10 08/13/2012 relationships Separation & Divorce

Moving Toward Closure


Yesterday I found out my ex has begun seeing someone new. I’ll be honest – I wasn’t completely surprised, but my kids sure were. In the end, I believe he did what he thought was best to bring the two sides of his life together, but it turned into an emotional train-wreck for my daughters (well, to be fair, mostly for my older daughter). And I was the one scrambling to pick up the pieces, while also trying to sort out my own feelings about it.
Now I haven’t written much about my separation, mostly because it’s not only my story to tell. I have tried to show restraint because I recognize I bring only one version of the story to the table, and that version is very highly tinted by my own hurt and loss. But there are times at which the cathartic lure of writing about my feelings is too strong and I simply Have. To. Write.
This is one of those times.
Let me be completely frank and say that I have been surprisingly upset these last two days as I have come to terms with the very concrete knowledge that my ex has moved on. I don’t feel hurt that he is with another woman, and yet…and yet I still do hurt. For some reason.
First, I thought it was because he had bungled telling the girls about it, or perhaps that he hadn’t told me first to prepare me for their reactions. Especially with our older daughter, who is so very emotionally fragile. 
Then, I thought it was because I was jealous. To be clear: I wasn’t jealous of her, this new girlfriend (I don’t regret our separation – ever), but I began to think I might just be envious of him. Envious that he has found someone new, someone more suited to him who shares his interests. Someone to have fun with. Someone to have grownup conversations with. Someone to help bear the loneliness of being forty-something and single. 
Because it is, you know, lonely. It’s deeply lonely. And it’s lonely in many ways. It’s lonely simply to be unmarried when everyone else isn’t. It’s lonely to be the fifth wheel at dinner parties. It’s lonely to want to invite a friend and her family over for dinner, only to back out because, well, who will her husband talk to if they come? 
So yeah, there’s that. It’s likely that I envy him because he has something that I don’t, but I don’t even know that I want it…at least not now. Not when my life is so full of mothering and working full-time and just making ends meet and keeping house and…and…where would I find the time to devote to a relationship when some weeks I can’t even find time to fold the laundry before it needs to go back into the hamper?
And this is where the truth starts to creep in. 
It’s true when I say I don’t regret my separation, but I do regret how things have worked out in my life. I regret that I am not in a stable marriage with a partner who I still love and with whom I enjoy spending time. I regret that my children don’t get to live with their Dad and grow up in a home with two parents who love and respect each other. I regret that I don’t have someone to sit with of an evening, talking over issues at work, or re-telling funny stories our younger daughter passed on or worrying about our older daughter and her school. I regret that I won’t grow old with the person I raised my children with. That I may not have anyone to grow old with.
My own Mom and Dad, a lifetime of love. 
And I think this is what has had me so upset. 
In the end, I’m so upset at this news because I’m mourning the loss of a marriage. Not the marriage I actually had, but the marriage I would have liked to have had. The marriage I deserve to have had.
And that can be a hard loss to come to terms with.
  • Alice

    Knowing that something is right doesn’t mean that thing doesn’t hurt. The end of something that was important to your and a big part of your life is always going to hurt, it’s the end of an era for you, the end of the dreams for what your life would be.
    My parents finally signed divorce papers a good decade after their relationship had ended, and it was the best thing for everyone, and I knew it. It still hit hard, seeing the definitive end of my family and knowing there was no going back, just like this would seem like the final end of the family that you built.
    Give yourself time. It truly is healing.

  • Kath

    Thanks everyone for all your comments and support – I appreciate you all so much. Time is helping to take the sting out of this one, and I can see that it was a good opportunity for me to examine where I am emotionally after the first year of separation. It may prove to be a good kick in the butt to remind me to keep moving forward in my life.

  • Jo Ann

    This could have been written by me! Hang in there. It does get better. I truly can say “I know how you feel”. My husband left me over 10 years ago and I am still mourning “what could have/should have been”.

  • Nancy

    kath- I hear you and I understand. Every change at the beginning has new and hard confusing feelings. Sometimes I try hard to see that this is my journey and it has its own beauty -other times I want to scream and have a tantrum. It is hard when you have to pick up the peices from someone not thinking before they act and do damage control with your kids.
    Do you have a good therapist? This is valuable for the first few years. I saw it as a place to put those feelings and be heard.
    Chin up. You are amazing and you are moving things forward.

  • Maria

    This was such a personal piece for you to share. From my experience through friends, I find the man is always the 1st to move on. I honestly think it’s harder for men to be alone and for some reason it is always seems easy for them to find a new girlfriend. I don’t mean this in an attack against men, just a fact from what I have seen from my friends’ situations. My MIL also found love in her early 60’s & she is happier than she ever was in her 1st marriage!

  • Brandee

    I can fully understand everything you are going throu has I am going through the same thing. I have come to terms with the fact that our impending divorce is the best thing for us as neither of us had been happy for awhile but I’ve also been very sad. The life we had planned out is gone. The travels, the family, the growing old together. Now he has someone new and I’m a single mother of 3 at 38. Its can be so lonely. I don’t have that person to sit with and talk to at night or to watch a movie with. It’s scarey because I no longer know what my future holds. I love my kids but adult company and conversation is really needed.

  • alexlv05

    Very well said. I had the exact same thoughts in the same situation. I bear the brunt of parenthood but also get the goodnight kisses and excited faces when something great happens. My ex is essentially single-with-no-kids for 26 days each month. Of course it was easier for him to move on! The end of my marriage certainly began a mourning process but also a new chapter in my life which was exciting (and scary). I think your feelings are valid and it’s great to hear that others are in the same boat. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sara

    Oh Kath. I wish we lived closer – we could be single together. I have those mournful feelings as well – for a life I thought I would have but here I find myself…43, single for a decade (my post on that is in progress) and yes, at times very lonely. I also saw my parents honour the ‘until death do us part’ vow. I’ve also had the privilege of seeing my dad find love again at the ripe old age of 62. It’s made me realize that there are different love stories for all …. and we have a ton of time to find that one that we’ll grow old with!! Hang in there. I said it last week but Kath, you are getting so reflective and learning so much about yourself – it’s awesome.

  • Alisha

    Your words hit very close to my heart as I have mourn the loss of the marriage I thought I would have as well. Every day it gets better and I have more clarity as to what I want and will not settle for less just to have someone in my life. I find I meet resistance with my family, as I was involved with a wonderful man( post separation), but realized that we were walking two different paths.
    Good luck!

  • Jen

    I am so glad you took the time to step back and really understand what you were feeling. I think this makes total sense and anyone in your position would have these feelings. I also think that acknowledging them and letting yourself feel them will help you move forward.
    We all make choices in life. The key is to learn from them to make our lives better. I think you are doing that now!

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