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Wondering if and when I'll ever stop looking back

M Updated
I've been on wiki the past few months, and have received some heartwarming advice and support. I've only just found this blog section of the website, and have been avidly reading through as many of the entries as possible, desperate to find out how everyone else is coping or has coped with this common nightmare we have all stumbled into. Mainly because everything is so horrific, I wonder how on earth people have gone through this and come out ok the other side. I am only entering my 5th month of separation. Every day is a struggle, where I try desperately hard to stay positive, but frequently fail to do so. I have been packing our house up for the past 10 days and today was the day that the last remaining items were taken out and shipped away, either to his new place or to storage (for me). I found myself walking around my empty house. Our empty house. Going from room to room. Remembering how excited we were when we brought it, a few months before we got married. How everything back then held so much promise, and opportunity. Re-living memories, good and bad, in each one of its rooms. Wondering how on earth it ever came to is. This is what I have been struggling with, lately. I am just constantly thinking about the past, missing how it used to be, missing what could've been. I know things were not perfect. I know things were shit in the last few months before we separated. There was no actual adultery involved in our separation, though it crossed his mind and he had set wheels in motion. Just a lot of lies over many years. I know I may be looking back through rose tinted glasses. But I just can't help looking back. Maybe because looking forward is so overwhelmingly terrifying, and unimaginable. And I wonder when I'll ever stop looking back, if indeed I ever will? Why do I do it, because it stabs every time. And yet I carry on doing it. Maybe I am a masochist. No, I can't be. I don't enjoy inflicting pain on myself. Hacking away at what's left of the mess that he left behind. Maybe it's true what everyone says, that time is a healer. But I have a very close friend, who has been my rock through this, for who time has done nothing except enhance the anger and bitterness about what happened to her. Her husband cheated on her and then walked out on her whilst she was pregnant with their first child. That was 15 years ago. And to this day, she still doesn't celebrate new year, because she says why on earth would she celebrate another year of shit. She has been in relationships since, but doesn't ever trust anyone, and so it always goes wrong. And it scares me. What if it never gets better? What if I always feel like this? What if I never get over what happened, much like she hasn't? How do it stop looking back? Sorry, I'm rambling on. I just felt the need to write it all down, because leaving my home for the final time today really broke me.

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Methu good luck and come home the person you used to be, she will make herself known to you again and you will become stronger.

But most of all embrase this opportunity and have fun ;D

Sending you lots of (((Hugs))))
D
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Look again in the mirror Methu and smile at the younger you looking back. You are still that person deep inside. The same caring, lovely person, but now you have to love yourself enough to grasp this new life.

It's very early days for you, but what a fantastic opportunity that the secondment has come up now. Yes, you'll hit the ground running; yes it's scarey, but there are a few thousand wikis wishing you well, so think of us behind you willing you to succeed. Wikis helped me reinvent myself and I'm not being dramatic - it's true. They convinced me that I could and would pull off the scariest career move ever and I did and so will you.

We're only a click away from wherever you'll be, so you won't be truly alone and your family there will be very pleased to have you with them.

So 'Bon voyage' and let us know how you are. Hugs! xx
M
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Hi Methu, just sending these ((())).
Similar situation longer time.So feel I can comment a little.I suspect like myself and most of us really,
The woman that was is still there she just needs to reach for the sun that's what I'm doing and intend to do,it won't be easy for us and like Sun x says quaking inside. We are so worth it though.
Good luck with your secondment new chapter old improved you emerging.
Wiki's always here.
xxx
E
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[quote]I think maybe that's why the next 3 months will be an eye opener (I am being seconded to work abroad as part of my job, and will be staying with family who live out there). I will be out of the comfort zone and the routine that I built up as part of my marriage[/quote]

Wow Methu - this sounds a perfect way to find both the old you and the new bold brave you (even if a bit of you is quaking inside). You will be exploring a new way of life and will relish it - and it sounds like a feather in your cap career wise too. You are a wonder.

Let us know how you are getting on.

As for seeing your stbx....we can advise but you know what is best or you, not us....and actually, even if it is not best - well we all make mistakes - we are not here sitting as judge and jury - more as a supportive friend.

Take care and very good luck in your secondment - it sounds wonderful - I know it is not the best of time but please please try to enjoy it if you can and remember you are never alone - we ludite wikis are still here on-line for a chat or a blog :)
SF
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Rocksteady, I totally agree about the meditation thing - i have done mindfullness meditation in the past and it really helped. But then i got out of the habit of doing it, focusing instead on exercising like a mad woman. Need to get back on it, as I think it can only be beneficial, especially with regards to living in the here and now, and not the sad past or the scary future.

At this stage, I think a small part of me is angry. It feels like he has ruined my life, how dare he do is to me, I deserve so much better. But it's so early on in the process that I am still just incapable of true anger and bitterness. Therefore, at this stage, the overriding feeling for me is just deep regret and sadness. Regret for the part I played in everything (because even though it was ultimately down to him, the way I was in the marriage did, in some way, contribute to its downfall, however minor that was). But mainly sadness. Not only have I lost my husband, but my best friend, as well.

And this is another part that I also really struggle with - I know everyone will disapprove of what I am about to say. I think I know this because if my friend was doing this, I would be concerned - but I am actually still in contact with my Stbx. We text each every now and then. We actually,went to the cinema Monday night, after we completed on our house sale. We were both worried that it may be weird, but there was a film we both wanted to see, so we went to see it together. And it's difficult, because it's so easy to imagine that everything's ok. Conversation is easy, it feels like old times. Except that you have that weight on your shoulders, because you know that it's not. Something is off, and you can't ignore it. It feels sad. And it's really silly, because ultimately, it's like putting a bottle of vodka in front of an alcoholic. He's like my drug - I know it's bad for me, but I just keep on doing it. And vice versa. Maybe that's another good reason why going away for 3months will do me good, to get me out of the habit. How can I ever move forward if I am still seeing him every now and then. But I like seeing him. Even though it's bad and I know it's holding me back, I still like seeing him. Maybe I am a masochist after all. I know the no contact rule is vital in separation, but because there was no real animosity in ours (though I could have justifiably behaved as such - my friends and family certainly feel this way. Maybe I'm a mug?), then it makes it harder. In a way, I wish I was bitter and angry about it all. Maybe it's easier to move on if you hate them?!!

Ps - Pixie, I actually use Methu as an abbreviation of Methuselah, so your predictive text got it bang on :)
M
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Gosh, I am so overwhelmed by everyone's responses. Thankyou. It is absolutely fascinating to read how everyone is interpreting what happened/is happening to them, because I can really see some massive similarities. I can't seem to access the chat room from my iphone/ipad for some reason, think it's cos I don't have flashplayer or something :(

Mitchum, you are quite right - I think I am scared witless, because I don't actually feel like I know who I am anymore. Much like Shoegirl, I was in a marriage where emotionally, I gave far too much in exchange for far too little. I was the one who loved the most, and we both knew that. I gave up a big part of who I was to be with him. And I'll put my hands up: That was my decision. He never asked me to do any of those things. But I did, and after a while, I think i just forgot who I am. I became defined by him, by us, by our marriage. So now that it's all over, I'm suddenly confronted with this stranger in the mirror staring back at me, and
have no clue who she is. I think maybe that's why the next 3 months will be an eye opener (I am being seconded to work abroad as part of my job, and will be staying with family who live out there). I will be out of the comfort zone and the routine that I built up as part of my marriage. It's going to be me relying on me again, like it used to be 10 years ago, before I met my Stbx. Back then, I was going places, I was someone. I hope I can find her again. She's the one he fell in love with, and yet she got lost somehow within the relationship, it's ironic really.

Some of you were right, with regards to leaving the house being a positive thing. I guess getting rid of the house was my first attempt at trying to move forward. Big step for me and My anxiety issues, as the house was always my 'safe place'. So actually, it's probably healthy that it's gone. My Stbx told me that it had become my cage. We handed the keys over on Monday, and though it still makes me desperately sad when I think that I've lost my home, a very small part of me was also a little relieved. I was surprised at this. But then I guess that, As much as I loved my home, it was just a constant reminder of what used to be. Of who I used to be, or thought I was, anyway. I have the utmost respect and admiration for those who stay put in the FH, and have to face up to it every day. In hindsight, I don't think I could've done that.
M
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Just brainstorming the forgiveness issue. I don't think it's condoning. The problem with forgiveness is (putting sun flower's words slightly differently), it smacks of letting 'them' and particularly ex off the hook. Saying cheating, lies etc is acceptable.

But, that said, we do want to get off the hook ourselves don't we ? I mean get off the hook of being continually dragged back by what 'they'/ex did. Can't we somehow leave 'them' on the hook yet release ourselves.

Nige

N
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Four months from the start of this process to selling up and moving out of your home is such a short time and inevitably you're looking back and wondering what happened. Everything has happened in such a rapid time scale and I suspect you're looking at who you used to be and wondering how that transfers to what lies ahead for you.

We still have that sense of who we were in a couple and when that's taken from us when a relationship abruptly ends we have to reinvent ourselves from what we're left with.

Yet whilst the person has gone, the memories are powerful links with a past we occupied together and the emotions they release can be challenging. We see glimpses of the person we used to be in the existence we called being married. Without memories we are very 2-D human beings and however painful they are to visit and re-visit, the past is indelibly stamped on our psyche. So when we're feeling melancholy the memories come flooding in of happier times and contrast with how we feel now.

Those painful memories you've referred to in your blog are refusing to be bottled up and demanding that you deal with them. Well done for facing up to them. Facing up to your negative thoughts I believe is a positive action. It's always best to acknowledge our feelings so they may rise to the surface rather than keep them suppressed and keep us stuck in the past, a past we must escape.

We all have days from time to time when it feels like the world is against us or that the chaos we are experiencing will never end. One negative thought seems to lead to another, leaving you feeling vulnerable and afraid.

Know that everybody has bad days, you are not alone, the world is not against you. Listen to what other wikis tell you that with support and guidance you will come through this painful experience and there will be bright tomorrows. You have to be looking forward to see those coming though!

Hugs!
M
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I don't feel that forgiveness is about condoning behaviour. For me forgiveness has been an extremely long process that started with me understanding how my marriage,why my life had come to the point it had and getting to a stage where what had happened had no real power over my future in the sense that I was no longer controlled by what he did. That for me is what forgiveness was about. That my past stopped scarring my future.

I never felt the need personally to get to a point where I could condone or excuse his behaviour. That for me wasn't appropriate, his behaviour towards me was manipulative and self serving. But in understanding me, my limitations, what led me and kept me in my marriage helped me to understand the rest of it including his behaviour and the things that drove him to lie and cheat I don't consider myself stupid or responsible for his behaviour. That's because in that marriage I did the best I could and that was to my credit I believe. I now understand through what led me into a situation where I ended up with someone like that. He made choices to lie and chest, I made choices to be with him when there were very clear signs that he was emotionally unavailable and not good husband material. I didn't want to see it at the time, I went on regardless thinking it would all be ok. I ignored my own intuition and I needed to understand why I put my own needs way below his. I had in fact put myself in a position where I would give far too much in exchange for far too little. These were my choices. I played a part in my own marital downfall. And these were the hardest things to face into. It was far easier to blame him and to stay angry actually in the moment where my very talented therapist was challenging those very carefully constructed defences.

Holding on to the anger didn't work for me either. It did for a while because anger gave me energy to get back up and to fight for my future that my ex had done a fairly good job of trying to trash. After a while the anger drained me. I'd spent so long focussing on him, that it took me a great deal of time to turn the focus back on me and understanding me better. When I understood me, my own beliefs, my own self esteem, my limitations, I began to see the world as it really was. Then everything made sense.

It was a 2 year journey where I worked my socks off. Literally understanding my situation, why this had happened to me and how I could rebuild and grow and not remain permanently affected was my number one priority. It's not been easy, I've been shot down in flames, ridiculed and alienated at times but I know in my heart that I have really walked the walk of recovery and I have come through having learned much about me and things that need to change for me to live a fulfilled life. After years of losing myself in a marriage and then the agony of his betrayals, I have had to get to know me and learn how to meet my own needs that had been neglected for such a long time.3 years on and I'm still learning and listening to my feelings. I suspect this is a lifelong journey. But I know I've come a long way and I'm no longer emotionally affected by what he did. And there is huge inner peace in that.

S
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....as I read back over this I asked myself 'why can't I forgive him' - and the honest raw response would be that to forgive and accept their cheating is to condone it.

Cheating has become too acceptable - run of the mill (IMHO) - if we - those that have been left say 'it is fine - no problem - yes go ahead and cheat on those around you who love and trust you' then we sink to their depths - I think that is part of it...

Again, I am just exploring ideas with you.....
SF
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