DEAR DEIDRE: Exactly one year ago, on Christmas Day, my husband left me and our three young children.

I’ve been absolutely dreading this Christmas because it’s the anniversary of the worst day of my life.

On Christmas day, he walked out, leaving me sobbing and devastated

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On Christmas day, he walked out, leaving me sobbing and devastated

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We’d been together for 20 years – since we were teenagers – and married for 15. I’m now 35 and he’s 36. 

I thought we’d spend our whole lives together. He was my best friend, my rock.

I never dreamt he could be unfaithful to me. But a couple of years ago, things started to change. 

He became distant, moody, quick to anger – no longer the kind, caring man he had always been. We stopped having sex.

Then one day, he came home from work and said the spark had gone, and he was leaving.

I soon found out he had a new girlfriend, and that he was staying with her. 

That July, he said he’d made a huge mistake and wanted to try again with me.

I let him move back in, and for a while things were wonderful again. He was a loving husband and dad and our sex life was as good as it had ever been.

But by the autumn I could tell he wasn’t happy again, and just going through the motions.

On Christmas Day, we had lunch as normal, and gave the kids their presents. But then my husband went up to our room and started packing his stuff.

In the evening, when the children were in bed, he told me he was leaving that night. He “couldn’t’ live a lie anymore.”

Then he walked out, leaving me sobbing and devastated.

He filed for divorce earlier this year. He got a flat and has the kids on weekends. 

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I only put up the tree and decorations this year for the children’s sake. I have tried to make things normal for them.

But inside I am falling apart and can’t stop crying. 

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DEIDRE SAYS:  Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and love, so if life isn’t where you want it to be it brings pain, sorrow and loneliness. 

You are staying strong for your children. It’s admirable you’re making things seem normal for them. 

Try to make new, happy memories with them today for the future. 

But you need support. Please do talk to someone – a friend or relative.

In the long term some relationship counselling would help you work through your feelings.

If you’d rather speak to someone impartial, you can call Supportline for confidential emotional support  (www.supportline.org.uk or on 01708 765 200).

In the long term some relationship counselling would help you work through your feelings. Contact Tavistock Relationships (www.tavistockrelationships.org, 020 7380 1960) who have online help available.

My support pack about Counselling will tell you more.

NEXT IN TODAY’S DEAR DEIDRE How do I tell my father-in-law he smells?

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