Recovering Your Life After A Divorce

Like any life process, divorce has a beginning and an end. The end of the divorce process generally involves learning from the past, taking a forward-looking, present-centered stance, adapting to one's changed circumstances, and doing what one can to reinvent and reconstitute one's life.

Learn from experience (so as to not repeat mistakes)

Setback that it is, divorce offers people a valuable opportunity to reflect on and learn from the mistakes they have made so as to minimize the chances that they will make those same mistakes again. The divorce rate for second marriages is higher than that for first marriages. Many experts believe this is because a majority of divorcees leap into hasty ill-conceived second marriages out of loneliness rather than carefully planning them for success. It is wise to do one's homework before getting involved again to maximize one's chances of success.

People tend to be predictable, and are prone to repeating the same life mistakes again and again. Becoming conscious about the types of mistaken decisions one is likely to make (based on having made them in the past) is the best defense against making similar mistakes in the future. If, for instance, a first spouse was attractive because of his passionate and volatile attitude, but he later turned out to be abusive, it would likely be a mistake to get involved with a similarly passionate and volatile man in the future. If a first wife, chosen in part because of her careful attention to appearance, turned out to be an out of control shopper in part to support her attention to appearance, it would seem to be a mistake to get involved with similarly 'high maintenance' women in the future.

Become conscious of past mistakes by laying them out and reviewing them. Either alone (via journaling), or with the assistance of a trusted friend, family member or therapist, talk or write out the history of the marriage, from beginning to end. It may help this task along to construct a detailed time line laying out key events, disagreements and fights that occurred. Work to identify and concisely describe the big points of conflict where compromise proved elusive or impossible. Try to figure out where your personality and values clashed with those of your spouse and where they were in harmony. Knowing this information will help you to figure out what qualities you will want in a future relationship and what qualities you will want to avoid.

With history in hand, make a list of the partner attributes your experience leads you to believe will make for a quality and lasting relationship, and then prioritize that list so as to focus in on those that are most important. If maintaining a balanced household budget is important to you, but wasn't to your ex-spouse, and this clash was a contributing factor to your divorce, you will probably want to make sure early on that any future partner shares your enthusiasm for budgeting. Use this list as a guide as you re-enter the dating world.

Let Go, Forgive, Embrace Change

Having learned from past experience, the next challenge divorced people face is that of placing their divorce in the past and deciding to move forward with life. Like it or not, life has chapters. Divorce is the end of one important chapter, and potentially the beginning of another. However, the new chapter can only start when divorcees reach a point where they are ready to 'turn the page' and explore what their new life can become. Divorce can thus trigger profound personal growth, new experiences and new attachments, or, alternatively, stagnation. It is also possible for both of these outcomes to be present at the same time.

Whether someone flowers or stagnates emotionally post-divorce will depend on many factors, including the resiliency of their personality and mindset, the health of their support systems, and on whether they are successfully able to resolve ties that bind them in unhealthy ways to the now-defunct marriage. Unresolved feelings of guilt and anger can become traps, as can feelings of victimization and resentment towards the ex-spouse. People sometimes feel that they can't let go of the past until 'justice' has been done. The thing is, however, that the world is a messy, often unfair place, and obtaining justice is sometimes more trouble than it is worth. It is sometimes more practical to let go rather than to remain embroiled. Working (via therapy, friends, journaling, etc.) to put the past relationship in perspective, forgiving mistakes and wrongs, accepting the finality of divorce, and just plain deciding to move on can help people to let go. Also, forcing one's self to participate in events, outings and clubs can help break the grip of the past by forcing attention into the present moment. In the final analysis, "living well" may be good revenge, but an even better outcome is to reach a place where revenge is not desired because one has moved on.

Reinvent your life

Moving on generally begins in fits and starts early in the divorce, in between episodes of grief or other crisis-related emotion and tends to reach full flower only as the divorce process winds down. Its occurrence is a sign that healing and resolution are occurring, and its absence is a sign that grief and related emotions continue. Moving on involves becoming open to new experiences, new relationships, and new ways of thinking about one's self. The process is inherently proactive, rather than reactive; it involves becoming willing to actively explore options rather than to passively react. While it isn't necessarily a good idea to attempt to force one's self to move on (at least in the first year), there are ways to cultivate its occurrence.

  • Think positively. Being able to move on with life is easiest to accomplish when one is hopeful, positive, forward-looking and present-centered, rather than stuck ruminating about the past. Negative, depressive or pessimistic attitudes get in the way of moving on because they are closed and do not motivate new approaches to life. Positive thinking comes easier for some people than for others, but anyone can learn to be more positive in outlook if they want to and are willing to practice. Getting treatment for underlying depressive or anxious problems sets the stage for positive thinking. Hanging around positive-thinking people, watching how they do it, and modeling one's own behavior after theirs is the best way to pick up the habit. Psychotherapy, support groups and supportive friends can help the process along by providing support and encouragement, and opportunities for practice. It's not necessary to become a perfect positive thinker in order to benefit. What are required are only a sincere desire, and a willingness to practice.
  • Put remembrances away. Some people, places and things will cause one to remember the past marriage and keep things focused on the past. To the extent it is possible, it is a good idea to put such things away so that they don't automatically trigger old memories. When people places and things cannot be avoided, it sometimes is helpful to force one's self to create new memories around those people places and things so that new more positive memories comes to mind when those people places and things are encountered.
  • Try out new things. Moving on with life is also facilitated by getting out and trying new things. Exploring interests, old and new, pulls one's attention into the here and now, creates opportunities for creativity, meaningful social interaction and new relationships, and can even promote personal growth. The more one does, the more their identity as a single divorced person coalesces, and the more the previous marriage can recede into the past. There are as many possibilities for things to try out, but a short list of things to consider doing might include:
    • looking for a new job
    • redecorating one's living space
    • returning to school for classes, or even a degree program
    • exploring new hobbies and social or service clubs
    • changing wardrobes, or getting a makeover
    • beginning to date
    • finding ways to help others through similar life crises.
Comments
  • Karen

    I read all your things you had to say and I really am glad you have a web site for us people that need encourgement. My husband cheated on me and the entire time I never knew it until caught on tape. Then he countinue to say I was imageing thing things. He continued to say he was not and that he loved only me. well, I busted him a week later at her house and the pain won't go away. The divorce is working now but all the memories and lies are still there. I cry all the time and My Doctor said I need to see a professional, my insurance dose not cover this. I need more help in reading material to get me thru this. can you supply it? Karen

  • John Doss

    I enjoyed reading the helpguide very much. I am in the beginning stage of my divorce, wife says too much damage done between us, lawyers have been retained, communication between us is over. At times it hurts so much it seems unbarrable but I get through it. My wife was my best friend and I loved her dearly. I never saw the divorce coming, maybe thats what hurts the most. Even with the support of my family I feel very lonely. John

  • Liesbeth D.

    I've book marked this site. I also do not have insurance for counseling and so reading this material is very help ful. I've been "divorced" nearly 5 years (but my 2 children's father visits a few times per year) I left when I was pregnant with my 2nd child. I was a professional person, working abroad, without a support network. I harbor so much resentment about the emotional and sometimes physical abuse I suffered, and subsequently dosed out. Unless you've been there, you can't know. I am only slowly moving forward, mourning not just the lack of partner good, but bad. As an only child to a single mother, I didn't want that for my children. I wanted role models and lots of friends.Sigh. I've barely made it back into the work force, forget hostessing dinner parties. I'm trapped financially and see myself as someone to be avoided.

  • Reyan

    Even though I've been divorced now for 4 years (no kids with x), it's taken me two relationships since then to start to find some peace within myself. I didn't happen through those 2 boyfriends it only began to happen once I looked within myself and found the courage to start again, to learn about "me" and what I'm made of. Have I been lonely? Yes. Distraught? Very. Have I emerged from those 4 years a different person? Absolutely. Perhaps more evolved is a better way of stating it. I had to examine "me" and realize that with all of my marital hang-ups (was a workaholic, gained weight, grew apart post-divorce I'm super slim, still young, great job, retirment, house, etc. etc.), I was a good person and held up more than my fair share of the marriage responsibility. Am I bitter? I was, but not anymore. Life is a journey we take only once. Some of us are lucky enoiugh to have a clear path along the way others, like me, are taking detours. While I wish I were happily in a permanent, genuine and committed, it will only happen when I am evolved enough to allow it to simply happen. In the meantime, I'm not going to worry too much about any of it. My therapist said it best: "what is ours by devine right can never be taken from us." It may take some time for it to come to us, but once it does if it is meant for us by devine right, then we shall have it. Peace and best wishes to you all.

  • Robert

    As a therapist I find that most problems with relationships are due to one's lack of Self-Esteem. I recommend the book by Nathanial Branden "SIX PILLERS OF SELF-ESTEEM." The book gives one the needed principal one needs to do the "process" to gain self-esteem. It takes work but well woth the effort. It lasts for life---self- esteem that is!

  • feel helpless

    I have been seperated for over 1 1/2 years. We just couldn't get along.The emotional abuse was too much. I had enough of the alcohol too. He has threatened to take custody of our kids and his girlfriend ( who he lives with )has worked her way into my kids hearts. She has taken over my role. And yes I am bitter, sad, hurt, depressed, scared.....I don't sleep either. I know it takes 2 but I feel like everything is my fault. I just started my son on medicine for ADD and I didn't ask my X-to be. So he is taking me to court for custody. My kids are my whole life. After 24 years of marriage, I feel like I have lost my whole life. Why does he feel like he needs to take the only thing that matters. (he hid everything so I ended up with nothing) Why, and how do I handle it?

  • Karen

    Although I've been legally divorced for one month, my marriage of 16 years has been disintegrating over a period of about 10 years. Because we have two children, and moved to Europe to live in my husband's country (Netherlands), we were strongly motivated by our circumstances to stay together. After 8 years in Holland, (he moved to Germany 14 months ago and I stayed) I decided, after a long, tormenting process, to move back to the US. We used a mediator and agreed on every point in our divorce. I know I'm fortunate to have his financial support, to have my children who are my world, a new job and family and friends around. I'm sure everyone, regardless of their situation, can find the silver lining in their circumstances. I made the mistake of dating as soon as I arrived in August- a guy I met through a mutual friend-I immediately began to repeat the mistakes I thought I was educated enough after my experience to avoid. I arrived here feeling like the woman I've always wanted to be, and now, after three months of allowing a man to edge his way into my life, feel worthless and painfully insecure. I stopped seeing him because he's very much like my ex. Somehow it felt so deliciously familiar, and so futile. I need to learn to grow without a man in my life who's approval I'm seeking. But I'm afraid if I become too independent, pass up opportunities for knowing love again, I'll be alone for the rest of my life and I'm only 40. What a waste.

  • Lily

    The information obtained from this site is helpful especially on how to address the needs of children going through a divorce. I am currently going through a divorce and although my soon to ex- husband and i always talked about having a cordial relationship if we ever got divorced, that is not the case. We don't speak to each other except through our lawyers and he doesn't show interest in our son anymore so its been difficult trying to reassure the little one but he is doing well and i am at peace because i dont have to fight and argue constantly. Trust in the creater and have hope and you will make it through.

  • PeregrinaMom

    After 24 years of marriage, I finally gathered the courage to leave the relationship. My ex-husband has many wonderful qualities and traits about him but his refusal to seek help for issues related to his behavior affected by his childhood and others, his justifying, blaming, sarcasm, shaming and unfounded accusations were to much to bear. Emotional abuse is worse than physical abuse. To this day, I don't believe he knows or understands how those unresolved issues affected 'us'. My own issues contributed it greatly too. I stayed with him out of loyalty to the family, my kids, out of fear of being unable to get ahead on my own. Lack of self esteem. Fear, I stayed out of fear. I believed everything he told me. How could he be so wonderful and charming to others and yet hurt me so much?... I thought it was all my fault. This took a toll on my mental health and rather than be strong for my sake and the kids, I became a shadow of my formidable self...... My ex-husband is an extremely wealthy man in material means who literally ran me down to the gutter financially... He kept everything, even many of my own personal items but with time, profound faith, a small settlement, resilience and my parents often repeated words in my head playing over and over again I kept on..... "Actions speak louder than words".... "If that is what you want of your children, then set the example to follow, lead!"..... So I sought help and support in Alanon (12 step), got a sponsor, became more involved in my parish as a volunteer, gratitude for 'everything' that was coming into my life for all I would learn no matter who hard the lesson. I can now tell you, that the investement in myself paid off,,,, in more ways than money could buy. My kids are now drug free and doing well. I have moved to Spain to follow a dream and a good man has come into my life.

    Have faith, do what you must and above it all, BELIEVE!

    I still have bad days, sad days, happy days, good days, interesting days... but it is a day I have, the only one I have today, a day to live to the best of my abilities because once it is gone, I will not be able to recuperate it......

    My life is not magical. I do not expect it to be caramel and roses all the time, perfect and worry free.... But I do welcome the opportunity to grow, to live, to heal and slowly become who I want to be. To be who I forgot I was.

    Have hope. Have faith. Believe. It will all work itself out in the end.

  • anna

    my husband left me to move into his moms on july 4th 2008 and has filed for divorce. i am trying to cope with him being gone every day. some days are good some days are bad and some days avery very bad. but i have alot of support from friends and family to deal with this.some day it will get easier i hope. i just wish things could go back to normal before this nightmare started but i know now they cant so i just have to get on with my life and try to feel better about myself every day.miss him very much but know now he is not coming back no matter how hard i cry. and also found out the guilt dont work. but help me to understand how a person can walk away from a marriage after 16 years and not even care they are tearing apart the one person who loves them the most.

  • Anthony

    John, I can really identify with you on this one. I am in the same boat, though by the looks of it, a couple of years afterwards. I was told last week that I would be getting a divorce. Life hasn't been easy, but at least my ex and I can be civil. I still want her back, and Lord knows I'd take her back in a heartbeat. But somewhere, deep inside, I know it's over. I ignore that part of my emotions, push it deeper inside, hidden, until the thought comes creeping back. Then I fall apart. Again and again and again.

  • Anonymous-1

    Any advice out there for the guilt one feels after putting their children through a divorce? I know my ex-husband and I were unable to fix our problems (our decision to divorce was fairly mutual), but I really had no idea how unbelievably difficult this would be on everyone. My ex has a new, young girlfriend who I feel is slowly trying to take my place as a mother in my kids' lives (and my ex encourages it). It's so painful...they are the only thing I have. He has much more money than I do and is able to give our children more material things...but he plays games with it as well. He'll buy them new clothes but then not send the clothes with them when they come back home it wouldn't be so bad if he would at least send their old clothes. It's like he's pushing me to spend the little money I have on things that we could share with the kids. We both buy them things but he won't share. The funny thing is he put a huge financail strain on our family where we basically lost everything due to a very bad business deal and now he seems to be living fine and the kids and I suffer the continued consequences when they are home with me.

    All I want to do is be able to take care of my kids...sorry, don't mean to compain. It just gets so overwhelming thinking about survival all the time.

  • Cindy

    My husband decided that he needs to focus on himself now. We have been married for 23 years. Our youngest child of 5 is 22 years old. This was suppose to be about us and our time. We bought a bike and have had a great time on it. We were doing what we said we would do, but now he is only thinking of himself. I thought Mid Life Crisis, but he says no it's not. He said that he just don't love me the way a husband should love his wife. This is due to me asking for affection. He said he doesn't require the same things I need and therefore don't think about giving them to me. I'm talking about, hugs, kisses, holding hands, playing with my hair and most importantly making love. He is 52 and still makes me feel butterflies in my stomache. He left and moved in with his mother on Sept 7th. Six weeks later he told me he was not coming home. We decided on a dissalusionment because we wanted to make it easier on our kids. I do not want it at all, but I know I can't put my life on hold hoping and praying he'll come back. I moved 2 1/2 hours away from him and my children. I knew that is the only way I could do this. That way I don't have to worry about running into him anywhere. My kids understand and are supportive of my choice to leave. We talk and text each other all the time. They just like I, don't understand why he feels he needs to be alone now. He said he don't want to be married and it is not due to another woman. He said if that is what he wanted he would still be with me. He has told our friends and family none of this is due to anything I have done, it is all about him and his needs. He wants to make himself happy now, no responsiblities, no worrying if I'm happy or not, come and go as he pleases, watch sports 24/7, nobody to have to call and say " Hun I'm going to be late for dinner" he hated that and not having to worry about me getting the affection I need and deserve. I am sooooooo afraid of alot of things, being alone the rest of my life, surviving by myself and I feel like half of me is missing. I cry everyday. I would be willing to give up all the little things just to know he will be coming home and sharing his day with me his best friend, but that will not happen. The dissalusionment will be final in Dec. I need advise on how to start my life without him.

  • Suzanne

    I have been married before and this is my second which is now at the separation stage. As was said in the comments I see that I chose the same type of person who is a passive aggressor and an emotional abuser. I helped him to look after his five children when his first wife died. I had been friends with her since we were 13. I thought that he loved me but realised from the day that we got married that all that was said was just talk and he just wanted to carry on as if his first marriage was not ended. I never felt like we, our marriage ever got started and I am sick of him blurting out his first wife's name even after 11 years since her passing. I feel used and manipulated and emotionally devastated because I thought that he really meant all that he professed. I have been abused by his children and him and disrespected as I have never been in all of my life. I left with just my personal stuff since he ran us financially in the ground yet I can't move on financially because I am tied up with securing loans that he has not yet paid off. Of course he has done nothing to assist me and once again in my forty's I hae to begin again! Thank God I did not listen to him and give up my job to look after his children who by the way range in age from 11-21 yet refuse to be helpful in anyway since they were raised to do things in their own time when they feel like, if they feel like. I also have medical problems so it is more challenging to pick up but thank god for faith and support of my friends and family, with God's grace i will be okay. When I get depressed and frustrated like at this time I remember that I got out alive!

  • Anonymous-2

    I congratulate you for your courage and making the break when you did. Sometimes we have to trust that ... as strange as it seems...Adversity can be a blessing...it sure has been for me. I didn't see it while I was going through hell...but in looking back at what has happened to me in the past, those incidents strenghtend me for what I was about to conquer in my future.

  • Anonymous-3

    Moving foward is actually our only logical option in a divorce. Time ticks away. We age, and the people around us age. Life is how you make it. We have to pick ourselves up. Involve yourself in a support group. I am actually going to one tonite after 2 years of grief. I have been divorced now for 6 months, and separated for a year and a half. Life was tough in the beginning. The break of routine, living in a different place, and the shock to the comfortable memories.

    But you know, like dirty dishes, if you don't clean them, they remain dirty and fungus builds up...it becomes an environmental hazard so to speak! Your emotions work the same way.

    I think of my 1st marriage as a practice one. This next one is going to be the last. I am in no hurry. My criteria is higher. And I am definitely learning and being reflective of what went wrong. It's as simple as that. We must learn from our mistakes! I'd list out all the problems you had with your ex-spouse, right down what you did to try to solve them, how you could have solved them, what your spouse could have done better. Think about these answers and reflect on them.

    It is important to involve yourself in constructive destractions that promote healthy mind and body...yoga, walks, working out, hanging out with friends (make a schedule to diversify your visits...this way everyone gets a fresh dose of you and your problems), spend time with family.

    Being reflective I find is the key. Honest, positve self-talk is most important. Then, at some point along the road, I'd list out characteristics of your ideal mate, and "deal breakers" (i.e., things that would turn you off)....then go FISHING!

    Just think, it's time now to re-build a better you. When you are satisfied with the self-product you have re-engineered, then life will start to take a positive turn, and opportunities for starting over again will present themselves.

  • Anonymous-4

    three months in to the separation and he has been dating someone for the past month and a half who he works with and swears nothing was going on before the separation. I tend not to believe him if you are wondering. It came out of the blue and my head, I guess, must have been buried in the sand, 17 years together and 12 years married. Logic tells me that I will do better without him in my life, but it truly is like someone has died. I am starting to get to the acceptance stage, and what he does in his life no longer concerns me, right? Someday I hope to find the button to turn the hurt off, because it still pops up when I am least expecting it. I know the hurt will end, but I never imagined it would be this hard. I always thought of myself as a strong person, but this can certainly knock the breath right out of you, still feeling like this even with counselling every week. Hopefully soon full acceptance will occur and nothing he did/does or says or thinks will matter anymore.

  • Anonymous-5

    I'm probably the only man to post here, but I'm currently in the middle of an unwanted divorce. My wife and I would have been married 5 years in December, and our divorce may be final on our anniversary (ouch!). I tried so hard to make it work, but she was actually the abusive one. (backwards, I know). She has apparently been trying to leave me for over two years. I loved her deeply, did tons of nice things for her, never cheated, and never abused her. Yet for about two years at the end, she wouldn't even let me hold her hand. She made our toddler sleep next to her so I couldn't. (Then made him sleep in his own room right after she moved out). She would repeatedly scream profanities at me and mock me in front of our child while I sat silent. It was always about ridiculous stuff like a pantry door being left open. She told me to my face over and over that she doesn't love me, and then mocked me and hit me when I told her how deeply those words hurt. Less than a week after she left, she was in another mans arms. It made me so mad! I feel so broken, and angry, and powerless. I cried my eyes out more today even though I know men aren't supposed to do that. I'm writing this so anyone out there going through similar feelings, and a similar situation can know that they are not alone.

  • Anonymous-6

    I found this information useful for my situation. I am currently seperated..3 months now. We are in therapy and I bring up Divorce about once a week. My Husband does not want that but he doesn't want to work on the relationship. He has his own place..a cute little bachelor pad and he does not have much responsibility. He is selfish and his ego feeds his every action. I haven't filed yet and I am terrified of being alone...even though I am alone now...I just can't date or see other people because I am seperated and it's not the time for that. The therapy is painful. I hate talking about our problems all the time. I still cry a lot but not like I did when he lived with me. I get stronger some days and others I feel like I am crumbeling. My heart hurts..literally from the stress all of this is causing. I am only 34 and do not have children..which I want badly...and have wanted for 7 years now but he wasn't willing to do so.....I feel as if I am getting too old to have children and who will want to be with me now that I am damaged? I survived a lot of verbal and emotional abuse...sometimes slight physical...I feel ashamed of myself. I hope I can do this..

  • Anonymous-7

    My husband filed for divorce 01/14/09 and moved out. Deep down this is what I wanted, or so i think it is what I wanted. Even though he filed for divorce, he didnt want one, he wanted me to make up my mind. We had been having troublr for a few years. We have a 4 year old son that we share 50/50. One day I wake up and think we should make it work, then the next day I hate him all over again. I am scared to death of the financial burdens I have now and the reality of supporting myself. Ugh....when will I ever realize that this was the right decision????? Does it ever just hit you right smack in the face?????

  • Anonymous-8

    Hi. I've been divorced for 10 months now. With the small amount of funds I did have, I supported my ex by paying his car notes, rent, running errands, watching his kid, writing papers for him, going to court for him and entertaining his current boss for him to actually get the job. He was the first for me - first boyfriend, then husband. We got married in Spring '07 and I had a child in Fall '08. He served me with divorce papers 2 1/2 months after I gave birth (winter '09) and told me that he had a girlfriend - saying I'd gained too much weight, I was boring, I was lazy, and that he wasn't sure he ever loved me. He rushed the divorce papers through, saying that we'd been separated for 6 mo. - which was a stipulation for the divorce to proceed. I disputed that in court and he YELLED OUT that he didn't want me anymore. Fast forward to now - I still cry after he leaves from his visits with our child, he left the woman he cheated on me with, and now is set to marry ANOTHER woman he met the summer of '09. I feel like a dud b/c I have not lost the baby weight and I have not healed yet. I cannot understand why he is able to get married after only knowing this new lady for 6 months, but I had to wait 6 YEARS before he married me and he still cheated! I feel like a failure, but I know that SOMETHING GOOD has to be coming out of this - even if it's only self-renewal, self- love, and strength - and not a loving relationship with another man someday. I still love my ex and it makes me angry at myself. I will get better through this enormous hurt. I will laugh, love and live again - I hope.

  • Anonymous-9

    I am sorry for what everyone is going through with divorce and seperations. I am stuck in a bad marriage and don't know how to end it so all i will say is am sorry for i can feel what everyone is going through. Trust in God and all be well.

  • Rose

    arranged life and career around husband & child. Put husband through school now he has a flourishing career. I was set to retire from military and finally be settled. Was commuting 3 hrs a day so husband/daughter didn't have to move anymore. Nov 09 husband says"we have problems-you need to move out and let us take a break". Also, let's stop intimacy because it confuses things! Doesn't want to tell our daughter the truth, says I moved because of comute and will be home on weekends. Continued to ignore me and I was confused. What we we working on? Few weeks later he says he is done and wants divorce, refuses counseling. Says I don't feel the same way about you anymore after 16 years. Daughter does not want to move because of school, friends, etc. Now I have no husband, no child and none of my life. I am alone in small aprtment and lost. Everyone tells me this reeks of another woman but he swears there isnt another and never was. I am skeptical. He always liked everything shiny and new and i feel like my usefulness has worn out. This was my second marriage and I thought it was forever. My whole life is turned inside out and I go from extreme anger and bitterness to pathetic hopelessness. I never know what each day will bring...what hurts the most is his detachment and the building alienation of my daughter. He was always the friend to her instead of the father and can do no wrong. It makes me sick.

  • StillNotHealed

    Oh, Rose, my heart goes out to you! "He done you dirty!", as they say. He sounds like a master manipulator. I've been commuting two hours for the last seven years can't even IMAGINE how tired you were doing a three hour commute. And the part about your daughter sounds so hurtful - I am so sorry to hear that.

    Just remember that there will come a day when you don't hurt so much. Also I believe strongly that we will see justice for most of us, it won't be in this lifetime, but whether you believe in judgement or karma, God and the universe will provide justice.

    Good luck and God Bless.

  • phil

    Growing up in a family with both parents had its pleasures and i knew for sure that when i marry i would give my family the same.

    My marriage of 2year just ended after my wife opted out,i have made several pleas to have her back but she would not,i hate my self now for not having considered her feelings...if i knew them anyway.

    Her reasons are that we were not meant for each other and that i should look for the perfect woman i have always desired and she is willing to set me free.i have since discovered that she is having an affair with another man and she could be pregnant too, our son is just 2 years old, for now he is too young to know whats happening.but i really feel sick and tired i have lost all my energy, the thought of this man having an affair with my ex really hurts and the thought of my son living without me as a role model hurts too. i am quite desperate i have sought help from the experts but the lines are all the same "time heals all wounds"....

    someone please tell me someting more objective,

  • jlucid

    I was hoping to read from clicking on the google link to this article that I would learn ways to figure out how to retrieve my wife back in midst of legal separation. I've learned so much about the problems that I've caused in the past, with allowing my career to consume the attention that she so much deserved over the years. Additionally, a tragic inicident of a miscarriage took place shortly after our first son was born, which caused a lot of stress at the time that I could of handled a lot better, but being the one to support my family, I turned to what I knew best and hoped that time would heal the scars that was inflicted on us. So, now that I'm realizing that she's not in love with me and has shut down all feelings toward me, despite my pleas of forgiveness and clearing all of my misconceptions to prove that I will do everything in the world for her back to make her happy and loved, instead I receive nothing but contempt of her lack of wanting to give a inch of hope to return to everything I once cherished.

    I suppose this is all very common, what I'm going through, I just never gave it any consideration that it would ever end. My first marriage, I figured I knew everything I needed to know about love and how it would never die, or have a date of expiration. However, I know full well now what is required to sustain a healthy marriage, though I'm not sure if I'll ever get a second chance, but if I do sometime over the next few years, I will do everything this article suggests in hopes of not becoming another statistic. Why do we need love so badly in our lives? I suppose, it's because it's the only thing that ever feels real...

  • Rose

    Thanks to "StillNothealed" for your support/kind words. I wanted to stress to everyone that may peruse these comments to not isolate yourself during this process. I made that mistake and fell into such a deep pit emotionally that I ended up hospitalized. I am better now, have a clarity that I did not possess previously and received much-needed treatment for a long-term depression that everyone ignored, including me. There are people who care for you that want to help you through this. Let them without feeling guilt! I hope that everyone can find some peace...I still hurt but not in the way I did before. I have a new outlook and know i deserve better than what I had...you all do too

  • Nicole

    I have been separated for 5 years but still involved with my spouse. I should have ended it and gotten divorced when he left but I instead felt the need to stay married because I was hoping that he would one day come back. Well 5 years later I am left holding all the debt, the emotional abuse along with the mental and verbal baggage. I said things to hurt my husband because it was the only reaction when he physically abused me and even though I was able to forgive him for all the abuse he gave to me he still cannot let go of what I said to him . Two days ago he threw food at me as if I were a stray dog and told me if I was hungry to eat because he could care less if I eat or die. This is when I realised that I have to get out.

  • Jasmine

    My husband told me he wanted divorce so he can go out with other people two weeks ago. I was so blind sided by his request, not only he has been planning the divorce he had closed joint accounts and transfer his direct deposit to his sole account before he dropped the bomb on me. I am so shock and feel betray by his action. We have been married for almost six years with no kids. His main reason for leaving is I'm unable to give him a child. The pain I am going through is unexplainable. I just contacted a therapy for an appointment before I have a break down.

    Having read the similar stories on the site, I feel I am not only in suffering. I admired you all for sharing your stories.

  • Tyler

    I am in the middle of my divorce from my wife of 13-1/2 years, together for 16. This has been the most traumatic event of my life. I met my wife in Sunday School when I was 13. We were friends during high school, began dating during college and after 6 months of dating were engage for a year and nine months, before marrying at ages 22 and 21 respectively. After a year and a half of being married my wife chose to fufill her life long dream of becoming an Optometrist, (in Puerto Rico). She went away to school while I stayed in our home town at my job, bought a house and began building our life here for her return. 4 years later she achieved her Dr. degree and returned home. We spent the next 8 years building our life and have a 4 year old, beautiful son. She filed for divorce the day before Thanksgiving 2009. She cites never falling in love with me. Her feeling have never grown to what they should be and she has wanted out for years, but how now only achieved the strength. She married me with her mind and not her heart. She says it is not all my fault, but blames me for incidents that have happened over the course of our marriage as destroying all the love she did have for me. There was no counseling, church reterats, or genuine desire to work thru our problems, not even for the benefit of our son. She says she does not hate me, but no longer wants me as her husband. I am a great dad and wonder how in the world we raise our son in a broken home. How the woman I gave my life to in fron of God turn on me and our family, I will never know. I am struggeling with a whirlwind of emotions. It is very difficult for me to accept that she is going to give our son a horrible court mandated future and not afford him the childhood we both were. My tears are for him and the life he will never know. She says he makes this more difficult, but ultimately it has no bearing on her decision. I am torn as to how to act to her, because I know we have to get along for his sake, but I have extreme resentment towards her for chosing this life for him, not to mention the vows we gave as a commitment to each other and God. How will I ever heal from this?

  • Gemini

    Separated from my wife for 3 months now. I left her and now I am having a hard time dealing with it. I realize now that I will never get her back and I just need to deal with it better. I am afraid that I will be alone forever. I do not want to be alone.

  • Scout

    After a 22 year marriage my husband left me for another woman and harassed me for 2-1/2 years. I was deservedly receiving alimony but more than I needed. My ex agreed to a large sum without negotiating. He had a bad attorney but blamed me instead of himself. I was living in our home with our teenage daughter at the time and he used the impending sale of the house as leverage to buy me out and get me to give up alimony which I did so I could get my life back. It's been 5-1/2 years, he's no longer with the woman he left me for, and we're finally on good talking terms for the sake of our 3 grown children. But I miss a large part of my old life and cannot seem to get over it.

    We vacationed every summer with my ex's family and were very close I thought. My family isn't very close and don't know my children very well. After the divorce my ex's family wouldn't talk to me and when asked I was told they didn't want to get involved. We live 2,000 miles for our families but had a group of about 30+ friends for 15 years whom we did everything with as if they were family. At first they all rallied around me because I was so devastated but after the 1st year they started avoiding me. They were uncomfortable seeing me upset all the time and kept telling me to JUST GET OVER IT. It's a little difficult to get over it when the person causing all them problems won't leave you alone. Nevertheless, they reconnected with my ex and have nothing to do with me.

    The problem is that my ex lives in our old house with one of our daughters and my granddaughter, has a pool and the old friends frequently visit so my children prefer being at his house. My daughter only calls me when she needs a babysitter. Vacations...well they go on my ex's family vacations but they can't take time off work to take a weeks vacation with me. I have a boyfriend but my children really don't make much of an effort to be a part of my life. The bottom line is that my children and friends were my life and I miss them terribly yet no one seems to care. I just cannot get past the hurt I constantly feel when I want to have them back in my life the way they use to be but know I'll just be ignored.

    Does anyone understand what I'm going through and have any suggestions on how to get past this?

  • robert

    My 2 little girls keep telling me that they want to live with me.I and my ex- have been divorced for about 7 months now and are under a shared parenting plan that went more her way than mine.when it 1st was in effect she was ordered to pay child support, she made 1 payment then quit. Then she took me back to court and somehow got out of it. She still owes back child support, buit thats it.My lil girls keep telling me still that they want to live with me.what is the age for them to be able to tell a judge that and be taken seriously,cause i love them very much and want them to live with me.but it seems the courts are more apt to give them to the mother why is that, when the father has shown the court that he wants to be part of their lives,more so than the mother does.The mother has forgotten them at school when it is on her days of having them.hit them in the back,but not enough to leave a mark.what should i do, i want full custody,but as a father i found that it is hard for a father to get custody.

  • chatting out loud

    Divorce is one of the topics that people might not want to discuss about or avoid because of the pain associated with dealing with it. On the contrary, chatting out loud about this topic is helpful and therapeutic especially to those who are presently undergoing this stage in their lives. The pain is unavoidable, but we can help each other cope with it. There are those that recovers after a divorce within months but there are those whom takes years before finally accepting within themselves that it is time to move on. Nobody gets married with the foresight that he/she will get divorced eventually. This is one of those situations wherein you just have to brace yourself and take in all the strength and support that you can gather from friends and family and be determined to come out as a better person in the end.

  • Martha

    What goes around, come around. She will one day be judged by the Lord. I hope my ex-husband will too if he does not repent for the bad things and abusive things he did to me. You deserve someone better than your ex.

  • Feeling it

    The guilt is the real killer.

  • Lonnie Montaquila

    YOU ARE THE CREATOR OF YOUR OWN DESTINY.

  • sensitive_woman

    I recently got divorced (2 weeks ago), have been legally separated for over a year from an abusive husband. Even though I filed for divorce, I'm devastated. I'm not sure why I am so much in shock and unable to move on. I have a hard time concentrating on anything, I sit for hours brooding and doing nothing which is terrible. I had a good job which I quit just before my divorce as I couldnt concentrate on it. Its like I'm afraid to face the world and I dont know why. I feel I have been wronged and never expected this to happen with my life. I have to got over these feelings soon. I'm not sure why I'm feeling like this is the end of the world. I feel shattered and cannot interact with anyone anymore. This is not normal, I should be feeling relieved and happier but I'm not happy, though tremendously relieved to escape the abusive events I have faced.

  • AU

    Thank You all for your contributions. I might just try and let some things out as well.

    My girlfriend told me about two weeks ago, that she is no longer attracted to me. She did not split up actively yet, but her arguments are heading towards that very conclusion and I am very confused. It looks like she wants me to let her go, but I am not able to do so, at all. I can see the confusion in her too, and it is a terrible situation we found ourselves in. We know each other for 22 years, and our intimate relationship began 13 years ago. It was always really hard to be with her, because it seems like she just is not able to feel true happiness. We have two kids (5, 10), and are both around 37 years old.

    She did split up about two years ago, moved out with the kids for about six month - that was already the worst time of my life. It also nearly ruined me in every imaginable aspect (personal, health, business). After she came back though, we had the greatest time of our life. Almost no fights, being together often, everything seemed to have worked out pretty good. Obviously it turns out, that was only how it felt to me, although the piece in the relationship was evident. This is what really fuels my confusion, heading towards our supposedly final separation, with these fresh memories of love and understanding, warmth and togetherness.

    Knowing how it feels to be left by her, and the outlook of losing my closest friend, my kids and the whole concept of our family is truly killing me. I am not able to think clearly, can't sleep, eat, work nor get my act together.

    Since I know how she feels, I am trying to show her my love even more in a more expressive way - yesterday she explained to me, that this is driving her even faster away from me. She stressed out, that I didn't do anything wrong, and that I am and will be one of the most important persons in her life forever, that I am a great partner and father and man, that she does love me - just not in a way that is needed for a relationship (anymore). This is what she found out in the last months monitoring her feelings, coming to the conclusion, that her sorrow is because of our relationship, and the missing parts of it.

    The whole world keeps collapsing every single hour right now! One moment I find myself trying to work, that the success and the benefits of it, will get her to reconsider. The next moment I'm craigslisting jobs overseas, knowing, that I will not be able to deal with the pain seeing her again and again.
    I'm looking for ways to embrace her with my love, few moments later I have trouble breathing when the sound of her voice and the memories haunt me, day and night.
    I fear the future, I fear dealing with her, saying or doing the wrong things, I fear losing her and not seeing her again. I fear losing the kids, but I'm also afraid of seeing her in the kids all the time.

    Last but not least, I do consider myself a rather strong personality, and I'm deeply angry, that this aspect of my life keeps crumbling me down, leaving me wheeping and deforming my character and my heart, controlling my thoughts and emotions. Sucking every last bit of energy out my healthy body and creative mind. This love, that is supposed to bring the best in man to life and to make this world a better place - this love that is turning against me and destroying my life!

    Thank you for reading this. Thanks

  • Anonymous-10

    My Partner of the last 8 years has suddenly had some major life crises like changing jobs and has decided that she is not in love with me anymore. I feel like my whole world has ended as she was my best friend, confidant, lover, and the person I admired most in the world. A mere two weeks ago she was telling me that I was the best thing in her life and so I feel so blindsided. I completely idolize her. The problem is that two years ago we met some younger (7years) really beautiful girls and my wife has been swept up into their world of parties/ no responsibilities/sex/ and drinking. On christmas eve she kissed one of the girls right infront of me before saying that she did not care about me anymore. The next day she denied it.

    She started not coming home around the 17 of Jan 2011 and it broke my heart. I feel like the living dead sometimes and although I have left the situation, I moved to my sister’s house on the east coast she still haunts everything I do and see. She was the first woman that I really fell for when I first came to the USA and so now she is everywhere. I feel so sick inside and just pray that this awful pain will somehow subside. The strangest part of the whole episode is that she does not feel the level of intensity that I do even after professing so so many times.

    I have moved around the world with her to support her job including Germany and many other US cities yet she just sees me an invisible. A mere month ago we had planned to have kids and actually had been trying for the last year but to no avail.

    I have tried begging pleading for us to go to counseling but she is just beyond that point. She speaks as if it is not the end of the world but when I married her I promised to forever remain by her side. I wish that I could do something to change any of this but it all seems beyond my control.

    Last week she served me with divorce papers and it cut like a knife. I could not believe it and still cannot. I just don’t know what to do with myself. People keep saying move on keep yourself busy but this all encompassing pain makes movement almost impossible. I am on the other side of the country but all I want is her and this is not possible. I think that she has met someone else as she is a very communicative person, and a while ago she cut me out and started messaging every five seconds on her blackberry. Yet here I stand not wanting to do anything except go home and have the wonderful life that we enjoyed before. She was never unhappy and we traveled and had such fun together which makes all of this even more confusing. Could this be a midlife crisis?

    Do people ever come back from them or is there truly no hope? Regardless I will love her forever and I would do anything to get my wife back.

  • dcat50

    okay, lets start ! my wife of 21.5 years walked out the door 9/18/2010 said she was going out with her giirlfriend and never returned. she abandoned the kids ,home.all of her belongings and me. she told me she has`nt loved me for 16 years and she was waited until the kids got this age to leave me. now this past week, i have put the pieces of the puzzle together. i know who, when, and how long this affair has been going on. i am beoned hurt, now its just anger. she has humiliated me with the nieghbors, she has brought this homewrecker four houses from mine to have a bbq on a saturday nite. now this was the ultimate test of my patience and control. the saddest thing of all of this, the hurt i see in my girls eye`s. they are 19/17. now we agreed to remain civil and not put the girls in the middle, and i have held up with my part. my wife had my eighteen year old daughter serve my divorce papers to me. a month later my 18 yr old moved out.and not under great terms. then my 18 yr old moved back home may 2011 on her b day and was here for two months, then my ex decides to let my daughter read a selected amount of our email exchanges to instagate a fight between my daughter and i. and it did. on the 4th of july weekend 2011. it was really bad. my daughter was escorted from my home by two sherriffs and has not and will not talk to me .

  • mona

    Foundd out husband of 21 years is having an affair. I have 18 & 20 year old sons. He does not apologize but gets angry because I got on his phone. I kick him out that night and have his belongings packed the next day. Two days later he expects me not to think about the affair. I need to move on with life. He had been planning on saving up money and moving out without me ever knowing about the girlfriend. He said he loved me but was not in love with me. It has been two months since this little tryst has happened. In that time period he has lied about everything, and brought this girlfriend into my home. We have restraining orders against each other and he tells me that if I don't drop my lawyer he is not going to agree to anything. He said he will tie this divorce up in court for years. My youngest son has moved in with him because my husband guilted him into doing it. My husband claims he does not want the kids involved but uses them to his advantage at every turning point. I am getting real tired of this roller coaster I have been on for the last couple of months. I am ready to get off and move on with my life.