‘Affairs and forgeries’

I need help moving on. I am in my early 50s with three kids in middle and high school. I found out more than a year ago that my soon-to-be ex-husband stole money from me. He had forged my name on some paperwork and spent the money without my knowing (we always had separate bank accounts). This was the second time he had done this, so I asked for a few months apart. We did not have the best marriage due to trust issues (he had an affair several years ago, as well).

When our separation started, he was at the house every day to see me and the kids. He spent the holidays with my family. We would have date nights, go on walks, etc. After a few months, I found out that he was dating a woman in our town, and that he had started dating her just a few weeks after moving out of the house – while still telling me he wanted to work on the marriage.

We live in a very small town; she and I ran in the same crowd and knew each other pretty well. I was devastated and now he and I are divorcing. I have almost full custody of my kids. He has visitation.

My question is: How do I move on from the betrayal? I know most of you would say good riddance with affairs and forgeries, but it's still really hard. I am hurt and sickened that I have to see them together, and that eventually my kids will be hanging out with her. My kids all know they are together but he has not told them about her himself. As I said, it's a small town so everyone knows everyone's business. I am just looking for advice on how to handle myself and be there for my kids at this time. I am trying to take the high road but not being very successful at it.

– high road

The first step is to get some good therapy. You need someone to talk to as you manage the divorce process, from helping the kids adjust to their new routines, to dealing with this woman in public. Think of therapy as necessary self-care, a place where you can process and prepare.

It's also time to start focusing on filling out your new, independent life. Maybe that means changing rooms in the house, or repainting some walls with the kids. Maybe it means figuring out if there are any real, loyal friends in that crowd of yours. It's also a good time to make some new friends. Can you try a class or book club? Connect with someone you haven't seen in years? You shouldn't have to face this woman every time you want to be social.

I know that ending a marriage is lonely, no matter who and what you're leaving behind, but please remember, in your lowest moments, that your ex is still your ex, no matter where he goes. This so-called friend has attached herself to someone who stole your money. She doesn't have anything you need.

– Meredith

Readers? How long does it take to deal with this kind of betrayal? How can she take her mind off this woman?