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Painful Hurdles

N Updated

I find myself at my 2 year anniversary (almost to the day) of when my Wife moved out after announcing to me that she: “didn’t love me anymore”; “his car is far better than yours”; “we have 4 hour sex sessions in the hotel” amongst other things... I recall fondly the support this website gave me in understanding my new found situation, in preparing me for what was about to come and in giving guidance of how to carry on in the present. It was a real help.

The subsequent 2 years after her brutal and totally unexpected announcements has seen me behave in a fairly typical (I presume) way. I became active on Tinder. I genuinely loved meeting new people and used it as a coping mechanism against the reality of being left and belittled. Unlike most men it wasn’t just a physical demand to satisfy a short term need for sex, I loved the social scene it offered and the interaction with women so diverse I dared not think possible to ever meet. It was however only a coping mechanism, until I met the first of my two long term post marriage split girlfriends. The first from Rotherham was beautiful caring and independent. She offered love and mutual support as she too was going through the same thing as I. We had been together for 7 months when  I finished it. The cause was undoubtedly my Wife making friendly contact via text saying she wanted to see me again. This then happened and we spent Christmas 2016 together as a family. This left Ms Rotherham feeling wretched and hurt. I am not proud of how I treated this woman, I was open honest and refused to do the dirty on her, none of which lessened her pain or unhappiness over Christmas after i ended it in November. She is fine now (as we stay in touch infrequently by text) and is in a long term relationship with another man.

My second long term Girlfriend I met online too (after my Wife dumped me for the second time in February 2017 after the Christmas & New Year together. We both knew it was irretrievable but I still clung on in a desperate, pathetic and in my opinion dutiful Father/Husband roll. Wifey was more courageous than me in announcing the break up part 2. I then reverted to my tried and tested need for attention via Tinder and met several more women. I eventually met my Girlfriend who is very special, caring and a lovely woman. We're still together currently after a very good shared year with one another. The news however is my Wife has developed a new relationship recently with a good man. I could always accept her being with "her bit on the side" who she left me for 2 years ago, as he was married and was doing the dirty on his own wife. I stood on a platform of self-aggrandising reminding myself “I was morally right and blame free for their seedy relationship”. Since she met the decent man I find myself jealous and threatened. I have no wish to have her back but can’t help deep seated feelings for someone I’ve known and shared the most personal things with over the last 20 odd years. Its purely coincidental that my Girlfriend’s Husband (neither they nor us are divorced yet) announced yesterday that he is moving in to live with his girlfriend. He announced this by text message and she seemed physically shaken by the news although was trying very hard to not show it at the dinner table. I totally understood this and offered support and shared feelings.. It is a sequence of  unpleasent but inevitable events that don’t mean you’re in love with the estranged partner but are difficult personal hurdles which your feelings must get over regardless of how long parted you have been. My girlfriend & I are both very happy with each other and I hope to stay this way for the long term. I do get very guilty though that I feel jealous and frustrated that my Wife has now moved on. I don’t like this about myself but its part of being honest with how painful, slow and personal a marriage breakdown is.

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Hello Eliza,

Firstly thanks for the comment, I found large parts of what you wrote helpful.
The Tinder thing tho wasn’t just one night stands it was a craving of attention and tinder was the vehicle that offered that. I mentioned that I think im unusual in that regard but I did like meeting new people. It was a coping mechanism and a novelty in my new found freedom.
The reflection point is very perceptive, I did seem to career off down a path of immediate relationships allowing no time to mourn properly which I regret.
Hello. I read your post with interest and empathy. Some of what you wrote I find hard to relate to, some resonated very much with me.

The part I find quite alien is the going on Tinder etc. Don't get me wrong, I can absolutely imagine how one might seek one night stands etc as a way of letting off steam, relishing freedom, getting revenge and all sorts of other things. The part that is hard for me is the seeking of another long term relationship so soon after the end of what seems to have been a long marriage. (Long, and by the sounds of your first post, not very happy, with serial infidelity on her part.)

I know you are not alone: in researching my guide to separation I interviewed a great many people who sought to replace their exes with another. They feared loneliness (as you mentioned in your first post). I have never had this feeling. Which surprises me really, and I wonder whether part of my protesting that the thought of an intimate relationship makes me retch is the near certainty that in any case nobody would have me. Getting my defence in first, so to speak.

However, it strikes me nonetheless that a period of reflection before embarking on a new long term, excusive relationship with another (who will likely also be fairly vulnerable) is not a bad idea. You in two years have found time for two long term relationships, a period of reconciliation with your wife, and various short term liaisons.

And now you are mulling things over and realising that in some important respects you have not 'moved on' as much as you think. To me this suggests some unresolved issues. The fact that these are invading your consciousness I think is a good thing, unsettling though it may be. Of course, down the line, you may still be piqued by occasional feelings of nostalgia or regret, but this sounds like more than that.

Have you thought about having some therapy? I believe it would be good for you to have an opportunity to examine your thoughts and feelings in a safe environment with someone who can be wholly objective, and who is trained to help you untangle your feelings. This will likely pay dividends in your new relationship.

I have recently started having therapy some years post separation, because I wanted to understand my own part in my failed marriage, the reasons I married the man I did, the reasons I stayed married to him, and my feelings since. It's interesting and rewarding, and will I hope pay dividends with any relationships going forward, including with my friends and family. I still have no plans to go back into an exclusive relationship with another. First I have to be stronger alone.

Good luck.