My daughters (18) and (20) went down to see their Dad for the first time since he moved away five months ago. They came back full of news and I found hearing about his reality was incredibly painful. They both were quick to reassure me that he missed us all terribly and that he was very sad about everything. This definitely made things worse and I found I had this weird hope in me that maybe not all was lost and there was still a chance. I was surprised that I felt this hope. They told me that things have cooled with his OW (my old friend) and that he doesn't see her much and that she is just a friend. He is still going to stay down by the seaside though and is shortly going to move into a new flat. They also told me that he is still drinking but not so much so that blew my fantasy of his new found sobriety. He had even wanted to buy me a present which the girls discouraged and told the girls he wanted me to be happy. What does that mean? He wrote me a letter on a scruffy bit of paper and said in this that he was sorry for everything that had happened but he didn't dwell on this. The main thrust of his letter seemed to be about telling me that he had financial needs too and that he had had to move on as that was his way of coping. The girls were full of sorrow for him and told me about all his financial outgoings. Gently but firmly I put my emotional inner child to bed - there's no going back - things would break down again. I needed to think about the facts - was he trying to win me over, soften me just before we do our second exchange of form E before court. His OW has been an issue in our divorce (third party/ co-habitation) so I think he is distancing her from us because of this and she will reappear on the scene publically once the settlement has gone through. I found I desperately wanted to know the truth of the situation and contemplated hiring a private detective or even going myself in disguise and stalking him for a couple of nights. Perhaps I need certainty and I had got used to him having an OW and the idea of him being alone is frightening as I then want to be with him. I have decided to lean towards the idea of her still being around. I also felt irritated about his bid for mercy. I have hardly been unreasonable in what I ask from him. He offered me nothing so I am not going to feel sorry for him. It has worked out well for him - he has moved from the city to the seaside, kept his job, kept all his salary and is paying a tiny interim maintenance, acquired a new girlfriend who adored him, doesn't have to deal with the teenage dramas (today I picked up my younger daughter at 6.30 am as she had stayed over at a friend's and couldn't sleep). No, don't feel sorry for him - stick with the rage as this feels more appropriate and after all, he's not there anymore on a day to day basis.
Interesting to read Shoegirl's comment about the shift in how much we dwell on the breakup - I just noticed today that I am increasingly having a few glorious minutes at a time where I totally forget about it; I am actually thinking about other mundane stuff unrelated to the separation like an upcoming bike ride, fertilising the plants before spring etc. What a treat! Though every time I get a little jolt back to reality and it hurts to remember the massive disruption and hurt to our family that STBX and his lover have caused. But lucky me, I still get those recycled dishcloths from hospital!
Just for today was a great comfort to me in my dark days. One day at a time. That's where the future starts. You won't stop thinking about him for a while yet but doing things for you will help you refocus and energy very slowly will start to be redirected until you barely think of him at all and when you do, you won't care.
It's turning a tanker really, takes much time and many emotional miles. But for today enjoy that book!
Thank you all for your messages and sharing your stories. The present-giving is bizarre isn't it. How horrible for you Elizadolittle that your ex isn't paying any of the bills at all. This is reality in its rawest form - I hope you are ok.
Actually I sent a very polite note back to my stbx via facebook wishing him and the new woman well but explaining that I and the girls will need financial support from him. Later, in the middle of the night I wrote a seething, scathing, contemptuous response but after reading it I decided not to send it. I feel past wanting to hurt him now. I'm just going to let him go.
Shoes, I read how you improved the quality of your life after you ended and I am going to try and think on a Just for today basis. Just for today I am going to enjoy reading my book, finishing my form e etc. I have been obsessing about him and the OW, have some trunk of a bond that it is difficult to sever but thinking about him is making me ill. I really need to work on refocusing. Thank you wiki people, I can think about you guys... :)
The others have said it all really SG. Wiki friends are always here to listen and never suffer from compassion fatigue. No one here is going to tell you to get over it. We will tell you that the pain will go, your head will eventually clear and the ties to the past will gradually unravel.
There's always someone here who understands and will send you support and advice. Watch for a wikimeet near you and go along and meet 'real' wikis, where your virtual supporters will become good friends to see you through this. xx
Stem Ginger - Snap! I had the hope the whole time, and it was always dashed. And I never had so much as a bedding plant!! He said he wanted to be friends, but my friends don't treat me this way.
Now that he is not even talking about being friends, and is not in fact talking at all and is ignoring the fact that I can't pay the mortgage (tho he still wants half the equity in the house) or the school fees or his various direct debits, or indeed feed the children, because I have no income and he hasn't given me a penny for about six months - while it is incomprehensible it is in a way much easier because (most of the time) the hope is gone.
I no longer hope that we will get back together. I do still sometimes - I admit - fall into the trap of believing that this totally incomprehensible situation is just a nightmare from which I will awake. But I have given up thinking that he will realise his mistake and everything will be fine. He has yet to acknowledge to me that he has ****ed up or to apologise, but even if he did, unfortunately it's all over. Or maybe fortunately.
Chin up Stem Ginger, I think you are doing a brilliant job. Don't be too hard on yourself and give yourself time.
You are doing really really well, Your strength to push through the emtional pull will serve you very well indeed in the months to come. I can really relate to this mindset. I also totally relate to you waking up and wiki being your first thought. I thought that it was only me that felt like this. I can't remember who said it, but you do start to understand who your friends are during these times. Peoples perseption of how you should be faring up always alarms me. I detest that line "you should be over it by now" what the hell do they know. Sadly even my own family are tired of my seperation and I have learned not to run to them for support anymore. Like you said, sometimes just reading other peoples blogs or posts is enough to put you in a better frame of mind.
Wishing you lots of strength for the future and a happy bank holiday weekend
I still get strange presents plus cards for birthday and Christmas. My translation is 'I am really a nice guy. I have hardly any friends and ow has dumped me so I want to hold on a belief that we are friends because it makes me feel better about what I did. And while I'm doing this I can pretend that what I did was really a minor blip in our lives and there is no way you should still be upset about it. Get over it.'
Thak you shoegirl and vastra1. The first thing on my mind when I woke up in the early hours today was to see if anyone had answered. I felt so horribly alone yesterday. No girlfriend to call (they are sick of it), no therapist (she is on holiday), no family (still struggling with the death of my father in December), no husband as he is gone. This website is going to be a lifeline - just reading others stories helps so much.
I was struck shoegirl by the similarity of your experience and I think you saw through the actions clearly. I had to laugh about the bedding plants - what a strange gift. It must have been a childish attempt to say sorry and soooo inadequate. I also agree about the not knowing what he felt. I think my ex wanted to play the concerned father and husband whilst he was with the girls. They liked the idea of his grieving over me. I am not going to burst their bubble this time as I think they need to think well of him and a bit of healthy denial has helped them. In a way he tried to help I think by denying his relationship and he also avoided any anger that might have been directed his way.
The tatty letter helped as I realised that this is all I mean to him now. I have read it countless times and it saddens me that like your ex shoegirl he could not do the emotional work around the end of our marriage. He could have said so much more. Of course I know where all his emotional work is now going, it is invested in his new relationship. Interestingly nobody mentioned the walking holiday he has just had - the girls didn't ask him about it and he didn't raise it. He never goes on holiday alone and he probably was with her but the girls don't want to know about that.
What now - I also thought that at the moment I must go by his actions and forget about his words. He is doing Ok and I am not so I must focus on me and the girls.
I continued work on my form E yesterday and that helped actually. I do find the black and white nature of the divorce process very calming which I know is not the case for everyone. I like the clarity it offers and the lack of room for emotional twisting and turning. My solicitor is a father figure who breaks through my denial and hope with the reality. Funnily enough, he sent me his draft form e for me yesterday and it came through just as I felt hopeful. I didn't like it arriving and wanted it to go away but later I saw it as helpful, a fatherly reminder that this relationship had to go by the wayside - it would destroy me. Just imagine, if I tried to win him back - the other woman would always be there to rescue him if things went badly with us! No, no, no.
And today I shall go to yoga, buy some nice food, get a good book to read and send my form e amendments off. I am also applying for jobs (one a day) as I am sure feeling more financially independent will help me. I shall be cheerful with the girls and not mention their father once, desperate though I am inside to ask them what the latest is. It's a horrible kind of addiction...