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Trying to Cope with Recent Separation

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This topic contains 41 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Brandy 11 hours, 50 minutes ago.

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  • #279819

    Brandy
    Participant

    Hi Elizabeth,

    This is a terrible thing to have to go through. I wish you weren’t going through it.

    Your take on things is that your husband’s inability to deal with difficult situations, as evidenced 10 years ago when he was 20 years old and turned to drugs and alcohol for a period of time after his brother’s death, is the reason he’s now decided, at age 30, to leave you for another woman.

    He told you that he misses you, that you’re his best friend, but that he loves her. Understandably, this is extremely difficult for you to understand let alone accept and is causing you an extraordinary amount of pain. The betrayal, the disappointment — it’s outrageous and must be totally overwhelming for you. My heart goes out to you. In the midst of all of the confusion and heartbreak, please don’t make the mistake of assuming that you know what’s going on with him better than he does. He’s a 30 year old man who’s made a decision very early in his marriage to leave his wife to be with another woman and he’s totally unwilling to fix the marriage.

    If I were in your shoes I’d probably try to make sense of all that doesn’t make sense about this and draw conclusions that make me feel better, that give me hope, so I really understand how you would connect what happened ten years ago to this situation.

    If your conclusion is correct, it still doesn’t bode well that the stresses he was/is experiencing are so great so as to push him into the arms of another woman after less than one year of marriage. Many marriages survive a lifetime of very difficult stresses like terminal illnesses and death of family members, severe financial crises, kids with special needs or drug problems, etc., in spite of the temptation of another woman/man waiting with arms wide open to numb the pain. It takes a strong character to walk away from that; your husband chose not to walk away. Sure, many marriages survive affairs, but his affair is ongoing with no end in sight.

    My take is that you are fortunate to have this happen before kids are involved, if kids were in your future. I know it’s difficult and totally unfair. I know you’ve invested a lot of years in this relationship with this man. My advice is to cut your losses now and start to accept that this man isn’t who you thought he was.

    B

    #279837

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Elizabeth:

    Before reading your recent post, after reading Brandy’s excellent post,  I decided to re-read your earlier posts with a different attitude, an empathetic attitude toward your now estranged husband. I figured I probably missed something once I judged him negatively and therefore closed the door on further insight.

    This is what I understand following re-reading with this new attitude: the move east, being physically close to his parents and other family members, was a bad choice for his emotional health and for his relationship with you.

    Away from his parents, in Utah and Colorado,  he was “an incredibly caring, thoughtful, kind, giving person… he doted on me and it was so clear that he genuinely loved me”.

    Let’s look at the talk you had with him Nov last year: “told me that he was incredibly unhappy. That he’s been unhappy for years, that he hates owning a business, that he’s not sure he wants to live in the town we’re in… he had no  idea what he was doing… he’d had some really dark thoughts”.

    It often happens that when an adult child returns to his childhood home or close to his parents, that old conflicts and old distress gets reactivated. I think that this is what happened to him. “we had a great life (especially prior to the business opening)”- but it is not just the business opening that happened, he was also in close contact with his parents who helped him financially, you shared.

    When he left you, he also distanced himself from his parents: “His parents are devastated… he has stopped hanging out with all”.

    He told you Nov that he has been unhappy for years, that is before the starting of the business, before he met you. I don’t think it is only the death of his brother that was his problem but his relationship with his parents before his brother’s accident and death.

    *  If while living with him back east, near his parents, if you supported his business endeavor and befriended his parents and his cousin/ family, and because of that he saw you and his parents/family as a unit, it is possible that in his mind it became not only his parents/cousin vs him, it was his parents/cousin/wife vs him. In other words, his old distress regarding physical closeness with his family enveloped you in it.

    Distressed for a long time back east, near his family, financially entangled with family, spending too much time with them, he indeed “gave up the second a shiny new object (his 24 year old employee) came onto him”, like you wrote. His solution to his distress was to stop spending time with his parents and family and most of his friends, and having a new focus: “he’s spending all of his time with his new girlfriend”.

    I think that Utah and Colorado were places for him where he could relax, put distance between his troubles back east and himself. Back east, presently, it is his new relationship that gives him that distance. His new relationship is his get-away.

    What do you think?

    anita

     
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    #279843

    Elizabeth
    Participant

    @valora,

    Yeah, I know you’re right. It’s a shame that he’s doing what he’s doing and I know in my head that I need to take this time to focus on myself…easier said than done, you know? I have some days I really feel like I’m doing well, keeping my mind off him, not trying to constantly make sense of things, and actually find joy in some of the activities/interactions I’m having. Then there are those bad days, those take a toll on me and tend to knock me back pretty far. Regardless, I know I’ve come a ways from where I was when this all started, but those hard days…they’re tough.

    @mark,

    Thanks for clarifying, that makes a lot more sense. I guess I didn’t consider moving forward with things as forcing him to accept this as reality, too. I know I need to take that next step to get the ball rolling, it’s incredibly hard for me. As I mentioned above, in my head, it’s pretty clear most of the time, but my emotions through this certainly get the best or me more often than I’d like to admit and prevent me from taking the steps I need to be taking.

    @brandy,

    Thanks for your response. It is tough and I’m trying to make sense of it all. I think trying to make sense of it is part of what is holding me back. I’m a relatively analytical person and I have a tendency to over analyze every situation…no matter what part of my life. I always want to be able to find a reason for why something happened and I need to remember that I can’t read someone else’s mind nor am I ever going to know more of what they’re thinking than they are. I still don’t think he’s a bad person, I think he’s bad at dealing with things when they get hard. That’s a huge flaw, don’t get me wrong, but I do think that if he puts the time in to deal with his problems, that he could be the person that I know him to be. That being said, he’s the only one who can make that decision. If I sit around and wait for him to do something he may or may not do – I’m wasting my life. Only time will tell what happens in the end of this all, I know that I’ll always love him in some way. I really, truly think he’s a good man, but one who doesn’t know how to deal with his problems and when the going gets tough, he runs or numbs or whatever to not deal with his internal issues.

    @anita,

    You may be right. I do think he has a pretty good relationship with his parents – I’ve never felt that it was too strained for him. I’ve been close with his parents and his family for a long time, but we physically have seen them more since moving back east, of course. I do know that he has always talked to his parents with some kind of filter – to this day, I don’t think they know how deep of a hole he was in after his brother passed away. I do think he’s using his new girlfriend as a buffer, a way to distance himself from his past life. Whether that’s his family, himself, whatever – I do think that she’s a “getaway” of sorts for him. I think this experience has opened my eyes that he still has lot of growing up to do and I don’t think he wants to do that. I think he still has this wanderlust and desire to have some kind of impermanence. I do think all of the very permanent things that happened in his life (really our life) is what threw him for a loop. At the end of the day, I understand that no matter how much I psychoanalyze him, it’s not going to get me anywhere. As I mentioned above, it’s just incredibly hard for me to get my head and my heart on the same page to do what’s best for me. I like to think I’m making some progress, but going back to being my own biggest critic – I feel like I should be further along than I am…

    #279845

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Elizabeth:

    Analyzing him more would be of benefit if there was a reasonable chance of resurrecting your relationship with him. But his move away from you looks quite permanent to me. The beginning of that permanence as I see it is that he sat with his girlfriend in public view holding her hand that day you witnessed it. The continuation of that permanence is that after you confronted him right there and then, outside the bar, he didn’t follow you, didn’t answer your calls and instead told you that he didn’t love you and that he loved her.

    “I think he still has this wanderlust and desire to have some kind of impermanence. I do think all of the very permanent things that happened in his life (really our life) is what threw him for a loop”-

    -maybe the two of you have a problem with things being permanent. On your part you are not accepting his move out and away from you to be permanent.

    No one can tell the future, of course. We have to deal with probabilities. Like I wrote, his move away from you reads probably permanent.

    anita

    #279905

    Elizabeth
    Participant

    This reply has been reported for inappropriate content.

    @anita,

    I respect your opinion, but just as much as I can’t know what’s going on in his head, I don’t know that you can either. Clearly, you don’t have a dog in this fight, since you don’t know either one of us – so it’s not benefiting you to try to build me up or knock me down. I fully understand you’re communicating what you think.

    I also resent that you say that the two of us have a problem with things being permanent. This is one event (albeit a HUGE event) that has happened in my life and to insinuate that I  have a problem with permanence because of my unwillingness to let go of a relationship that made up 1/4 of my life after 4 months seems a bit hasty to me.

    I understand I need to manage my expectations and it would benefit me to “prepare for the worst.” This is something I’m working on and is a work in progress. If you’re right, then I suppose I am delusional to think that there’s still a fighting chance that he comes to the realization he’s made a mistake. Again, I appreciate your input and your opinion, I agree that I need to worry about and work on myself, but I’m not at a point yet to truly accept that our relationship has no way of rectifying itself. I don’t feel that being pushed to accept that before I’m ready is going to help me along. Then again, I’m not a therapist, I’ve never been in this situation before, and maybe you know something that I don’t about healing after an event like this.

    #279911

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Elizabeth:

    My intent was to bring up possibilities to you, possibilities for you to consider. It would be wonderful if your relationship with him could be resurrected and made better than ever, maybe going back  west. My best wishes to you. Perhaps other members’ input will feel and be better for you.

    anita

    #279913

    Valora
    Participant

    Hi Elizabeth!

    I read a blog the other day that I thought was really good. When someone was asked whether they thought their ex would come back or not, they simply replied “Live like you’re expecting them not to.”  I think it’s always good to have hope and there is also literally NO LEGITIMATE WAY to know what the future will hold. He may realize in a few months once the honeymoon wears off that he made a HUGE mistake and was being guided by his inner turmoil rather than by what he would want otherwise. He may not come back at all. There’s no way to say for sure, so I like that line of thinking… that it’s best to move on like you don’t expect to get back together but that it’s okay to not lose hope, just the same, especially if your intuition is telling you to keep hope or if you’re not at that point where you feel ready to let go of it. I feel like sometimes when we try to push ourselves for something we’re not ready to do yet, it can bring on some cognitive dissonance, and that can practically cause as much suffering as the initial betrayal did.

    P.S. I think I accidentally hit “report” when I was trying to hit “reply” to your post. My screen jumped around right when I did it, so in case it gets taken down, I apologize for that. I definitely didn’t mean to click on that. They should put that link on the opposite side or something so it isn’t right next to the “reply” link.

    #279939

    Brandy
    Participant

    Hi Elizabeth,

    You are welcome. I know you’re struggling, trying to sort things out. In your original post I noticed a few things that I wanted to bring to your attention if you’re interested. The Tiny Buddha member Inky once posted “Sometimes we need to teach others how to treat us”, or something like that anyway, and I’m wondering if your husband never really learned how to properly treat his wife.

    1. Before this all went down, on your way home from work you called your husband asking him what he wanted for dinner and you wrote “He told me he was having a beer with this female employee (which wasn’t rare)” and that he’d meet you at home afterwards to decide on dinner. I consider myself a pretty easy-going, laid back, trusting and cool wife but my husband knows that if he wants to have a beer with a female co-worker he’d better see to it that it’s not just the two of them drinking alone in that bar. Why was his meeting her alone for a drink okay with him and you? The right thing for him to do would be to invite his wife to have a beer with them, or at the very least make sure another employee (his cousin?) is there with them. I realize this woman was your friend and that you trusted her and your husband, but it’s still not okay for a married man to go to a bar alone with a woman who isn’t his wife, no matter how hip, cool and laid back his wife is. A married man who respects his wife should already know this.

    2. You abruptly leave the scene after catching the two of them alone in a bar holding hands, then you call him repeatedly until he finally picks up his phone. This man disrespects YOU by holding another woman’s hand in clear view, and based on your reaction he knows you’re now terribly upset. You’re the devastated one, the one who’s been blindsided, the one who’s hurting, the wounded one. In spite of his issue navigating difficult situations, why would he not immediately make sure you’re okay? Shouldn’t that be his first thought….is my wife okay? Did he not think about your safety, like perhaps it’s not a good idea for you to get behind the wheel after you’ve seen what you just saw?  But he lets you go, and he doesn’t even call to make sure you got home safely in the shocked and emotional state you’re in. So you make the decision to call him repeatedly until he finally decides to pick up his phone to talk with you. Why would you call him? Why did you not wait for him do the right thing and contact you?

    3. Your husband and this woman assure you that, from that point on, their “relationship” will be strictly professional, and you believed them. Why did your husband not insist that she immediately find a job elsewhere? Why did you not insist that she immediately find a job elsewhere? 

    If you were my own daughter these are the very same questions I’d ask you. I’m trying to be mindful that what I ask/share here may hurt you more than you are already hurting, and I don’t want to do that. Anyone reading your posts can see that you are obviously a very intelligent person. While you’re processing this terribly traumatic event, fight hard to not to let your good judgment get blurred by your pain.

    B

    #279943

    claudia
    Participant

    Hi Elizabeth: I’m sorry you are going through this. My question is…why aren’t you angry? I know Buddha says angry is….etc. etc. but sometimes anger is a good tool to make you reassess a situation, and change your actions. I believe that while he knows you are sitting there pining for him he will not be concerned about his choices and decisions. He’s with her…and he’s got you there waiting for him to come to his senses. I believe you will feel better if you stop being available and waiting for him. Just cut him off and let him go on with this “employee” who he was most likely having an affair with for quite a time before you found out. Most likely it won’t be quite so much fun when the blush has worn off and the person that he married and has a long history with is not only moving on…but doing well. Everyone says take up a new hobby, etc. but when you are depressed doing something new is the last thing you want to do in my experience. I really hope you look in the mirror and realize that you have been mistreated, I don’t really care what he’s going through because he didn’t care enough to tell you at the time. I hope you realize that you are a young woman with a lot to offer someone else. Break-ups are heart breaking but in my experience the heart will mend and one day you will look back and think, “why did I put up with that?”

    You’ve got this.

     

    #279985

    Elizabeth
    Participant

    @brandy,

    You’re totally right in most everything  you said. My husband treated me incredibly well for a long time, that’s why I chose to marry him. That being said, once this relationship with his employee started (even their “friendship”), it’s like everything went out the window, I guess. He used to be incredible to me, I know that’s what I miss so  much about him. Not only the way he treated me, but just who he was as a person (or who I thought he was/who he used to be). To respond to your comments:

    1. You’re totally right. I looked at it as him having a drink with a friend, nothing else. If I could go back and change it, I would. We’d all gone out and gotten drinks, hung out, etc. before…but I should have set boundaries and he should have respected me enough that I should have never had to ask him to do that. He should have just known that it wasn’t appropriate as a married man.

    2. The way that he responded after all this was devastating to me. I pretty much knew he was going to leave me when that was how he responded. Supposedly, she freaked out when that happened and started saying she was going to move out of the country, blah blah blah and he decided to comfort her instead of me. It was incredibly disrespectful. I shouldn’t have called him,  you’re right. I should have locked him out of the house and forced him to think about what he did…but I didn’t.

    3. I don’t know why I didn’t. I foolishly believed the both of them when they told me what they did. In hindsight, I would have handled everything differently than I did. It’s too late to change it all now, I regret it every second of every day.

    I’m sure my judgement is getting blurred by my pain. I know that it is, but I don’t know what to do with it. I hurt all the time, every day. I regret not treating him better in our relationship/marriage, I regret the way I reacted when all of this began, I regret so many things. I know that he was/is in the wrong and he disrespected me to the deepest level he could, but I still love him and I miss him. I know I need to move on, I tell myself that all the time, but I just can’t. Maybe I’m weak, maybe I’m naive, I don’t know.

    @claudia,

    I don’t know why I’m not angry. I mean, I am angry that this has happened. But to be honest, I get more angry at myself than anyone else. Well, and angry at this girl that I thought was my friend. I know I should be angry with him…I guess part of me thinks, if he was so unhappy, then I should let him go so that he can truly be happy. As much as he is wronged me, that’s what I want for him, I guess even if it’s at my expense.

    I don’t know if he knows that I’m here waiting for him. He and I haven’t spoken in 2 1/2 months. I have no idea what he knows about what I’m feeling, doing, etc. That being said – he KNOWS me. So, I don’t know. I have cut him off completely. Though he claims that nothing happened between him and his employee until after he left me, I don’t believe that. We have mutual friends (men and women) that also think they had something going on before he left, as well. Of course, I have no hard evidence, but if I think it and everyone else does…there’s probably some truth to that.

    I know that I’ve been mistreated. I just have a very hard time not feeling like maybe I deserved this. It’s hard to communicate what I’m feeling because it changes every minute, hour, day. Today’s not a particularly good day – which can probably be deduced by my tone in all this.

    Anyway, I appreciate your insight. Hoping I can get through this, but sometimes I don’t know if I really care.

    #280005

    claudia
    Participant

    Hi Elizabeth: I read your response and most of the others who have responded to you. Something stuck out in my mind which I had not appreciated before. Somewhere you say you wish you had treated him better which puts a new focus on the problem for me along with the fact that he said you were negative and nobody wanted to be around you. From this, I am guessing that he was possibly a mild mannered man, a soft man, what some may call a “weak man”. It sounds like you were under pressure at work and financially carrying the burden. I am wondering if you did not respect him at the time and were consumed by your own unhappiness and took it out on him. If this is the case (and if I am misreading this I am sorry), it’s likely that he confided in the employee/friend and it grew from there. This may have happened in years to come, so on some level you have had a chance to re-evaluate and grow. From everything I’ve read it would appear that he has moved on, even to the point of getting an apartment in the same building which has probably developed into practically living together. I think that on some level this could be a lesson for you in your interpersonal relationships – maybe he wasn’t strong enough for your personality? You sound like you are an achiever who gets things done, a strong woman. Maybe you need a strong man, one that isn’t afraid to take you on and disagree and set boundaries. The fact that he didn’t tell you that he thought you were negative etc. etc. until his secret came out leads me to believe that he didn’t have the courage to sit you down way before that and express his feelings, because he didn’t have the ability to confront you. Oftentimes “weak” men are attracted to strong women (like their mothers) and reenact their own parents’ relationships with a downtrodden man and overbearing/controlling woman. I believe it’s a hard pattern to break. I could be overstepping the line here, and am just guessing from the little I know about your situation.

    I wish you well going forward, and from someone who has had her heart broken…I can tell you that you can love again, just differently. We are all growing and changing and you spent all of your young adult life with him, there are many chapters to be written. “Everything’s will be okay, if it’s not okay, it’s not the end”. John Lennon

    #280007

    claudia
    Participant

    Correction! “Everything will be okay in the end, if it’s not okay, it’s not the end”.  John Lennon

    #280011

    Elizabeth
    Participant

    Claudia,

    I can certainly see how you would get to that idea with what’s been written, but I definitely don’t consider myself controlling. I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who would use that word to describe me. He is more charismatic, social person than I am (or it comes more naturally to him than me). Not to say that I’m not social, but for him it’s second nature. He and I are unbelievably similar. We share the same interests, we both struggle to communicate at times, we’re both stubborn, we come from similar upbringings – I’ve truly never met someone who is so unbelievably in sync with me.

    When I say I wish I’d treated him better, I don’t think I treated him badly. I was trusting, supportive, kind. I don’t know where or what I can pinpoint in how I would have treated him better – but if this is what happened, I have to imagine that at some point I wasn’t giving him what he needed or wanted. I really don’t think I took my work stress “out on him,” I do think I talked far too much about work. I do think my stress and unhappiness in my job affected my ability to be carefree and fun at times…but I was never mean or cold or used hurtful words. That’s not who I am. I think loving him was so easy, maybe I got complacent and I wasn’t showing him that I loved him enough.

    I don’t know what the future brings…again, right now I’m not sure I care. I’ve definitely been using poor judgement and making reckless decisions, but I don’t really see what difference it makes at this point. I can only feel that I ruined the best thing that I had in my life, I don’t know how, but I must deserve this.

    #280017

    Brandy
    Participant

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Many years ago my husband’s close friend (I’ll call him C) got married and within two years his wife left him for another man. C stayed with us while he was finding another place to live and the three of us talked a lot about what was happening and how he was feeling. He wasn’t angry with his wife because he blamed himself for all that had happened. C’s a good guy with a strong character. When he’s in a committed relationship he’s really committed meaning he won’t even look at another woman. He’s spiritual, ambitious, always tries to do the right thing, but in his 20’s he wasn’t a great husband in those two years of marriage. His career came first, he worked long hours, never helped around the house, wasn’t very romantic, and could be self-centered at times, but it wasn’t until he was blindsided by her decision to leave him that he realized all these things about himself. He had so many regrets, vowed to change and to fix his marriage, but she didn’t want that. She was happy with this other guy. She had her own issues too by the way. She was on the needy, clingy, and insecure side and needed a lot of assurance from him that he loved her.

    I remember he’d say “She’s the only woman I want. Do you think she’ll change her mind and come back to me?” and I can remember thinking wait, she’s married to you but sleeping with someone else…how is that okay? But to him it was okay because in his mind he was the guilty one, the one who deserved all the blame.

    No marriage is perfect. People have issues and make mistakes, especially in the first years of marriage. I look back at some of the selfish decisions I made early on in my marriage and know I’ve come a long way since then. It’s about learning how to look at every decision from both perspectives, not just your own, but it takes time to learn that. So anyway I think in many cases it comes down to how strongly the two people involved view the institution of marriage. For C divorce wasn’t an option so he wanted to work real hard to fix the marriage. His wife didn’t feel the same way, so he was forced to move on.

    So they divorced and C took with him all he’d learned about himself and how to be a better partner, experienced a period of deep sadness and regret, and then met someone else. And then guess what…C’s ex wife contacted him, wanted him back, but it was too late for C. He was with someone who was less needy, more self-confident, and he really like that.

    Hang in there, Elizabeth.

    B

    #280055

    Elizabeth
    Participant

    Thanks for sharing, Brandy. I know other people are going through or have gone through the same thing I am. It’s such a shame, sounds like your friend may be better in the long run. Perhaps that will be me down the road, time will tell.

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