’s alcoholism, if it’s not alcoholism it’s cheating. It says nothing about you but everything about her and who she is as a person, some people must want to self-destruct and take everyone down with them.
you have a lot going on at the moment. If you can’t deal with it all at once, I I would focus on the new job first. You will need the security of that, whatever happens. And then I suppose you need to ask what you can take and whether you see your life with her getting any easier. You’ve been with her for 20 years so that should give you an idea.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Jimmy, this must be so disappointing especially when you have helped her so much to be able to recover, only to be told she 'likes younger men so I'm gonna go and have sex with them', may, unfortunately, be acceptable, whereas the reverse is not accepted, that, however, is not the point, because how can you possibly go out with her and instead of enjoying whatever you're doing, all she does is look around and only wish she was with another younger man, this would definitely spoil the day/evening, simply because both of you need to agree for an 'open relationship' and it's not what I would take part in.

If this is what she wants, then has no care for the three kids, has no respect for any of you and I'd be changing the locks and telling her to find another place, along with this I'm really sorry that your contract is not being renewed, so please apply for Centrelink funds, this may only be temporary until this lockdown has finished and the confidence is back within the community, you still deserve to have some sort of income, but being in a relationship like this has no benefits to how you are feeling.

Please look after, not only yourself but also the three kids, your partner should not have any part in your future.

I'm sorry.


Community Member

Hey Juliet and Geoff,

Thanks for the replies.

Fortunately I've got a month or so where I still have an income so I've got some 'ballast' on that front, and mostly I'm reasonably capable so with a bit of luck I'll be OK, and my industry is actually benefiting from a lack of immigration.

It's weird, my automatic reflex is almost to defend her, I've been quasi looking after her for so long in one way or another I feel very protective.

In 20 years my brain is basically wired to jump to her defence and make excuses for her, to the point where my extended family don't bother with me anymore.

I thought I could handle the fact that she was off with other guys and be in an 'open relationship'. But from y side it turns out that my age, looks and general body image that I lost investing my time in my family severely limits my capability to find anyone who is even remotely interested in me... meanwhile anyone from 20 to 50 years old is lining to have a turn... The amount of inappropriate pics she gets from other guys is disproportionatly absurd.

I'm sad and broken that this could happen to me. I got a therapist but it's sort of 'logical answers to an insane situation and none of it leaves me feeling better...

I'm beginning to really hate 6:45am cause that's about the time I wake up and all the BS hits me all over again.

The worst part (maybe I don't know) is there is no true remorse... just anger if I ask if she feels bad.

I just don't understand how someone could 'use' a person and have a family only to throw them to the gutter as soon as they feel able.

I feel like crying and screaming my lungs out but it won't help so I just sit around the house sad and melancholy.

WOAH,got dark there for a second...

I'm finding it difficult to stay positive, just picturing her with other guys drives me insane, and it only happens when I'm starting to feel better...than all of a sudden I feel like I'm drowning again

I'm scared that the cycle wont stop, Covid is not making it easy to move either and get out of this living hell.

It just freaking sucks... sucks sucks sucks. I know there are people worse off than I am, and I live in one the best places to ride out a pandemic it's just my dreams have been snatched from me by the one person that I should have been able to trust the most and I'm just empty.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi JimmyT,

I’m so relieved to hear that your situation is relatively secure, particularly given the Covid situation at the moment.
I know what you mean about defending your partner. I was in a domestic violence relationship for many years, but I loved him. And so I found it hard when my family or people I confided in were horrified or told me to leave, in my mind they didn’t know him and “it wasn’t as bad as it seemed” even though I had been completely honest and truthful with them. So the reality was that it was as bad as it seemed, but they could just see the situation without being clouded by emotions, like I was. I too found people distancing themselves when I went back for the millionth time. But I understand why, it can be very difficult to watch people make the same mistake over and over again. You love her, that much is clear but who is loving you? You deserve to be with someone who can match your loyalty in return, because how you both love seems to be very different.

If an open relationship is discussed about prior to the event and both people want in, then that’s a completely different situation. But this is so clearly not a situation that you feel comfortable with, and I don’t think many people would. Also, it sounds as though it’s happening whether you want it or not. Perhaps she thinks you won’t leave, perhaps she doesn’t care. I’m not going to tell you what to do, you already know the situation and it’s your life. But it doesn’t sound like this relationship has put you in a good place. When I left my partner, I was scared (I had been told that I’d never survive without him) but it mostly felt like 20 tonnes had been lifted off my shoulders. I managed to find a nice apartment etc, and I found that good things just seemed to happen for me a lot more. Some people make life very easy to live without them, but it can be difficult to get up the courage to leave as you have been beaten down so much in the lead up to it. Sending you virtual hugs.

Hey Juliet,

OMG Juliet, I am so sorry to hear that you were in an abusive relationship. This is not a flippant comment, but when I'm watching a Marvel movie I often think: "instead of fighting the latest ego maniac, why can't the good guy use all there technology and strength to save the vulnerable people in the world and make them safe"

I am so glad you are safe now!! I feel sad that you were stuck in that place for too long.

Your reference to "20 tonnes being lifted off your shoulders"... I honestly can't wait to feel this, I hope I do anyway.

Why do good people end up with, and stay, with others that are clearly incompatible for so long? I guess I'm very afraid of the unknown and being alone.

You did well to get yourself free of his abuse, though I am careful not to tear him down in front of you.

OMG, to actually explain my situation and have people who have lived through stuff themselves reach out makes so much difference. This is probably better than therapy for me.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi JimmyT46,

You have made my day with your response, you actually brought tears to my eyes with your caring response. You are such a kind, caring and emotionally intelligent man, that much is clear. Many women (myself included) would be so lucky to have a partner with a character such as yours. But for some reason, deep down we don’t believe it. I think you have hit the nail on the head, we stay because we are afraid of the unknown and being on our own. And in my case, my mother was quite controlling and emotionally abusive growing up and so I internalized that the people that love you also abuse you sometimes, so it felt familiar when it happened again. But what I’ve since learnt being on my own, is that nothing is worse than feeling alone in a relationship. I suppose there’s two options for all of us, stay in something that is bad for us and never find that right person. Or keep trying to find our happiness and open yourself up to the possibility of finding your person. At first I was terrified of being on my own but interestingly it was the “fear” of being on my own that freaked me out at first. Once I got over that I actually quite loved it, I could do whatever I wanted, and for the first few months that mostly entailed sitting on my couch and reading magazines and watching Netflix, then I started to go for breakfast by myself, and walks of an evening. My life was finally peaceful. I’m not sure whether you rent but some places even let you have pets, so you never feel alone and allow you to get out of the house and meet people. And we are always here 🙂 Whatever you decide to do is your decision but I just want you to know that there is an alternative, and it’s not as scary as you think it’s going to be (from someone who’s lived it).

“Why do good people end up and stay with people who they are incompatIble ……”

It took me many years to understand this feature of human relationships. Then it happened to me, and I understood.

Here is a saying that I find helped me understand “It’s easy to deceive an honest person”.

Good luck Jimmy.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Jimmy, there could be a part of you that tries to automatically defend her because you're basically wired to jump to her defence and make excuses for her, that's because you loved her, but now, unfortunately, it's taken another direction, the person you once loved has taken to younger men, may be because she wants to have a feeling of being sexually wanted, and by saying that, I don't mean that you aren't still attracted to her and don't want to upset you, but her satisfaction in life may have changed.

One reason why people stay with another person who they are not compatible with, is because none of the hard questions have been asked nor answered, it's still a platonic relationship, and once this simmers away and revelations of how and what they like in life start to unfold, that's when they may go looking for someone new, they always want to be told by someone else how good they are, whatever that may be.

This, 20 tonnes won't be lifted until you can realise what's happening and then make a decision, as the ball's in your court.

Wishing you well.


Hi there mate.

Your situation sounds really quite harrowing to experience but you're not alone in these types of circumstances. Some of the responses are pretty much spot on, especially when it comes to the disregard of your health and wellness. I'd like to point out that it's not healthy in anyway when someone hurts their partner to this level of degree as it may inflict overwhelming pain, suffering and confusion. The selfish partner (sometimes without realising) falls into a trap that the grass is greener on the other side, which is simply just a fantasy I might add. If we look at the situation in facts, this is a form of emotional/phycological abuse which can really impact on their ability to make healthy life choices. The fact of the matter is that you are now here in this awful position trying to figure out what she is doing and why she is experiencing these concerns. You are left in a state of confusion. The Why!

For you, this is the time to reflect on areas that you can become a better person for you and your kids, speak with support networks to help with your experiences, learn new things, try new hobbies and do the things that you always wanted to do but was held back from. As much as this is a painful time for you and the family, work on yourself and prepare yourself for someone who will love and support you for who you are.

If your partner comes back to you after realising that she may have been experiencing mania, it's your choice what you want to do and how you want to go about it. Working on making yourself that happiest possible is more important than anything.

Please be kind to yourself, you are more courageous, determined and amazing than you can imagine.