Will I ever get over it?

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buddhababe83
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Will I ever get over it?

Post by buddhababe83 » Sun Feb 09, 2020 5:46 pm

Hi everyone, This is my first post about my problem. I got divorced nearly 20 years ago after 25 years together (23 years married). We were very young when we married and had both been through traumas in our childhoods. We had two children and our marriage was good and he was a good husband. When I was 39 I went back into education and went to university and changed as a person. I realised I was bisexual and felt I had to explore this part of me. Also, I felt I needed to explore more of life as being at university opened up a new world of possibilities for me. I felt I had no choice but to leave what in many ways was a good marriage. My children at this time were in their teens and I wanted the split to be as painless as possible for them.

My ex-husband and I were on friendly terms for many years and I was in a long term relationship for nine years. Throughout that relationship I thought of my ex every day and as my children were still living in the marital home with him, I saw him on a regular basis. I left the nine year relationship as it was damaging me mentally and physically. I lived on my own for 5 years and then I met my current partner who is great. We have been together now for 8 years and have a good relationship. I am happy with him but can't get my ex-husband out of my head. He doesn't have any contact with me now. He hardly has any contact with our children and this breaks my heart.

What has made this worse is he is getting married this year and my daughter is going to be involved. I am not particularly bothered about this but have realised that her telling me all about the arrangements was upsetting me. I have asked her recently to stop telling me about it. She doesn't like her father's girlfriend and is just going along with it all, as is my son. The wedding is going to be a big expensive one even though my ex is in his 60s and she is in her 50s. I suppose I am a bit jealous as I saved up for over a year for our wedding (I was 17 when we married) and I feel like it's all been handed to her on a plate.

It may sound ridiculous to people that I am feeling like this after 20 years. The marital home was only sold 8 years ago so he was in my life right up until then so I feel like I didn't really grieve for the end of our marriage until it was actually sold.

Him now getting married has really made me feel worse. I have regretted leaving our marriage but at the time I couldn't see any other way. I feel a lot of guilt around my leaving and I feel there is a lot that I have not had the opportunity to say to him. I also feel that now he is remarrying that its as if our life together never existed. This is not helped by the fact that he hardly sees our son and daughter unless it is to do with his wedding and on special occasions and then it is as if they are there to 'play happy families'. My son and daughter have told me they feel this way.

I would be grateful if anyone could give me advice as to how I can find some peace of mind with all this? I have worked with three counsellors over the last few years and discussed this but I still cannot seem to find any peace. I would like to hear if anyone else has been in this situation and what helped them. Thank you.

reckoner
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Re: Will I ever get over it?

Post by reckoner » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:08 am

Although it hasn't been to the same extent, your description of unresolved feelings over someone you gave up but never really got over is very familiar to me.

Long story short, I believe your mind is playing tricks on you and you have to learn to appreciate what you have now without taunting yourself with what you could have had, which I suspect you probably couldn't have had anyway; that's the trick your mind is playingy on you.

I think you are correct: you never really grieved for the loss of your marriage and you have only really started to do so since learning that your ex-husband is getting married again. Before then, you dodged the grieving process while being caught up in your new world of possibilities when you went to university. During that time, your ex was at a perfect distance for you - far enough away for you to have your freedom and explore the expansion of your identity, but always there in the background, like a safety net in case you needed him.

Actually, I don't think he was ever as much of a safety net as that - he must have been hurt by your leaving and would have needed to get over you to protect his own sanity, but you would never have needed to think about it as long as he was allowing you to just get on with your new life.

Now that you have experienced and gone through all these lifestyle changes, perhaps you're realising you're not so different from the person you were while you were married to him and have come to appreciate what you had at the time in a way that you couldn't at the time. But now it's too late to go back, and so you're stuck in this cloud of half-regrets about what might have been with what you'd both built together.

I'm sure you would have had an awful lot of support for your decision to leave at the time, with lots of people saying you were doing the right thing to leave. When you make a decision to leave like that, what you're experiencing now is the risk you take.

The good news I think for you is that this discomfort of unfinished business with him has not been going on as long as it might feel; it has only been a big enough concern to affect your state of mind since he was no longer there in his capacity as a safety net, with his new marriage finally bringing it into the open.

I think the truth of this is that you only really needed a tiny fragment of him in your life to live yours happily. Your feelings for him have not been real feelings about a real person, he has been reduced to a vague concept that served a functional purpose. You have now been without him for almost as long as you were with him so the reality is that you have already been living perfectly happily without him. You just need to continue to do so knowingly by coming to terms with his absence.

Do not be tempted to devalue his new relationship - that he is simply playing "happy families". The truth is he is now a stranger, your paths have parted. Your current state of mind will cause you to build constructs from whatever you learn about his life that support your desire to fantasise about what might have been with him.

Let him go. Live your life. You're practically there already.

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Re: Will I ever get over it?

Post by Tarantula » Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:58 am

Hey there

I agree with reckoner's very thoughtful input, and would like to add a practical suggestion:

Have you thought about writing him a letter, or even meeting in person? I know that nothing quite eats you up inside like things left unsaid, and at this point, what have you to lose?

Of course, such an act would be fraught with potential misunderstandings, and you should not doo it if you have an ulterior motive which is anything other than wanting to say your piece and be done with it. You were such a huge part of each other's lives - would he deny you the opportunity to relieve yourself, or would he be cruel about it?

Also, I'm not understanding why contact faded out, or why he stopped being as involved in his children's lives?

I especially think that if you met in person, the fantasy image you've created of him in your mind would fall apart. You'd see that he's just a regular guy, he's alright, but not someone you need to torture yourself over any more.

Perhaps you could even be friends/acquaintances in future. After all, you share so much history and children together. Whenever either of you think back to your youth, you'll think of each other, and it would be a shame to lose that connection, I think. That's not about crossing the boundaries of your current relationships; it's about being able to look back, from time to time, over some of the mutually defining memories of your lives, without the bitterness.

buddhababe83
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Re: Will I ever get over it?

Post by buddhababe83 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:34 pm

Thank you so much for both your responses. I agree with alot of what you both say.
reckoner - just a few points. Even when I was experiencing my new 'lifestyle' he was constantly on my mind. My ex and I actually had a Civil Partnership and for the whole of the day I was thinking of him and what I'd put him through. That doesn't mean to say I didn't love my ex-partner. It wasn't a good relationship and I suffered mental abuse. I thought at times of confiding in him about it (he even told me he was there for me) but I thought it wasn't fair to him so I struggled on with it until I finally walked away.
Also, I have always appreciated what I had with him and it was the hardest thing I ever had to do to leave but I felt it was the best for both of us. Also, he did nothing to persuade me to stay, in fact, he had feelings for two other women at the time so I feel that he was bored with the marriage. Regarding 'living perfectly happy without him' - I believe we can all live without anyone. Yes, it is very sad (and can be devastating) when a relationship ends but I know I can survive on my own as I have done it before.
Tarantula - I have thought about writing him a letter but it would probably be ignored. I have sent him texts now and again when I have had concerns over my daughter but they have been ignored. When he split up with his girlfriend (which has happened many, many times) I sent him a lovely email saying I hope he found someone who was better for him and wished him all the best. That was ignored. The odd time I have seen him in recent years he is very pleasant but the only time he has contacted me was when he wanted to borrow money.
For the 14 years that he lived in the marital home I helped him with money and gave him emotional support. I don't expect to have the same relationship with him now he is remarrying, I just feel very sad that we can't be friends and he only seems interested in his girlfriend's family.
A few years ago when I was single I met up with him and told him I'd never stopped loving him. He seemed shocked and was angry. I didn't expect anything from him, I just needed him to know. I am a great believer in telling people how you feel about them, it's too late when they are dead!!That's probably why he pulled away from me. I did sent him a text afterwards to say I wished him well in his relationship.
It goes really deep with me as when my mother died (I was 7), my birth family was destroyed when my father remarried. He ignored me and my brothers when we left home. So, I suppose that has a lot to do with the way I feel.
Anyway, I am feeling a bit better about the situation now. It's about accepting and making the most of what we have in the present.

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