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Oh sweet Jane…
I am so so sorry to hear all that you are going through. I’m not sure who could possibly have words to comfort you right now, as I’m afraid that there are going to be layers of your disappointment, anger, feelings of betrayal, all atop the grieving process. I am so sorry though. I cannot imagine how you must feel. I want you to do something though, woman to woman. I want you to never, ever email your husband’s “other women” back. They are looking for a reply from you, and they will only use it against you. Even bigger though, I want you to ask yourself what replying to or engaging these other women will offer you. I understand that you probably have a few choice words for them, I would too, but I want you to switch your focus on to what/who is the MOST important right now. That is you and your children. You are going to do yourself the biggest favor if you keep that focus. Simplify what you need to simplify. Cut the fat. The “fat” is those other women, thoughts of what else your husband has done/might be doing, feelings you hold against yourself such as “I was never good enough for him”. All of this is nasty fat that you must cut. Because, the truth is Jane: This has nothing to do with you. This is your husband’s problem. It is your husband’s problem that he has been such a coward that he could never be a man to you. It is your husband’s problem that he felt he had to seek out other people to satisfy him. He clearly lacks a relationship with himself, and therefore is consistently seeking outside sources of happiness. All of this is going to take time my sweet friend. If you do one thing, cherish yourself. Hug your own hurt, kiss your sweet hands for the labor of the past 24 years, and treat yourself to kindness and pampering for being an honest wife in the marriage. We each are here for different reasons. And every single one of us is fighting our own personal battles. But please please please don’t take this out on yourself. This is exactly what the “other women” and your husband want you to do, because it deflects from their own pitiful state. You are all you will ever need. Your children too. You already are perfect in every way exactly as you are. You will miss him Jane. You will miss so many things. And that is okay and human and normal. But, all we have in this lifetime at a 100% guarantee of love, support, and friendship is our very own self. Treat it kinder and with more love and sympathy than you ever have. Dress yourself up. Do what makes you feel beautiful. Nourish yourself with the best people, food, and comforts. The best revenge in the end, is living well. You will not change your husband, or his mind. Besides, do you even want to at this point? This is his own cross to bear, and chances are good that he won’t look deep enough into himself to find the deeper meaning of this poor behavior in this lifetime anyway. Don’t try to change him. Don’t try to fix him. Just leave him alone and focus on you. Cut the fat. Let the “other women” fight their own battles. They are no different or better than you. They will not have better outcomes with him than you did. Trust me. Trust the process. Trust yourself. Trust you already have everything you need. Cry. Punch pillows. Go buy a new outfit. Take it back. Laugh at your ridiculousness. You are one amazing woman. Don’t let strangers make you think differently. These woman should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. They are not real women. Real women live genuinely. You reach out to me anytime. You are going to get through this. Not over it, through it. Be patient. Reach out. Know that there are people that you’ve never even met that already love you. One of them is me.
Hi sweet Shubha,
I am so sorry to hear that life feels a bit unkind right now. I have been there, and it is so easy to let ourselves fall through the rabbit hole of unhappiness and low self esteem. It is difficult to give advice on the topics of marriage and self esteem without knowing personal value systems and beliefs. But one thing I have always heard from my dearest friends, and I would offer them the same advice, is don’t stay in any relationship that is not nurturing, respectful, and loving. I know that is easier said than done, and it takes a lot of thought and soul searching. I want you to know that there is an online journal website that you can use to have a diary. It is: penzu.com you can create a FREE online journal that is password protected! I have a penzu journal, because I type faster than I handwrite. I love it.
The most important things that I have learned on my journal toward better self esteem are following. Keep in mind that I identify myself as a codependent. If you haven’t heard much about codependence, you might research the topic to see if you identify with any of it. I learned that relied on other people for my happiness and my identity. And unfortunately, I relied on toxic people for these things therefore I became completely toxic inside. I had to let the toxic people go in my life, with time, and then had to start from square one with my own identity. I learned that no one can give us self esteem, self love, and self belief but ourselves. In order to gain this, I had to spend time alone with myself to figure out who I am, what was my value system, what did I like to do/hate to do, who did I want to surround myself with/who not, what makes me happy/depressed. I literally had to sit down and talk to myself. 🙂 Thing is, when you make the decision to be your own best friend, you become somewhat untouchable to the harsh criticisms of others. This is because you learn to believe that you are an amazingly lovable, loving, and loved human being. I agree with Buddhist Wife that it is always important to hear other’s “criticism”, but take what makes sense and what you can grow from and leave the rest on them. And if the criticism is an attack against your character, then all of it is nonsense and none of it is helpful. I have had to learn that some people are just not going to like me during this lifetime. And that’s okay because I love myself and believe I am following my true path. The second thing of importance is boundary setting. Ugh, I know. This one was/is hard for me. This is what is described as telling people they will not talk about you that way, they will not attack you in your own home. This is telling people that if they don’t have kindness to offer you, they can stay away then. We MUST protect ourselves. If we don’t protect ourselves, who will? We cannot rely on anybody to do that for us. We also cannot rely on anyone to stop spewing their venom onto us if we don’t tell them that it is unacceptable. Boundary setting is hard to do when we have let it go on so long. But it’s never too late to start. You are wise to think about bringing children into the world before you are in a place of happiness. I was born to parents who do not like each other, nor their marriage. I have needed some serious work to overcome that. Good on you for thinking seriously about this. Many people bring children into the world thinking it might change things or make the situation better once a cute, cuddly, baby comes along. It just doesn’t. Without rambling on, I will summarize. Learn yourself. Make the time for your hobbies, whether it means you wake up an hour earlier, you bring stuff on your work lunch break, or you commit to the hour before you go to bed. Commit to your happiness. Don’t let people push you around anymore. Tell them that this will not happen anymore, or you will move forward without them. Only say that if you mean it though. Otherwise, don’t absorb the comments and negativity. Chances are extremely high that these people have just as low if not lower self esteem and self love than you do. Therefore their only means of protection is reassuring themselves with delusions that other people are worse than they are. It’s their own crap. Let it stay on them. Depending on how you view a marriage, expect cooperation from your partner. If he doesn’t like your cooking, then he can cook his own dinner. If he can’t appreciate your work, then he can do it himself so it is to his liking. Sometimes we just need to hear from others that it doesn’t have to be this way, and that this isn’t normal. Trust your gut. Women are so lucky to have been gifted with an intuition. Use it! Okay, those are my pieces of wisdom and food for thought. Know that whatever you choose, I support you in. And I send you love, peace, and hope. xoxo
I am SO proud of you!! In a way of course that is woman to woman, that you have done one of the hardest things there is to do on this human journey–you thought about your own happiness and you rid yourself of what felt toxic. So many women never get there in their lifetime. As women, we are nurturers and in many ways are taught by society and longstanding learned behaviors that it is frowned upon to think of ourselves. Whenever you feel guilt and shame, talk to yourself. Ask yourself if others are shaming and guilting you for this decision or if this is a product of your own inside voices. In most cases, we are always hardest on ourselves. We also tend to ignore really big signs like feeling suicidal and miserable all the time. We can use those powerful indicators as motivators for change. After all, that is our gut and intuition talking to us. Listen. Matt, the first responder, is so wise, and he always has the right things to say. I adore him! Keep the unnecessary and negative feelings at bay by always checking in with yourself. Both you and your ex are now happier than you ever were in the previous position. Because each of you are happier, you have more attention and space to give to your daughter. What a wonderful gift. I was never given that by my parents, who are still unhappily married! 🙂 Remember to be your own best friend. Would you shame and guilt your best friend for ending a marriage to be happier? I’m assuming not. You are all you have in the end. Love fiercely, forgive freely, and stay in this moment. This moment is all we have. No past, no future. If you are in a good place now, your hard work has paid off. xoxo
I completely understand where you are coming from. Falling in love is so scary yet exciting, fun, and amazing. I first would encourage you not to suppress your feelings, but to try and experience them and enjoy them as they come. As we all know, that “butterflies and rainbows” type of new love doesn’t last forever, so enjoy!
On point to your question though: In order for anyone living in the human condition to love someone else in a healthy way, they must truly love themselves first. This may sound easy and cliché, but it is a struggle for most humans. Ask yourself-who is Kristen? What does Kristen love to do alone that makes her happy, fulfilled, and thankful for a relationship with her best person, herself? I ask this because I am on the same journey. I realized (after a long and painful ended engagement) that I was so out of touch with myself and had no life of my own. Due to this, I sought everything I needed to do for myself…in another person. And boy, this usually does not go well. Not to mention the pressure we are putting on our significant other by asking them to be our sole source of heart’s nourishment. So, without going on and on, look into yourself and make certain that YOU are your #1 relationship. If you feel that this is a struggle for you, one thing that has helped open my eyes is to read: “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie. If anything, this book might help you determine if you might tend to over-depend on others for happiness that only you can create in your life. Give it a shot, I got the book from my local library. Also, please know that there are support groups available to people who think they might be love addicts. This is a very real thing, and the first step toward recovery is admitting it. I bet that with a little Google searching, you can find either a face-to-face meeting or even a telephone meeting to listen in on. You can Google “SLAA”, sex and love addicts anonymous. I have done so, and I have found comfort in knowing that I am not alone and this is actually very common. No matter what you choose to pursue, know that I’m happy for you, proud you reached out, and wishing you happiness and an abundance of healthy love!
It sounds like you feel very trapped either way–staying in the marriage or getting out.– I want to offer you some tools to help you as you start to think about what is best for you. I happen to be a social worker, and have experience working around people with various mental health issues. I agree with Matt and Jaydee, that there is a serious element to your husband’s threats of suicide. But I just want you to think on a different side of it for a moment or two. Can you recall a time when you felt or perceived that your husband’s suicide threats were being done out of manipulation? Have you ever felt that he throws the “suicide card” out when he wants something his way or wants to make you feel guilty about something/some situation? I urge you to think about this, because while suicide is a very serious thing, there are many people who, while their thoughts can feel real, have learned it can be used as a powerful manipulation tool. I would encourage you to look up information on Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder to see if the symptoms makes any sense in your situation.
The truth is, you have no control, in any way, over his behaviors nor over him committing suicide. You have no control IN the marriage, and you have no control OUT of the marriage. I know how scary it can be, but you must release yourself from any responsibility over his behavior, because you are not in control of it. Period. He may have made comments about committing suicide if you leave him, but that sounds like a manipulation tactic. You can also start to look into boundary setting with him. For example, you might start to tell him that you take suicide very seriously and that you want him to know you will be calling 911 if any future threats or attempts come up. Or, just call 911 next time he makes a threat. This sends him and message that you are validating his feelings and taking his threat seriously, but it also sends a message that he better be serious about making such threats and not be using such a threat carelessly. You may also decide to set a boundary that when he gets angry, you are going to leave the house, and he can call you when he’s done having an episode of rage. These types of behaviors are only fueled when people stick around for them.
You have a lot to think about. I understand the religious worries, and the marital vows. I would support you either way, staying or leaving. But, if you stay, you must develop coping skills to keep yourself safe (first and foremost) and happy. And our partners are supposed to be our biggest fans of our safety and happiness. Do you feel that your husband wants nothing more than to know that your safety and happiness are intact? If not, there you go. You are #1 right now. It will be excruciating, but you will survive a divorce if that is what you choose. He will not change, not matter how much you push him, threaten him, etc… He will not change until he, and only he, is ready. In the meantime, find some support for yourself. Find a good therapist, pick up the book “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie, and start journaling or finding an outlet for all the volatile emotions that must come up depending on what mood your husband is in that day. Protect, Nurture, and Feed your soul, yourself. Give the situation up to God as you work through this. Educate yourself on what might be going on. When we are armed with knowledge, we can make more informed decisions. I hope this helps, and I will pray for your peace and safety in this process. Let me know if you have any questions.
Run. Run like you’ve never run before. You can not make him recover and you will drive yourself crazy trying to control him, no matter how many videos on addiction you have him watch or how much you tell him that it hurts you. I recently ended my engagement and moved my sex addicted fiancé out of my home. He would tell me lie after lie to try and keep my emotions at bay so he could continue to act out. It wasn’t until I found the plethora of avenues that he was involved in on the internet that I realized how out of control his addiction was. The addict is usually the last to realize there even is addiction. There are exceptions to the rule, people who can fight this and win without in/outpatient treatment, but they are rare. But, since in this case you have reached out on a forum, I cannot sugar coat this. Run. Or at least, educate educate educate yourself. Look into COSA, codependents of sex addicts. Find the website and either find a meeting near you, or find a telephone meeting to listen in on. It may sound more familiar than you want it to.
Wishing the best for you no matter what the resolve.
You are just out of a 7 year relationship. Your aura and energy field has been enmeshed with another person for a long time, and you are probably really feeling that void. Not only this, but I’m sure you love him despite what happened to end things. You and I are very alike, and so please know that this comes from my heart. It is great to get inspired by thinking about what you are going to do to reinvent your life without this person. Great job for taking this step. But I would encourage you to be very mindful about where the activity stops being something you are doing to reinvent, enjoy, and fulfill and becomes a series of empty things you are doing – to distract from the pain of a breakup-. This may be one reason why activities are growing old quickly. They are being done with an empty heart because there is not a lot of room for new things until the old things are processed and released. Do you need to take a couple weeks to just be down? Cry? Punch pillows? Do nothing? Part of reinventing ourselves is learning to trust that we are our own best company. But we can’t do that if we don’t respect and sometimes just sit with feeling that are less than desirable. Once we learn to honor ourselves, both the good and the bad, and let go of what you can from the past 7 years, you may find your heart will be more full and alive to then give to other activities. It is not easy. But we tend to go to a place of “emotion aversion” after such a loss, and it will not serve us. This is my favorite quote at the moment: “The problem can never be solved by the same level of awareness that created it.”
Thinking thoughts of love, kindness, and positive transformation for you…
I think forgiveness is such a hard concept. If you really sit down and think about “what is forgiveness” or “how have I forgiven people in the past”, can one really put an instruction sheet together on how it was done successfully? I haven’t been able to write instructions on it myself, and I have found that it is a continous process. I can feel one day that I have really forgiven a person or situation whereas the following day I then have some resentment of hurt creep up. It is ongoing.
In response to your question, I just have a concept for you to think about. In my opinion, forgiveness has so much to do with the act of letting go. Letting go of the emotions, the perceptions, the cause, and the effect of an offensive situation. When we are in the situation, in this case the relationship, perhaps he was unable to forgive you because he was not able to let go of everything attached to the situation that needed forgiveness. Now that he is out of the relationship and has had some breathing room, the space offered him some clarity as well as the natural process of detaching and letting go of the relationship and situations associated with it. It feels nearly impossible in the moment of offense to forgive. And I know it hurts so bad when it feels like one’s partner could not give fogiveness a chance while in the relationship in an effort to try and make the relationship work. The human process is exactly that, a process. If you are anything like me, I would encourage you to try not to be too hard on yourself and work to forgive yourself for any wrongs or need for improvement in your half of the relationship. Try to give the situation up to a higher power, whomever that is for you. It has a bigger plan for you.
Coming from a person who has also self-sabotaged my own attempts at therapy, one of the things I have to always ask myself is: “Am I really incapable of changing the less desirable things about me, or am I just sabotaging any chance at change because I don’t want to do the hard work or face that there are parts of me that are less than desirable?” This is something I encourage you to ask yourself. I know that I have been on both ends of a frustrating friendship. And one of my biggest frustrations is when I log so much time into a person who asks me for advice, or complains about their situation, but when I offer my advice or try to help-they don’t want to take it or say they are not strong enough to follow-through. Any relationship, in any form, is a series of give and take, compromise, cooperation, and mutual trust. I encourage you to think about whether you have offered this friend the same amount of energy that she has put into it. And vice versa. Friends come and go, and it is my personal belief that everyone comes into our lives for a reason. But everyone also reserves the right to leave a relationship when it no longer serves them. You are right in your intention to work on recovery. Until you feel whole, happy, and satisfied with yourself and your life, you may not even have much emotional space to offer to other people. I also work with clients who have various TBI’s. That is yet another level to your story and comes with an additional set of challenges. But that is all they are, is challenges. Nothing that cannot be overcome with good, hard work. On that note, think about challenging your current pattern of thought. What will it take to go from: I can’t change my shyness or nobody wants to be around me… to thoughts more like: are there tools I can learn to alleviate some of my shyness and what kind of person do I like to be around and what steps can I take to be more like that person? You got this, but you have to want to change. And you have to want a future, which is going to involve forgiving what you can from your past and not letting what has happened in the past keep you in a state of paralysis. My best to you, dear online friend.
Oh boy do I feel your pain. I, just three months ago, asked my fiancé to move out and I ended our relationship. I feel compelled to write to you, because while each person/relationship/situation is different, I can identify with many similar thoughts and feelings that you have. It sounds like you may spend a lot of time inside your head, as I do too.
The message I want to send to you is this: I had to hit my rock bottom emotionally with my ex-fiancé before I finally started to see the light, or the darkness (as it was many nights). One night it just came to me: I am picking men to have relationships with that are not all that right for me. I am picking men who are sometimes great, but have some marked differences than I do in many realms, (ie: drugs, politics, lifestyles, belief systems) and I have ALWAYS told myself to overlook those “small” things because I see potential in these men to be exactly what I want them to be in other areas. In my epiphany that night, I realized what a disservice I was doing to myself for not honoring my own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. I realized that I can no longer choose my relationships based on the potential of someone. Either exactly who they are has to make me blissful, or I have to set them free. When John left a few months ago, I was a broken pile of mush on the floor for awhile. But I started to really do some thinking about where I was responsible for the fights, discord, and ultimately the ending of the relationship. I must share B, that I stalked his internet usage, phone calls, and email the majority of our relationship which was a constant source of disharmony. I had no trust to offer him. My responsibility in this situation was my lack of trust, my insecurities, and my low self-esteem. At the root of these elements, was the fact that my intuition was nagging at me that something wasn’t right. In my case, I found exactly what I had been concerned about and unfortunately found that my ex is a sex addict. But back to my responsibility in this situation, I had finally become heart broken enough, devastated enough, compulsive enough, before: Enough was Enough. I realized I had to work on myself before I will be of any good to another person. And I have also decided I will never even have a second date with a person who does not appear at face value as my equal in the areas that I consider “non-negotiable”. No more relying on potential. And loving someone is no longer a valid enough reason to stay in relationship.
I also want to share with you a resource. I would encourage you to get online, when you are ready, and find a CODA meeting in your area. This stands for Co-Dependents Anonyomous and is like that of an AA meeting. But this meeting is focused on building self-esteem and self-honor in order for us to make better and healthier choices in who we have relationships with. Even if you are not comfortable attending a meeting, start by picking up “Co-Dependent No More” by Melody Beattie, just to see if you identify at all with what we Codependents struggle with. I have started my journey toward recovery and it has changed my life to know that I am not alone in my struggle.
-Something for you to think about regarding taking a break: Considering the current trust concerns, might a break create room for trust to completely disintegrate?
I urge you, woman to woman, to try as hard as you can to focus on yourself and your needs at this time. What is going to make B. a happier, healthier woman? What hobbies does B. like to do? The more we develop our sense of self in or out of relationships, the better equipped we are. If you can find something you like to do in your free time, then the time he spends at work or away from you can be filled with hobbies that make you happy and keep your soul nurtured. You got this B., I completely believe in you. In the meantime, cry cry cry. Sit with the sadness and the emptiness because it is not your enemy, it is your guide if you let it be. Take small, manageable steps toward finding you, and let the universe do the rest. And remember my favorite quote by Einstein: “The problem can never be solved by the same level of awareness that created it.”
I’ll be thinking about you and sending good thoughts and energies your way. Hang in there.
I can understand a lot of what you are going through, as I have been there. There is nothing one can say that can take away from your feelings of grief and loss of your loved ones. But try saying a mantra every morning when you wake up. Find one that makes sense to you. We must remind ourselves everyday that there is a higher power involved. I like to remind myself of one of Einstein’s quotes: “The problem can never be solved by the same level of awareness that created it.” I also wake up every morning and say a mantra about forgiveness toward those that have wronged me. It does not excuse what they have done, but instead allows me to let go. My mantra for that is: Dear ____, I forgive you for not being the person I wanted you to be. I accept what was my experience, and I release you to the universe with love.” Christina, we must have discipline in allowing ourselves to free the demons inside. I also highly encourage you to look into a local CODA meeting in your area. CODA stands for Co-dependents Anonymous. It is like Alcoholics Anonymous, but for those of us who don’t have healthy patterns around relationships. It has saved my life. After almost marrying a sex addict and alcoholic, I realized like you have that I felt I couldn’t go on and was picking terrible people to be in relationships with. In attending CODA meetings, I have found people like me who have suffered from many of the same things that I have and it gives you tools to create healthier relationship patterns.
It is very easy for us to get into a rut where we sit more with the victimization than actually doing something to start healing from it. This is a big choice to make to change, when for most of our lives all we have known is being the victim. We have to learn to identify ourselves as more than that, but it is not easy. I wish the best for you, and hope I have offered you some tools to at least get started. Remember, we will only grow and prosper as much as we let ourselves. Stop giving the bad people the power to disintegrate your life. You are only doing exactly what makes them happy. It’s time for you now. Bless you.