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What advice would you give a friend going through a divorce? Hot Conversation

My advice: Don’t minimize your grief.

After my husband left I understood for the first time how someone could actually die of a broken heart. If you, like me, were unceremoniously dumped don’t be surprised if you go through pain more severe than you’ve ever felt before. I heard this over and over from women who were left, especially if it was for another woman. Men had left me before I got married, but the feeling this time was different. Those men were only passing through – on some level I knew that. Those breakups lent drama to my otherwise boring single life. The death of my marriage was real drama – the kind I’d never experienced before – the kind that breaks you down, tears you up and can land you in a mental hospital or with slit wrists.<br><br>

Just in case you think that this level of extreme grief is excessive or abnormal, I’m here to reassure you that it isn’t. The pain you’re experiencing is very real. Anthropologist Helen Fisher says the drive to love is stronger than the sex drive. No one kills himself or herself over being sexually rejected. People kill themselves or someone else over getting dumped. In one study of people who were dumped, forty percent went into clinical depression. Recovery is an agonizingly slow process of two steps forward and one step back. The best estimate is that it takes one year to recover for every five years of marriage.<br><br>

Although it may not feel that way for a long time, the reality is that no matter how devastated you are, and no matter how long it takes- and recovery time varies widely depending on individual temperament – you can get through this and move on as long as you honor your own grieving process. Don’t try to short-circuit it before you’re ready.  Go to therapy, cry a lot, let yourself feel the pain. You don’t want to be one of those divorcees who are still carrying on about how her ex ruined her life ten years after the divorce.

He's History

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71 Responses

  1. Seawriter Seawriter says

    The advice I wish I had listened to is what I’d like to pass along: give yourself a year before making any major changes.

    My children pestered me to move from our beautiful home to the part of Seattle where they grew up as very young children and where their private schools were. I felt so guilty about the divorce in the first place that I capitulated and sold the house and bought one in the city. IT was a huge disruption in so many ways. And then, before I knew it, the girls were off to college and boarding school and there I was in the house they had wanted me to buy with stuff in boxes in every closet and garage. I felt so displaced, and had to deal with the stress of moving on my own, especially once the girls left for school. It took all my energy away from healing, which is what I really needed it for.

    I am convinced that if I had showed down, held firm on staying in the house until I felt sure moving was the right thing, my path might have been a lot less stressful, and would be less stressful even today.

    2 like

    • Sunblossom Sunblossom says

      SeaWriter, you make such a good point….I know this kind of premature decision making happens a lot…

      0 like

    • Generic Image grace says

      no you must behave like an adult person, children ask a lot of things but they are not divorcing we are.

      1 like

    • enjoying new life enjoying new life says

      i agree.  I wanted the divorc.. waited 10 years because of kids.  But I am shocked at how much time it takes to get the final papers.  i joke that i have a new full time job “getting a divorce” LOL…. seriously.. he is playing mind and financial games and it takes all my time!!!.  i was thinking about moving during the summer when my kids were out of school and that would be 9 months from filing… but i can see that will be too soon.. too bad.. that probably means i cant move back to where my family is for 4 years.. wanted to because my youngest twins) would be starting high school this fall and we all agreed good time to move.  but… it would be difficult on them to move to a new high school once they have started .. oh well. 

      i have thought many times how incredibly difficult this would be for a woman that did not want the divorce.  it is all consuming and i wanted it.  i think divorce is so much more difficult on women then men.  for the most part men have the upper hand financially.  and that adds such an additional burden to women…

      good luck to all of you fellow “in the middle of a divorcees”

      i love this blog… blessed to have it… thanks to all of you… you will know when i get my papers.. because then you will get a picture of me!! LOL cant do until then. have to be anonymous about everything at this point

      4 like

      • Generic Image shari says

        I have to agree. My husband and i are divorcing after 29 years of marriage, due to his infidelity. Despite trying, counceling and working on it, he still goes back to the OW.  I have waived the white flag and now they live together, she is divorced and he has finally gotten a lawyer to start the process.  So while i am buried in questions and forms and letters and papers, they are planning a trip to Florida for a week. Hmmm. It seems that I am being punished for my decision not to put up with his bad behavior.  He is in a condo, with minimal stuff (ours) and i am home in the house with lots of stuff-junk, old stuff, lots of stuff to wade thru and trash…and he is off on a new life and adventure.  How does that work?  IDK

        3 like

      • enjoying new life enjoying new life says

        I too had to do all the cleaning out.  Am still working on it.  He left me a pile of mess of papers that I spent 4 straight days on during thanksgiving while he was on a trip with the kids.  Oh well, I am on my process of getting OUT and in the long run as I am not the one who acted inappropriately, I know I will triumph

        2 like

      • Generic Image singlesoon says

        Ah, yes, I want it so much more than he does!  Have been done for so long, and just stayed because of small children. Should still stay for the children, but as I am getting older, and realize that soon I will have had an entire life without any real happiness other than being a mom, wow, that is not how I want to live. So, now, for the first time in a long time I want to just be happy and that means a divorce and kids needing to adjust.  I have read everywhere that happiness is not important, you make your own happiness, and no one has a right to divorce when there are children…children do best in a married couple family regardless of couple’s happiness.  So, I stayed and stayed and stayed until my sadness and lack of happy started to make me a lousy mother too.  No laughter, no smiles, nothing.  How is that better?  No.  This is good for me and in the end, will be fine for them.

        3 like

    • jezzarae jezzarae says

      I most definitely agree on waiting at least a year.  I would suggest two years for any new romantic relationships. After my 21 year marriage ended I went through a complete emotional breakdown. This led to me marrying the first man who showed me any real love and affirmation. I then moved half way across the world to live with him. We have been together ten years now because I refuse to end a second marriage. In my heart though I know it was a huge mistake.I am lucky though he is a good man and a true friend.  I could have ended up with so much worse.

      I would add that you do not need anyone else in your life to prove you are a valuable person. Use this time to re discover who you are. You will find you are not the same person you were when you first got married. Find the wonderful changes in yourself and embrace them. Discover new things  explore all the dreams you have had. 

       

      1 like

  2. Sunblossom Sunblossom says

    Actually I have facilitated a Divorce recovery group called DivorceCare for about 7 years — an excellent nationwide program through local churches….locations can be found on their website by putting in a zip code….I highly recommend this group, it save my sanity and the combination of teaching, life skills and group dynamic make it very effective…..recovery and stabilization is possible….I would say to her find a class, then know that time is on your side…you do not have to rush into a premature relationship to feel validated again….and realize how much energy is consumed by the emotional turmoil of divorce, with very little left for work, play, financial concerns, kids, cooking and day to day activities, so understand when you are tired that is why.  

    1 like

    • Susan Who Susan Who says

      There’s a lot of good advice in this topic, but I am STRONGLY in favor of your advice about the DivorceCare program.  I got involved twice in the past 18 years (yes, I am one of the growing number of people who have married and divoroced more than once) and both times it kept me (almost) sane and brought me a huge amount of comfort.  I found it most helpful to hear the personal stories of women – and suprisingly, also men! – and how they were handling this life-changing event.   But also the facilitator kept the group on track in a most appropriate way, being both professional and compassionate.  The second time through I made some life-long friends, both men and women, who made all the difference in my life.   This recovery group considers everything:  finances, children, dating, remarriage, etc.   Excellent advice is offered, and if you are willing to listen to it and apply it correctly, it will help.   In both of my divorces – incredibly different circumstances in each -  I was devastated, but found hope in the program.   Thank you, Sunblossom, for submitting this post about DivorceCare.

      1 like

    • Generic Image AnneB says

      Can I ask how involved in quoting bible scripture are these groups?

      0 like

      • Sunblossom Sunblossom says

        It is biblically based, but non-demoninational although it is usually presented in a church setting.  It uses the bible as a base to work from, but their fantastic advice is for anyone…….I have over the past several years had people from many denominations, walks of life etc. it is just a an excellent source for advice…raises the questions, but also equips with tools to deal with a lot of issues that come up in divorce situations.

        0 like

      • Susan Who Susan Who says

        Sunblossum,  One of the things I remember getting from DivorceCare is the understanding that “The grief will ambush you”.  Normal, minimal, day-to-day activities would suddenly remind me of something I liked about my (ex)husband and that memory would plunge me into grief.  I had to learn to crawl out of those times, and DivorceCare gave me those tools. 

        2 like

      • Sunblossom Sunblossom says

        For sure…I have a great reprint article from a very old Readers Digest article that says divorce obviously transforms the future, but is also strangely transforms the past.  Suddenly old polaroids of vacations take on the weight of historical significance…ordinary household objects become animate creatures fluent in thel anguage of loss and alive with symbolic value…here are candles half burned and coated in light dust that you loved to light on rainy nights, the drawer with coupons  you would never use together….and all this we must survive, in addition to letting go once and for all of the life you thought you had and the future that life implied.

        Restaurants always did it for me, plunged me into that grief….thank goodness we learned to light those candles again, and that we can crawl out of those times, sometimes with the tiniest of steps but movement forward nonetheless.

        Have you ever thought about facilitating your own DivorceCare?

        1 like

      • Susan Who Susan Who says

        Sunblossom, Readers Digest is one of my all-time favorite magazines.!  It remains one that we continue to subscribe to when all others have gone by the wayside or are read online; because it offers so many interesting, ageless, educational,  sometimes humorous, sometimes faith-filled articles it is worth keeping.  It has also been handed down three generations in our family and was one of the few things my young son had in common with my father. I keep a copy in the bathroom where anyone who has a few minutes can find a small ‘something-something’  to read. We have jokingly refered to this place as ‘the library’.  I, too, have kept some timeless articles for many years. The article you mention here sounds like one that is timeless and true.  Thank you for sharing some of it with us. 

        A sad place for me after the separation was the grocery store – we sometimes had to shop late at night because of our work schedules and yet we could make it a fun adventure. We planned the family meals as we walked and we even would play football with the toilet paper or have races to see who could get the items on our list the fastest.  It’s just not possible to stay out of the grocery store forever, so when we were no longer together, I would either run through the place like I was being pursued, or I’d be found in front of an item as if I was a motionless bubble about to burst - dealing with a memory that would have me transfixed to another time…

        And as far as facilitating a DivorceCare group?  I have thought about it… just not sure how I would go about getting involved. I’ve moved and remarried.

        0 like

  3. anir anir says

    I agree that seperation is like a death.  You go through a grieveing process when someone leaves you.  Although I have never asked him and probably never will, I am sure that is what my ex-husband went through when I left him. 

    On my part, I also went though a grieving process of my own, even if I was the one who left.  Some people might tend to see the one who is left as the person suffering the most.  In my case I would say it lasted a lot longer for me. 

    I went through grieving when I found that my love for him had died.  There was no more love in me for him and he still loved me.  I can assure you that it was very painful.  I stayed wiht him for a few years and I cried, cried and cried some more.  Went to marriage counselling, personnal therapy and everything else.  I finally decided that I was heading for a breakdown if I didn’t leave. 

    Then I went through another grieving when I saw him going on with his life with another womana year later.  Finally realizing, although I should have known whene I walked out on him, that the life I was supposed to have, growing old with the same person, having our kids, grandchildren visit us in the house they had grown up in and everything else related to a life, was really dead.  He was going to share that with another woman.  At first I thought it was because I still loved him, maybe I was jealous?  Not so.  I realised it was the ‘life’ I wanted back, but it had died.  He would never have given me what I needed. 

    So, even though you are the one leaving, remember that you might also have some grieving to do as I did.  Which is to say that you can feel for the one who is left behind, but rememember that the one who is leaving might also be suffering a loss.  I know I did.  And once in a while, like at Christmas time, the grief creeps up on me.  But I know it is just as the way it should be. 

    anir

    1 like

    • Generic Image rebecca hall-brenner says

      Did  you go on with your life and marry someone else ?? I am now going through the same situation that you experienced with your husband  I have the same feelings and I am so confused  Its been 2 years since i’ve left him and I still can’t file for divorce because i keep feeling sorry for him

      0 like

      • anir anir says

        I am going on with my life.  And it’s a great life.  Not perfect, but I love it.   No, I have not married someone else.  As the song on the radio by Micheal Bouble just said (coincidence!!!) ’I just haven’t met you yet’.  Did not leave him for anyone else but me, myself and I.  Sounds selfish now that I’m writing it down.  I am actually not looking.  He found his girlfriend through an online dating site.  That’s O.K.  Everyone who needs someone should be able to find that person.  I guess I don’t need a partner in my life right now.  Enjoying the freedom.  But as my friends and family have told me, you never know…

        My lawyer was supposed to file the divorce papers last week.  Haven’t heard back from her yet.  He doesn’t know I’m filing it.  SURPRISE!  We were trying to have an agreement before one of us went that way, but I don’t want to put my life on hold forever.  I waited for close to 30 years for him to give me what I needed.  He still wants me to wait for him to decide what ‘he’ wants in our marriage seperation agreement.   Like I said before, ‘SUPRISE’.

        FORGET IT!  I make my own decisions now! He won’t have much of any control over what the judge decides I should get out of my share of our assets.  He seems to think he can decide for both of us.  NOT!

        Anyways enough about me.  I’m going to repeat myself, I guess I’m doing a lot of that on this site, 

        ‘IT’S YOUR LIFE’  Take a hold of it with both hands, and go for it.  Don’t let anyone elses opinions or actions interfere with your being happy.

        Hold on for the ride, it will get bumpy at times

        Take care!

        anir

        1 like

      • Generic Image pg58 says

        I’m in this now.  He was the one who found someone else but then wanted to come back and I said NO.  When I see him I feel such pain-like I did it!  I respond to the one who said it is the “life” I thought I would have that I grieve.  I really have taken care of him for so many years and still love him but in his own words he “probably” could never let her go.  That was all I needed to hear. He looks old, thin, and tired.  She is 21 years younger with 3 children.  I describe him as a Shakesperian tragedy. our children really are tired of him-this makes me sad for him-even though he is the one who caused this.  My therapist said to remember it would be difficult either way-if he stayed or went. I opted for him going!! 

        2 like

    • Sarah G. Carter Sarah G. Carter says

      Divorce is a death.

      I doesn’t matter who’s choice it was, how bad the marriage had become, or how long overdue the decision. Divorce is an ending. A terminus, the final death blow to a thing once fresh and hopeful. We held so tightly to memories of what began with love, and trust, and optimism, it was hard to see the dying. Memories of who we were when we wrapped ourselves in dreams of an endlessly unfolding future, all manner of things planned and un-planned, but faced together. We lived, and laughed, cried, and created Christmases, photo albums, homes, and children. We made promises we couldn’t keep, lost our focus, lost our trust, and now it’s done. Divorce. No longer We, but I.

       In my life I’ve twice made the choice to divorce. To render the final blow to something that had become, for me, lifeless and unworkable. Something gutted, hollow, held together by habit, hope, duty and memory. I’m not proud of that. Of the part of myself revealed thus as, at best, a “poor chooser”, at worst misguided, delusional, unconscious.

       As with any death, there is grief. A process of shock, denial, anger, depression, then finally, with any measure of grace, we are granted reprieve. We find our way to acceptance. Acceptance of our loss, of ourselves, of our partner’s strengths and weaknesses as well as our own. Of a world, imperfect, and, above all else, impermanent. And from there, we may begin again.

      1 like

      • anir anir says

        Yes, divorce is a death.  A death in which all people involved are survivors.  I had forgotten what the five stages of grieving were.   Also, they don’t always come in the same order, and of course, affect different people in different ways.  Some stages last longer then others, and we sometimes get stuck in one place for a long, long time. 

        Acceptance and moving on is hard.  But you can do it.  You have to have an open mind and heart and as the saying goes:

        Give yourself the strength to change the things you can

        Accept the things you can’t

        And the wisdom to distingish one from the other

        We can’t change other people, we can change ourselves…

        1 like

      • Generic Image classicanne says

        Yes, you are so right.  My husband and I will be separating in a matter of weeks now, and we are both sad and grieving.  His counselor is suggesting and encouraging us to stay together, but he came out to me last year as a transsexual and is currently undergoing hormone therapy and making strides toward becoming a woman.  He wants us to stay together, but I just can’t.  I accept and love him as a person, but I want to be married to a MAN, if I am married at all (I don’t plan to marry again).  I can’t see snuggling on the couch with a woman.  I can’t see being intimate with a woman.  I’m just not wired that way. 

        And it’s not just the transgender issue; our entire marriage he’s been very uncomfortable with physical affection; during our entire marriage he’s become more and more physically distant, which I thought was due to depression, but it’s been because of his discomfort with himself and what he feels is having been born with the “wrong equipment.”  Although I felt angry and resentful at first when he told me last year about his situation, I hold no anger towards him now, but we cannot continue this way.  The qualities in our relationship are better suited to friendship than marriage, and we expect to remain good friends.

        However, at the time of our separation, we both plan to move to a new city, and I know it’s not good to do this at the same time, but our living situation demands it (that’s another story).  My adult daughter and I will be sharing a place, and he will be living alone.

        I have thought many times about what it would be like for us to stay together; it would be only because of familiarity and fear of the unknown.  He no longer seems like a husband to me, just someone I know.  He is also clinging to me because what he is going through is difficult for him and he fears change, as well.  But there’s no going back. 

        And it’s painful already, and I’m sure will become much more so as we separate.  I am expecting to grieve, am already grieving that we will never get back to the hope of the life we planned to be living one day, eventually becoming two little old people who share their days enjoying good food, going out for coffee, taking long walks, visiting bookstores, etc.  His hope is that when my daughter goes out on her own and I am alone, he and I will get back together as “roommates” — but I don’t see how that can work.  I don’t want to live with him that way.  I still want my husband back, and he’s already gone.

        It’s a sad situation. 

        I appreciate everyone expressing themselves here.

        0 like

      • anir anir says

        Good friends are hard to come by!

        Odly enough, that is what was missing from my marriage.  We had everything else, we just weren’t friends.

        I wish happiness for the both of you!

        1 like

      • Susan Who Susan Who says

        Classic Anne, I feel so deeply your sorrow.  As I dealt with the details of my marriage ending, there were days where I could barely get out of bed, and didn’t even feel like feeding myself.  It’s as though a physical death would have been easier than the emotional death I was experiencing throughout each minute of my day – day after day.   Sitting here, on the other side of the divorce, I am so much wiser, happier, and at peace with myself.  In my case, friendship with my ex-husband was not possible.  He went on to find others who filled in his new life, a life I would never be a part of, after  I made a decision to stop being his convenient support system, after I stopped being there when he needed a familiar person to connect with.  I was able to move forward and focus on caring for my children and myself.  It’s like the flight attendants say to us, ”Get the oxygen mask on yourself before you help your children.  Breathe slowly and steadily…”  I volunteered, I joined a community choir, and I found friends who would listen to me, share with me, and tell me the truth.  I was not going to be able to live my dream of a great, long partnership with the father of my children, I was not going to change him, I was not going to be financially stable for years, and I was not going to be without some guilt and confusion….   But what I was able to do is find strength in my budding Christian faith, take baby steps to become emotionally stronger by being kind to myself, and I filled my mind with positive, energizing music, devotionals, poetry and the writings of people who had gone there before me….and survived.    I hope you will do the same.  God bless you and keep you…  Susan

        1 like

      • Susan Who Susan Who says

        I wanted to add, I did remarry at the age of 48.  It will be five years soon, and each day I marvel at how different my life is from those ‘hanging-on-to-the-edge’ days.  I finally have a life where I feel love everyday,  laugh many times a day, and I know that I make a positive difference in the lives of others…not perfect, but healthy and healed.

        2 like

      • Generic Image classicanne says

        An update; due to financial issues, we won’t be able to afford to separate.  We have agreed to stay together as “roommates” (each with our own room) on moving to the new city.  Now I get to watch him transition more and more into a “T-girl” and grieve for our lost relationship every day (he was the love of my life in the past).  He has actually given me “permission” to find and date someone else; oh, that’ll be great.  How could I date someone else when living with my husband, who is becoming a woman?  And what man in his right mind would want to date me in this weird scenario?  My husband will soon be at the “freak” stage, i.e. not quite a man anymore but not a woman either.  How can I invite friends over?

        This was going to be okay if we separated; I could see myself being friends with my husband from a distance, even going out with him as a fellow “female” to the movies and such, but having to stay together like this is going to be a nightmare.  There are also his continuing issues of controlling behavior and perfectionism, which are stressful to endure.  I’m getting stress-related tension headaches every day now over this.

        My daughter and I are very disappointed that we won’t be able to embark on our respective new lives as we’d planned.  I know there are a lot of couples out there who can’t afford to separate, either, but at least many of them have the hope of “rekindling lost romance.”  We can’t rekindle anything; it’ll just be an endurance contest. 

        I am just very bummed out over this… :(

         

        0 like

      • enjoying new life enjoying new life says

        my heart goes out to you… it must be terrible.  The words of comfort I can give you is I stayed with a horrible alcoholic/addictive man for 10 years after I wanted out due to my kids.  Best thing I ever did.  It was very difficult, but I needed to protect my kids.  I am sure one day  you too will be able to leave.  Good luck to you.

        0 like

      • anir anir says

        I can’t imagine having stayed any longer than the two extra months I did with my ex.  I know I was heading for a depression had I stayed any longer.  I remember getting more and more anxious and easily upset by whatever he did after I had made my decision and had to stay those extra months.   It seemed as if every little thing would just set me off.  I did not want him around me any more.  It’s a good thing I worked the night shift and he worked days.  We hardly saw each other.  Even when I would get home in the morning, I would make sure his car was gone before I got in the driveway.  I also stayed in the bedroom pretending I was still sleeping when he got home.  I only got up when it was time to eat and go to work.

        I was lucky I had a good paying job.  I had thought of renting but decided to invest in a house instead.  I was surprised to find out that I could borrow more than enough to buy a house close to my work.  At 48, I told my financial adviser I was leaving my husband and would be alone, was he sure I could get a loan?  With the assets I had with my ex, I had no problems getting one.  I opted to buy cheaper than I was alloted and don’t regret it.  I have a small house with an appartment to help pay the mortgage.  I’m sure if I had rented I would not be as well off today.  Everything included, appartments the size of my living space were more expensive than buying.

        Hope you can find a way to make things as comfortable as possible.   I think I understand a little where you are at.  Hope you will be in a better place soon.

        Take care

        anir

        1 like

    • Generic Image singlesoon says

      Oh wow, just wow.  You said it exactly as I feel it. I am sad, very sad, for the “life” I am walking away from…from the pictures in the hallways at holidays, from the traditions I created and made into part of the family experience for my children, the life I saw that made me stay….But, the love?  Oh, that has been gone so long now. I tried so hard to make it be there, but it wasn’t. And while everyone says it is a choice and a verb and it changes, blah, blah, blah, sometimes…sometimes I think it just stops and then there is nothing to remember, nothing to hold onto, nothing to look back on and smile when his very breathing is more than you can handle.  It is a sad different from his…he is devastated at my leaving him…but it is still sadness.  I have already had the first Christmas in our separated state, and it was awkward at best.  What used to be a festive glorious time for our family is not that now. But, I know I will make new traditions…hell, I made the first ones!  And life will continue, just differently.

      1 like

      • anir anir says

        Hi singlesoon,

        You are so right!  Pictures in the hallway!!  We had 6.  One of the whole family surrounded by one of each of our children.  He has kept these and only allowed me to scan them.  Since I left him and took very little with me I also miss things I had.  Might sound silly but I often think I have a certain platter or utensil and start looking for it in my kicthen only to remember that I left it behind and have not bought another yet.  You accumulate a lot of things in 30 years!  Sad to say, but this is also what I miss from not being where I was before.

        It’s odd when I think I once loved this man.  What was I thinking?  I have to admit though that he was a good provider and not violent.  I am trying to remember qualities here and that is all I can come up with. 

        Life goes on.  Be happy!

        anir

        1 like

  4. Lynnette Lynnette says

    A hug and a shoulder to cry on.

    0 like

  5. Generic Image gardengal says

    I agree with what you say. My husband had an affair. He betrayed me. He turned into this person I did not know. We were married for 32 years. He became mean, cruel, and just threw me away. It’s only been a year and a half and I am much better, but I still love him; yet I can not yet forgive him. (he is still w/ “her”).

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    • Generic Image shari says

      as is my husband, cozy with the other woman. But, what kind of a relationship is it that begins with lies, deceptions and cheating? If I was with a man who was lying in bed beside me, while talking to his wife about why he wasn’t home for dinner-work emergency…would i believe him when he said to me  –be home late, work emergency?  Or how about him, he knew she was telling her husband lies, stealing his money and just be such a bitch, can he be secure in her feelings for him.  Well I am starting my life with truth and honesty.  I want a man who wants me, free and clear, minimal baggage- no wives, lovers or other obstacles.  the road is hard and bumpy-but when I find him?  Well it won’t be a relationship that started with all that black/negative energy.  ’cause you know what?  All that drama makes really good “affair” sex, but what happens when the drama is gone, and real life sets in?  Well, we will stay tuned to that. Cause for my soon to be x, real life has set in.  He has introduced her to the kids and parents-and the result are being tabulated and there will be no golden globe for her.  She is not even in the running. The results are she is a beast.! And for me the knowledge that he traded down for a BJ and some tail, makes me smile everyday-so in the end, maybe I’ll have less money,less house, less stuff-but i will definitely have more peace, more self worth and happiness in knowing that he made the biggest mistake of his life. 

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      • Generic Image gardengal says

        In this year and a half i’ve discovered I truely like myself. Some may think that is easy, but not when you’re being told everything is your fault; including the x straying. Through all his lies, meanness, and cruelties I have grown. I too know that he made the biggest mistake of his life, our adult children know this too. I actually feel sorry for him. If I didn’t believe in karma, I do now. He has lost his job, has no money, but has gained an unskilled, codependent sugardaddy roommate with 2 teenagers. I have learned to let go of my fantasy of the husband I thought I had. Even though I still miss him, I am moving on with my life.

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      • Generic Image gardengal says

        In this year and a half i’ve discovered I truely like myself. Some may think that is easy, but not when you’re being told everything is your fault; including the x straying. Through all his lies, meanness, and cruelties I have grown. I too know that he made the biggest mistake of his life, our adult children know this too. I actually feel sorry for him. If I didn’t believe in karma, I do now. He has lost his job, has no money, but has gained an unskilled, codependent sugardaddy roommate with 2 teenagers. I have learned to let go of my fantasy of the husband I thought I had. Even though I still miss him, I am moving on with my life.

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      • Generic Image shari says

        i have to agree with you, i too like myself and am not afraid to be alone.  My x doesn’t know how to be alone so he fills his time w/ women or hobbies and the occasional time with the kids. I too miss him, but not the new him, the old him and the image of the life we had and were going to have.  But each night i get into bed and thank God for all the wonderful things I have.  I sometimes pray for him too, to find peace within himself. I have had to learn that the infidelity was not my fault, that something was missing for him and that the actions are his alone.  So the consequences are his too. He will be alone, cause the kids come to me.  I have a multitude of friends and he has one the OW> So good luck with that. Huh?

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    • Generic Image grace says

       nobody has the right to destroy your life, nobody. God bless you

      1 like

    • Generic Image JayDee1952 says

      My marriage ended after 27 years and my ex kept coming back for two years to visit and for holidays, even though he left for another woman. I had known him since we were 10 years old. He ended up going just 10 days before our youngest daughter’s marriage. He finally stopped coming around when my counselor told me to kick him off the porch. He ended up finally marrying the woman he left for 6 years later, just three weeks after I remarried. I am with a man who treats me better, has many of the same interests and shows that he loves me. We bought a camper, our adult children are friendly to each other and my life is much better than I pictured it would be in 2000 when my first marriage ended. After all this time, even though I have done much healing, I still “backslide” once in awhile and emotionally spiral downward over the end of my first marriage and the way his decision to cheat and leave affected four generations of family. My parents, our lives, my children and grandchildren, plus his side were all made to suffer due to his bad behavior. The best I can do is keep trying to keep my children and grandchildren together as family, as I do the same for my husband and his children. I realized that life comes in chapters like a book and the book doesn’t always end like you expected it to. It’s important for me to remain emotionally healthy because no matter what I may have done to myself when I felt that my life was at it’s lowest, my ex still would have trotted off with his girlfriend and I wouldn’t have done anything but further devastated my children, not to mention the rest of my family.     The best feeling you can have after divorce is indifference.    It’s much healthier than hate.   

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    • Generic Image Chrisjune says

      Hi just had to reply as you have been going through the exact same as I have. I was also dumped after 38 years , just thrown away for another women. It has also been a year and half. I also still love him and can’t forgive him. I still can’t believe he did this to me. It was such a shock. Some days I’m OK others I’m a crying weepy wreck. Hope it gets better soon. How do you handle the lonliness?

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      • Generic Image gardengal says

        the lonliness is very hard, because I could be in a room full of people and still feel lonly because he is not with me. I am finding that I have to consciously stop thinking about him and actually list the things I am grateful for that I have in my life now; like friends, work, health, and a place to post and share with wonderful people like you.

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      • anir anir says

        Hi gardengal,

        ‘This too shall pass’

        Your attitude seems to be on the right track.

        anir

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  6. Generic Image rebecca hall-brenner says

    I’ve been married for 36 years and I am the one who left my husband 2 years ago and I can’t bring myself to file for divorce because he is the one who is threating to kill himself and others !!! I feel sorry for him because he can’t handle the stress of our relationship  I am so confused and I am having trouble moving on with my life because I don’t want anything bad to happen to him or anyone else. does anyone have any advice for me ??? Is there anyone else out there who has had the same experience ??

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    • Generic Image hilandflwr says

      Rebecca, I’ve been where you are.  Everything you’ve said here screams “Control!” to me.  Your husband is using his suicide threats and his “inability” to live without you as a way to control you.  Please find a caring counselor or a support group.  This helped me tremendously!  He will survive on his own when he has to–in fact, he is now if you look closely.  You can’t control what he does……… you can only control what YOU do.  He will make his own choices.

      LIVE FOR YOURSELF…….. you deserve to be at peace and happy. 

      You have my best prayers……

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    • Generic Image Sandy Swiss says

      You are doing the right thing! Get out of that relationship and stay out. Someone who is unstable is always a recipe for trouble and tragedy. Refer him to a counselor. The longer you stay the harder it will be to get out. Give him this http://www.dadsdivorce.com and tell him to beat it! Stay strong girl!

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  7. Generic Image EB says

    I was researching this topic for a client and so happened to find this excellent column, which I’m going to share with a couple of my friends who will benefit greatly from the advice.  As part of my research thought I’d share another good resource, which is a new Web site your readers may like: http://www.Divorcecandy.com

    Best wishes, all.

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  8. Julie_G Julie_G says

    Don’t rush into anything – especially a new relationship. Take time to take care of yourself and get to know yourself (again, or for the first time). You’ve got a lot more going for you than you probably realize, but it will take time to really appreciate it. Don’t shortchange yourself! It took a while, but I’ve decided I actually enjoy being single.

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    • joyful53 joyful53 says

      Advice – honor your grief, be open to new possibilities, keep a success journal (my early entries were “I didn’t call him”, “I washed my hair”), give your children space for their own grief, figure out who you want to be and work toward that (I told my therapist that I wanted to have grace and dignity and despite the days I couldn’t get out of bed, I can look back and say that I had grace and dignity), do something new – dance, draw, sing, write, garden, go to therapy, exercise, treat yourself kindly, if you can afford to have a massage or a facial, or even a manicure – do it, it is important to be touched – even if you cry (I did – sobbed), if it is appropriate don’t rule out anti-depressants (I needed about a year and then I was done), find something bigger than yourself to connect to – charity, God, art, politics.

      I left town for a year and went to Beijing to teach.  I was lucky. I had left him with the house (our new fixer upper house) with the words “This is your mess, you can clean it.  The plumber comes on Tuesday” and I could take a leave of absence from my job.  My kids were already out on their own.  It was the best thing I could do.  I discovered that people liked me even when I wasn’t B and J’s mom or K’s wife.  So many people told me I was brave and spunky and remarkable that I started to believe them. I learned that “brave” doesn’t mean without fear, but going on in spite of it. When I came home there was a lot to face, but I was ready for it.  So maybe you need to climb a mountain, sky dive, climb rocks, go on stage, something to prove to yourself how brave you really are.

      Now, when I get the “how are you really?” in the supermarket from people I haven’t seen in years I can honestly answer them “As happy as I’ve ever been just in unexpected ways”

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      • Erica Manfred Erica Manfred says

        Great advice!   I love it.

        Erica Manfred

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      • Generic Image LizLeh says

        Thank you for your courage and wisdom. What a fantastic and inspiring attitude. My third marriage is coming to an end and I am terrified of bring on my own again. I don’t like living alone. Over the past three years I have lost my beloved brother to cancer and then had cancer myself and lost a kidney and now this .  It sucks. 

        But the thought of getting through this with dignity really resonates.   I’m going to aim for that, and remember I got through the Big C so I can get through the big D. again! And I have the all clear for the Big C so its really more doing the day to day make new routines and get on with it stuff. 

        I think you are very very brave.

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  9. Diana M. Diana M. says

    The best advice that I would give a friend is the advice I wish I had been given.  My suggestion would be to first delineate and savor the gifts from the relationship. Then proceeed with the divorce with a clear head and as positive perspective and she could muster.

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    • Generic Image ladye says

      I like your response.  The truth is at the end of the day you will still be living with yourself and I think it is important that you are proud of the person you are and proud of the way you handled yourself through the divorce.  Inevitably there are feelings of anger, fear and tremendous sorrow but being a decent person is still possible.  We women tend to think we have to be either a doormat or a (you know the word) and in truth there is an entire place somewhere in the middle where we can be a decent person.

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      • enjoying new life enjoying new life says

        yeah, I am normally a really nice, decent person but one night I became the (you know the word).  It was an ugly sight and I did not like what I saw in the mirror.  It was really horrible.  I prayed and prayed and found to my utter astonishment how much compassion I had in me on how sick this man was, how much he was hurting because he truely can not stay sober, and how he just really chose to not hear me say all those many times “I am leaving if you do  not stop abusing pills and alcohol”, how I needed to hold my head up, fight like the dickens to keep my property, forgive him, forgive myself.  With prayer I was surprised at how easy it was.  I can always do it when he is not around.  I am still working at acting dignantly when he is around, (we live in a very small town and unfortuantely our circles cross way too much)

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      • Generic Image ladye says

        I appreciate your reply.  Be proud of yourself for every “accomplishment”.  Forgiveness is the hardest task we will ever be given. 

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      • Generic Image shari says

        Wow, sounds like me.  I say everyday, at the end of the day i have done nothing to be ashamed of, I am a good person, doing a good job and making a difference as best as i can with what i have. I can look in the mirror everyday and say that i am a good person.  Can those adulterers, liars & cheaters do that and really mean it.  I don’t think so. So, the knowledge of goodness is great. My goal is to be a kind and gentle person everyday, to grow personally and professionally and to be a good role model for my children.  this is my new years resolution so far so good.

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      • Generic Image ladye says

        Thank you so much for your reply.  I think we need to be our own best friend.  Finding out who our real friends are is the next thing and that can be a slippery slope. 

        In the end I hope we realize that for whatever reason life is still good and there is much to look forward to.

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  10. Sherriblu Sherriblu says

    Im here and I care! Use the time to get to know you again and remember you are becoming a new self! The first year is the hardest but it does get better and in time you will be happy again..

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    • Jaidie Jaidie says

      Hello Sherriblu,

      Not sure I would agree with your statement “the first year is the hardest”.  It’s heading into year four and they have all been difficult.

       

       

       

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      • Generic Image ladye says

        In my case it has been 6 years now.  Last year was honestly the very first time I could ever even see any light at the end of the tunnel.  Keep finding new friends and hold tightly to the ones who have stayed by your side.  There are many changes that come our way-be proud of yourself.  You are and will get stronger.

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      • Jaidie Jaidie says

        Ladye,

        It makes me feel better to know that other women can speak to me from experience.  Sometimes my friends don’t get it.  How absolutely consuming the pain can be some days.  My family, the kids and grandchildren are also going through a loss and I do try to be strong for them.  It helps to have a venue where I can express my feeling honestly.  I will take hope and promise from your words and look forward to the day when I get myself back.  But, my God it takes hard work with little comfort at times.

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      • Susan Who Susan Who says

        I was so messed up by my first divorce that I carried left-over feelings into my second marriage.  Every year on that first marriage’s anniversary (Christmas time no less!) I would stand in front of the card rack and cry like little girl – it had been our custom to buy really emotional cards for each other over our eight years together, and I couldn’t bring myself to give anyone else a card.   One day, while talking with a friend, I realized that it had been 9 years since we had separated and I was still in love with that man (even though he had emotionally and financially trashed me and we had both remarried). Of course my second marriage also failed – I wasn’t able to love anyone else the way they deserved to be loved.  What a waste of time, waste of emotion, waste of life.  It took professional counseling (in my case with a Christian counselor) to get my head on straight.

        My first husband has been remarried for about 20 years.  I saw him and his wife recently at our 30 year old son’s engagement party and we were polite to each other,  which was a feat in itself.  I realized that they both are sarcastic and self absorbed, with a humor that enjoys putting others down; he also didn’t age well and looks horrible.  That person is no where near the man I had built up in my mind.  Thank God I have not felt anything for him for many years; I just wish I hadn’t wasted so much of my mental and emotional life on that man, and I can’t blame that on anyone but myself.  Please, Jaidie, don’t do that to yourself.

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      • Jaidie Jaidie says

        Susan,

        I know.  On one level that you are right and that my husband had become mean spirited and self absorbed.  I do not want to waste any more time on him, he has taken enough.  I guess the trick is to find out how to do that.  To embrace life again, to look forward and not backwards is not an easy thing.  It helps knowing I am not alone as I attempt to navigate this mine field I call my life…thx for the reassurance.

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  11. OHnurseinFL OHnurseinFL says

    Advice:  Don’t be surprised by the fact that your soon to be ex will lie to make himself look like the wounded party.  Mine pulled that and it left me speechless!

    But on a brighter note, savor the weight loss of a few hundred pound tumor.  Mourn if you must but life really will get better.  Learn to make yourself happy first and then others.

    Good luck.

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    • Generic Image shari says

      I was told by a divorced friend that if you must give him a piece of your day than do it, think about him but limit the time and energy and then mentally put it in a tupperware and pop on the lid. I have been doing this and it really works.  When i am overwhelmed by the emotions I literally give it a timed (by the clock) response and then tell myself outloud “ok times up, time to tupperware this stuff up” and then i move on. Try it.

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      • OHnurseinFL OHnurseinFL says

        My bad things are already in little boxes on the shelf.  If they fall off I give them a little time and then pack them back up and put them away again.  I have to tell you after 9 yrs. I rarely think about it.  Not worth the time and effort!  Life is way too short to dwell on things that have happened, I prefer to concentrate on the present!

        Have a good one!

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  12. Diana M. Diana M. says

    Got the book on Friday and finished reading it Sunday evening.  And now the advice I would give a friend going through divorce is to read “He’s History, You’re Not”.  Have been divorced for a number of years, however, the nuggets in this book nourished my spirit and fed my soul.  Feeling inspired to take some of the small steps and big leaps I have been putting off.  Thanks Erica for sharing your and other divorced women’s stories of recovery and reinvention! 

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    • Erica Manfred Erica Manfred says

      I thank you Diana.  I’m so glad you got so much inspiration from my book.   I only ask one thing.  Could you post that review on my book’s Amazon page.  I’d really appreciate it.

       

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  13. Generic Image srollins says

    try to make decisions about the attorney you choose, private detective you choose and financial matters of the divorce without emotion….try to make good decisions on these issues…with your head, not your heart….

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  14. actionspeak actionspeak says

    Write Everything down–you will be so confused when the legal part of it starts–and don’t say “I don’t care about the money” Trust me, he does and in the end that is really what it will all be about. The lawyers and judges will not care that your heart is broken.

    Give yourself time…it took me a long time but I’m finally on the other end  now and wish I could share all that I have learned. Hang in there

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  15. Generic Image gardengal says

    I received the book, it really is great. I am finding every word applies to me. It has been helpful to me in that I can be easier on myself now.

    I really wish I had the book when we were trying to make it work with a marriage councler. Maybe it would have helped, I don’t know; but it really is helping me now.

    thanks so much. Carol

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  16. Generic Image grace says

    I recived the book, I am reading it, and it is a pleasure to read every page, it is a pleasure, thank you to the author of the book, I send you a hug a very long hug, because I felt you in my history, I belong to an italian mother, and well I will learn to describe with honor and dignity my history as you did, another hug, thanks a lot.

    Grace

    0 like

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