I have a very good friend, who just found out that her spouse of 20 years, is dating someone half his age. Well, 15 years younger anyway. She is of course, devastated.
She has had to go through what all of us have had to go through, hearing the "I love you but I'm not in love with you", "We are more like roommates than husband and wife", "we don't have anything in common anymore"...etc, we all have heard it.
It is so damn tough to tell someone in the death throes of their marriage that it is time to start thinking of yourself and let that person go; it is not the person you married, and that there is a whole new life.
I am almost three years out of the end of my marriage. I can see the pitfalls, the heartbreak, the bottom...but now I am at the top, my heart isn't broken anymore, and I know that life now is better than it was then. It is just hard to convince someone in that darkest place that things get better.
Anyway, my question/point is...where are you at now, how long has it been, and what kind of advice could you offer someone who is in the fresh reality of the end of their marriage?
Found out she was pregnant by a married man New Year's Day '95
Started dating February '95.
Moved in together April '95.
Married June '95.
Separated January '02
Divorce final September '02
Lived in limbo for five years after that.
She moved in with our oldest's biological father in November '07 (the same motherfrakker who left her high and dry and pregnant in '95)
Didn't fess up until January '08
I started dating someone new (finally) in February '08
Still trying to figure out what in the hell I want today...
No advice, except this -- There is no normal. Healing takes it's own time and you have to be open to it. Until then, good advice is just a pain in the ass...
Brick walls are there for a reason. They are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop people who don't want it badly enough.
Got the "I don't love you; I want a divorce." on 8/12/07, upon my return from a 2 week business trip (4 days after getting an "I love you, miss you, and can't wait for you to come home" email), the day before my birthday.
He continued to live at home and sleep in the same bed as me, while behaving like a complete monster to me during the day for a month following this, finally moving out in mid-September, after I walked in on him having phone sex with his internet whore while he thought I was at work, and I suggested that he find another place to live, since I didn't think it was fair that I was still supporting his ass while he blatantly carried on an affair in my home. He was served at the end of September. No contact following the phone call I made to inform him when and where he'd be served.
Where am I now? Working on healing. Working on finding myself as an individual. Just beginning to enjoy living on my own. Climbing out of depression. Starting to see that I now have the opportunity for a do-over of my life. Trying to figure out what I want my life to be, and how to achieve that. Still have bad days, but they are less frequent, and when they do occur, I view them as part of the process rather than a setback. Just recently realizing that I possess a confidence and strength that I don't think I ever let fully bloom before. Sort of liking that realization.
Advice? Gosh, every situation is so different. The best advice I got when I was fresh into this process was "I can't tell you what to do, but I can tell you what NOT to do -- do not do anything that you may possibly regret later." For me this meant making any and all efforts I could to save the marriage (acknowledging problems, realizing my mistakes and apologizing for them, writing him a beautiful love letter, convincing him to at least try counseling, and praying for guidance), and keeping my cool in heated situations -- which meant keeping my voice calm and thinking before I spoke, even when he was screaming and yelling in my face, saving my irrational or emotional outbursts for when I was alone. I am proud of the fact that I managed to get through this ordeal with a great deal of integrity, dignity, and grace.
I also learned that if you reach out to people, they will be there to catch you when you can't hold yourself up by yourself anymore. This was hard for me to do, but necessary.
So I guess my only suggestions would be for her to surround herself with supportive people, and remember that at the end of the day, she's only responsible for her own actions. And to take each day, each hour, sometimes even each minute, one at a time.
August 04 I asked my husband, are you cheating on me with Sophia? He says "no". I don't believe him, but believe him bc well I didn't want to believe the other thing. ONE WEEK LATER: he comes into our bedroom at 7am (he should be at work at this time) and says you were right I am having an affair with sophia and I am in love with her. He then falls in the floor and starts crying.
I tried to givehim another chance we have a 1 and 2 year old at this point. He won't stop cheating with her. Tells me it is still happening two weeks later. I call my parents they buy an enclosed trailer on their 8 hour trip to come get the boys, me and all of my stuff.
Divorce was final May 1, 2006.
I still have anger with him abandoning the children, but I know that he and I grew in such different ways that "us" was not a good thing.
Advice: Write it all out so you can look back at the pain and see how far you have come. (also so if you consider going back you can read it and know you shouldnt')
I found out on my birthday, July '01 (or '02?), that my ex wanted to sleep with my best friend. I tried to be ok with it, because at that point I was trying to fit our lives together. I actually asked her if she would be willing. (Sick, I know.) I WASN'T ok with it, and they both didn't want to hurt me by going ahead with it. (She was a 30+ virgin, so the idea kinda appealed to her, too.) He "tried" to get over those feelings, but after repeatedly being caught doing things like posting a "sex only" profile, looking into polyamory, half-hearted attempts to patch us together, etc, he wanted to end it July 04. He had wrecked my last birthdays, so she had him hold off until August. August 04 he admits he will eventually have to go for an extramarital thing and knows that means I want a divorce. I agree I do. We refinance the rental property we owned, get my laser-eye surgery, I get a new job, we buy him a house two blocks away that he moves into November 1, 2004.
I found ojar January 05. I started talking to a guy in Australia (he was up when I was - I was up in the middle of my night). I realized I could be interested in other people, that other people could be interested in me. It was "safe", right, cause he was so far away? Not really - I ended up visiting him August 05. It turned out not good in person - although we are still friends (and he recently re-married- yay Jase!) It did allow me to realize that I was ready to really start dating.
A couple flings and a two month bf later, my friend that I called my "brother" came to visit me February '06. For me, it was just a friend thing, but by the end of 5 days together, I was madly in love. He moved from Texas, originally intending to move near, but not in with, my family April 8, 2006. After spending 5-6 months paying for a separate place he never stayed in, we realized we might as well just call it what it was and have him be living with us. Yes, I know it was quick.
Harry and I have been together over 2 years now. It is nowhere near perfect, as many of you know. But I am happy. The girls love him, too. I am still friends with the ex who moved with his wife (that ex-best-friend he had wanted for years) and their baby to a town three hours away. Life moves on, and the hard times you just learn not to dwell on. Hard to imagine how far it has been since finding out about those desires of his and me being so willing to give up myself. Even if Harry wanted to leave now, I know I would be ok. I like being in a partnership, but there are beautiful things about being single, too. I am more peaceful now.
So... advice. First of all - keep busy, keep connected. Don't let people tell you you should wait to get involved with people. Yes, you may not be ready, you may make mistakes, you may get hurt or hurt others, but that is life. Time won't make that not happen. Connections with others is where the growth is. It is good to remember you are still alive. But DON'T think your life is only important based on your being in a partnership - it isn't. Some of the best connections are the ones with friends. Keep busy, even when you don't feel like it. Write things out - but don't usually send them. Sleep - even if it means getting a temporary sleep aid. Don't drink, or drink to excess - it is a depressant, and makes you do things you later regret. Eat as healthy as you can - don't starve or overeat - those things take a recovery time too. Exercise, not only is it good for you, it releases endorphins that make you feel better. Think a lot - but don't beat yourself up in your head - or anyone else either, for that matter. Forgiveness is what heals the most - but don't push yourself for it immediately. Just try not to poison yourself with negativity - toward yourself or others.
Post by redskyatnight on Apr 17, 2008 11:37:34 GMT -5
February 98 - married after living together for 7 years
May 98 - first daughter born
April 2000 - second daugher born
October 03 - walk in on him with his Vietnamese "sister" and maid of honor, in a hot tub (sounds so cliche) while on vacation, he admitted to it going on for three years, but I suspect many more.
April 05 - move out after months of arguing in front of the kids and the liklihood of physical violence with the kids as collateral damage
05 to 08 - date three different guys, not at the same time I also couldn't see past today. I had no long term goals, no plans, no ambition.
April 08 - getting comfortable in my own skin, still not sure what I want but I'm realizing that's OK. I'm starting to think about long term plans, but not setting specific goals. Still mourn the loss of raising my kids in an intact family.
All you can do is be there for her when she needs to cry, to talk, to vent.......Journaling is good. Dont judge her actions right now, take her out to eat just to get her out of the house and away from being alone.
This is a good post - I'm glad to know the history behind some familiar ojar faces. It was so "busy" there - hard to know where everyone was coming from.
So many of us have come so far.
What I found helpful was to talk - and seek out advice - particularly the advice I truly did not want to hear. "tough love". I'd be angry as hell at first (like when the ex brought our then 2 year old to his new girlfriend's (now wife) place) .. and the advice was "no court will stop that. how is that hurting her??" , but then I would calm down. I was MAD but at the same time, it was a truth.
The truth hurts.
Had a "common law" relationship, we had the house, the baby... but no ring. Wonder why?
The ex meets a new woman December 03 (found out later) -decides we need to separate, moves out January 2004. By May our house is sold and by October he is married to the new girl.
It was hell - but really, my pride hurt more than anything.
I've REALLY learned we deserve to be with someone who loves us, and no less. No settling. When I was finally happy alone - the old cliche happened for me. I met someone. (from ojar as some of you may know)
We were married in June and he moved from Texas to Ontario. We're expecting our daughter in July.
From someone who truly thought I'd never get over it... I did. I'm truly happy and better off without him. I hope your friend feels that way too one day.
Met ex 5 years ago at work. Had passionate fling that turned into relationship. Moved in together after 18 months. Lived in London (home city for both of us) for 2 years. Bought a family house in France together. Got engaged. Moved to the Middle East. Planned wedding, honeymoon rest of entie life together, planned on starting a family in the summer. 2 months before the wedding got told he didn't want to marry me anymore. Moved out. Lived out of a suitcase staying with a friend for a month. Moved into my own apartment. Tried to move on with my life. Stayed in touch with the ex. Found out he'd slept with prostitutes. Found out he'd "fallen in love" with a 24 year old legal trainee suring the time he'd been alone (3 weeks) when I was on my way out to join him for our supposed new ife in Abu Dhabi. Cut off contact for 6 months. Met up with him again in Jan. He said he wanted to get back together. Spent Jan until now "seeing how things go". Things not going so well. He still has major issues - incapable of intimacy - emotional and physical. I've just been asked out by someone else - someone with potential. Am in a bit of a mess. But anyway...
2. NO CONTACT NO CONTACT NO CONTACT NO CONTACT NO CONTACT NO CONTACT NO CONTACT NO CONTACT NO CONTACT NO CONTACT
Until this first bit wears off. Seriously. I'm not saying forever - hell, I speak to my ex every day, but it REALLY helps you heal when it is really raw like this. It will kill you for the first three days - seriously you will feel the pain as physically hurting you. Ride it out. Call anyone but don't call him.
3. Take care of yourself. Eat well, drink lots of water, excercise, read a ton of books - especially ones you read as a child, it is so comforting, and get out into the sunshine.
4. DO NOT drink alcohol or stay up late - get as much sleep as you can.
5. Write down lists - lists of what was wrong with him, the things you didn't like, the parts of the relationship that you were unhappy with. Write down a list of things you have done or achievements you have attained, and then a list of things you still want to do.
6. Call everyone you know, even people you haven't spoken to in years, one after the other - all the friends and family you haven't spoken to in ages, including auints, uncles, cousins etc. Arrange to meet up with them and with family you haven't seen in a while - schedule at least 5 social events a week in advance so you can look forward to them.
7. Revisit old places you went to before you met him. Avoid all things which may remind you of him. Live WHOLLY in the present. DO NOT look back. Practice pulling your mind up. Centre yorself close your eyes and say "I am here, now. I am breathing and it is MY life, MY head, My heart, My body, no one can take those things away from me".
8. Buy a Nina Simone CD. Listen to the tracks "I Got Life" and "I'm feeling good" on repeat at full volume.
Rinse and repeat until you feel human enough to do something more challenging. IT DOES WORK, I promise.
Be kind to yourself, we have all been there. Its YOUR life and NO ONE can take it away from you. Fight for your happiness - its in your hands now.
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars..."
The best advice I can give for your friend is to keep her eyes foward. Don't get bogged down in the memory of what he was, try to achieve a true perception of what he is now. When attempting to move forward, the past is your enemy to some degree.
Post by kittenhart on Apr 20, 2008 16:37:55 GMT -5
I don't really know where I am at right now?.....angry at having to start over at 35.....(what are the coordinates of anger?)
Sometimes I am optimistic about the future and other times I realize that I will probably end up alone without the family that I wanted....but then I think that this is better than spending your entire life with someone who basically ignores you except when you serve their purpose, better than spending your entire life making someone else's goals and dreams happen for them....and never getting to your own....and there is alot to like about living alone, actually.
I think lumpy is right in saying that memories are your enemies. They will sucker punch you when you least expect it. When you are finally feeling good about something, you will see a flicker of something that reminds you of the ex, and it will kick the breath out of your lungs, and send you reeling.
Not sure what to recommend though. I try never to remember anything and I spend alot of time daydreaming very elaborate fantasies about my future. I know none of these fantasies will happen, it's more just about keeping my mind busy and in a positive place....rather than dwelling on the past and a bunch of negative shit that I can't do anything to change.
So I guess that's my first bit of advice: Be as delusional about your future as you can be, make your daydreams as happy and as positive as you can, and that will at least keep you from getting down.
My other advice is similar to Jules', and is good advice I got early on that I'm glad I heeded: Don't do anything that you will regret later, don't behave in uncharacteristic ways trying to be vendictive or trying to make him jealous because the only person you will end up hurting is yourself. Divorce is bad enough with you also having to feel badly about how you behaved.
~ For us there is only the trying. The rest is not our business. ~