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Greetings, I decided to reach out to this community after reading most of the stories of love and loss that are strikingly similar to mine in many ways. First of all, I would like to convey that I am so sorry that any of us has to go through this kind of pain. It is almost relentless; the feeling that I cant breathe, cant focus, waking me up at night, squeezing my heart and cutting me off from any sense of joy.  Is this what grief feels like? Before I share about my situation, I would also like to ask that you try to suspend judging me for aspects of my situation that some may find objectionable as my heart is pure with love and so broken by loss.

Ill start with the controversial stuff. Im in the process of separating from a long term marriage that has been troubled for decades. Over the years, we developed completely separate lifestyles, which reduced the amount of fighting but resulted in estrangement.  His passion for performing arts keeps him singularly focused on the next gig and life on the road while I maintained stable employment and raised the kids on my own. As the kids got older, I developed my own interests and connections that kept me busy but at the core lonely and ashamed of being a married woman , always alone, essentially living a single life. I longed for a partner to share my life with.

Aside from the usual fear of change, the main factor keeping me from breaking up the household is my younger child (I have 2). She is now 19 and recently went through a serious rebellious phase where I almost lost her.  Given all that she was into, Im lucky and grateful that she lives at home, is doing very well now, and going off to college in a couple of months. The family unit has been an important a stabilizing force and Ive been reluctant to break up the household before she moves out.

So, thats the background. This story really starts almost a year and a half ago. I met a man on a group excursion overseas. We met on the bus and natrually spent most of the time on the trip together - activities. meals, travel, etc. No hanky panky. Looking back, I realize we instantly fell in love. On the last day of the trip, I told him about my situation and that I couldnt be more than friends until after my daughter moved out.

Upon arriving home, I felt a deep shift nside of me.  Being married felt intolerable  and I began exploring how to make the break.  Try as we might, this man and I could not stop thinking about each other. We kept in touch almost daily and would see each other for dinner, activities, etc. The connection felt so intensely sweet that, even though we had not taken things to the next level, we could not help but express our love for each other.  In addition to the sweet sweet emotional connection,  we had so many common interests and tendencies that we enjoyed every moment together and could communicate on a level I never experienced before. Even difficult discussions were positive experiences. For the first time in my life, I could talk about relationship problems with a man and have us both come away feeling enriched having learned about ourselves and the other person. This is the aspect of our relationship that I value the most.

So we went back and forth but our love deepened further each day as I worked to find a way out of my situation. We started making plans for the future that we were both excited about. I explored many options before finding a lawyer that laid out a good plan. I was all set to have the conversation with my husband a couple of weeks ago while my daughter was on a class trip abroad. Then something unthinkable happened.

3 days before she was set to leave for her trip, we took his adult son out to dinner. The son was on home leave after 8 months of sobriery at rehab far away. It was to be his last night in town and we had a wonderful dinner together before going to our separate homes. The next morning, the boy was found cold in his bed with foam coming out of his mouth. At some point on the night, he relapsed and died of an overdose.

When my sweetie told me what happened, I raced to him.  His sons body was still in the house as well as several relatives, his sons mother and her husband. We hugged each other for a long time. Then the family set about making calls to tell people what happened. 

Every ounce of my being wanted only to take care of my sweetie. It did not feel right fir him to spend the night alone in the house where hours earlier he found his son dead. Ipacked an overnight bag, prepared to tell my family eveything. But he didnt want me to stay. Instead, his most recent exwife (they divorced 8 yeare ago) slept on the couch

For the next few days leading up to the funeral the house was full of friends and relatives. He started formally introducing me as his girlfriend and I finally met the ex wife.  It was uncomfortable at first as I sensed that she resented me abd felt competitive. I did my best to be gracious toward her and we seemed to get along well enough.

Emotionally, my sweetie was all over the map. When everyone left and we were alone he would alternate between extreme love and appreciation, flashes of anger, remorse, etc. At the end of it all, he would tell how good I am for him and reassure me that I have his heart. 

At the funeral reception, he had several flashes of anger toward me about nonsense (ex I ate the brownie) but we parted on loving terms. It hurt my heart but I stayed strong when I was with him and my heart stayed with him 100%. I returned home feeling so wrought and like I could not continue living like this. In the morning, I had "the conversation" and broke up with my husband. At my lawyers advice, I had arranged a place to stay to be a haven where I could stay when things got tense without giving up presence in my own home.

My sweetie did not know anything about my move. I didnt want to stress him out. But sonehow, as if by magic, he seemed to shift. He didnt want to see me again until the weekend. We kept in touch my text, but now I became the iniator and his responses were flat and devoid of love. 

After 3 days, we got together for dinner on Saturday. In person, it was affectionate and close. He shared about his feelings of grief and I told him about how I launched. I felt conforted in his presence that we would both be okay.

That was the last time I saw him. He made plans for the next day that he would not tell me about. His messages were sparse and he repearedly cancelled plans to get together to talk saying he cant see me, was tired and couldnt focus. This went on for a week before I called him and asked what's going on. He said his exwife had spent a lot of time at his house and he us confused about his feelings, doesnt want yo get involved in my marital conflict, and he cant think or focus. He said that he had not gotten back together with the ex, nor had they been intimate, but he feels he needs to make q decision. I let himknow that I would not compete with his ex and so would stop initiating contact. The last thing he said was "I do love you".

That was more than a week ago and I have heard nothing from him. I feel that he is lost to me. The grief, compounded by my own grief for his son, feels unbearable. Reading your stories, I see that it is not uncommon for a grieving person to shut love out. But still, Im devastated that he did not protect our relationship, which was beautiful and had a future.  That he chose to shut me out in favor of his most recent ex (they do not share any children) who bickers with him and left him mostly because she did not approve of his parenting.

I feel so broken inside. I know I need to move ahead with legally dissolving my family but hardly have the strength to function at all. I sleep on the ciuch at home, cant focus at work and keep making mistakes. I repeatedly replay all these events and berate myself for not making myself more available earlier. I am on pins and needles both longing for and dreading he will get in touch. So far, nothing.

How does it happen that one day I am the most special person hes waited his whole life for and the next day nothing. How could he just throw me away? How can I go on?

Sorry this has gotten so long. And for any writing errors and typos as Im using my phone for this post.  Love and gratitude to anyone that has read this far and has any insight to share.  

 

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22 hours ago, Chlor said:

I repeatedly replay all these events and berate myself for not making myself more available earlier.

Please don't beat yourself up with whatifs...all the whatifs didn't happen, only what did has, and chances are extremely likely things would have gone the same way even so.

Yes, a certain number of people when grieving shut out the one they loved.  They feel bereft of anything to give and view their relationship as a demand so they can continue their friendships but not their loving relationship.  It may make sense intellectually but yet it still leaves me having a hard time understanding that because I am not made that way, I am wired different...when I go through a hard place, I WANT my love/relationship there for me!  But we have to accept we are not all the same.  Usually when this happens, it blindsides you because this is the first time you've seen them grieve so you didn't know that about them...chances are they did not know that about themselves either and are just as mystified as you.  They may even feel guilty although perhaps not as they're putting all of their stamina into their grief.

Nine years ago my fiance of a year broke up with me when his mom was dying...he was her caregiver 24/7 at that point.  We did not have contact for months, his choice.  Yet his ex-wife was able to be there for him and his mom!  Just not me.  His neighbors, friends could bring meals, visit, but not me.  It hurt tremendously.  Like you, I couldn't sleep, was distraught, yes, grieving myself over the loss of our relationship.  We did resume contact months later but as friends and never did resume anything further, it was for the best.  I would not want a partner to go through life with that I could not go through the hard places with.  It happened as it needed to.

By the way, this is not a place you will find judgment, we are here to be there for you as you grieve and to answer any questions if we are able.  We are here to be supportive of you.

I do understand your feelings.  I had a 23 year marriage to my kids' dad and he got a divorce when our kids were teenagers.  We were never "in love" but had a good partnership for raising the kids but basically lived separate lives outside our church duties...he wasn't interested in me attending basketball games with him or hunting with him, etc, he chose instead to have his male friends accompany him to things.  It's very hard to live separate lives void of emotion or love.  I tried to get marriage counseling but after a month he quit, w/o doing anything she suggested.  It was over.  

It's good that you recognize that your marital situation had occurred and things went the way they did and that is a separate issue from your care for this other person.  I don't know if you have worked on trying to save the marriage which would require likely a lot of counseling and changes or if he is not interested in that, there's not much can be turned around, it does take two...I am not assuming anything, I don't know all you have been through already.  Right now your heart is broken and everything must seem confusing, and for that I am truly sorry.  To top it off you likely have kids' feelings and responses to deal with.  I encourage you to focus on your own inner healing and care right now...be very patient and understanding of yourself.   When I went through the divorce (it was a very small town) I received a lot of judgment from people who knew nothing about our situation.  I remember a neighbor calling me at work and telling me they wish I'd moved and he'd stayed.  Nice.  I used to look in the mirror every morning and tell myself, "It won't be like this forever."  And it wasn't.  Survival trick, it helps.  I also posted a sign up in front of my desk (there was a counter above so no one but me saw it) that read, "Your value does not depend on what others think of you."  And it doesn't.  Only you and your maker know what is inside.  So rest in that, assured you will get through this time and you will be amazed at all you learn about yourself in the years to come.  That way you can look at even this very hard place as a treasure trove of learning experiences so you can see that even good can come from very hard places.  God we never relish the hard places, don't ask for them or wish for them, but it's true, those are the places I've learned the most!  Perhaps some of what has happened needed to in order to bring your life to a better more peaceful place.  And who knows what will occur with this man in the future, some things we can't always predict.  Right now though, focus on you just as he is also focusing on himself and getting through his hard place.  I hope you have some friends or at least one close one that you can bare your soul to and trust to be confidential and understanding, someone who knows you well.  Perhaps a sister?  I thank God for mine, we have been through everything together and always supported each other.  There is no price you can put on that, whether it's a sister from birth or a sister by choice.

Meanwhile, I hope you'll feel free to come here whenever you want, pour out your soul, know you will be listened to and cared about.  I hope your nights get easier and sleep comes more easily.  You might want to talk to your doctor about it, perhaps get something to help you sleep, it's sure hard to work on little sleep!  Been there!

22 hours ago, Chlor said:

How does it happen that one day I am the most special person hes waited his whole life for and the next day nothing. How could he just throw me away? How can I go on?

That's the million dollar question...I never did figure that one out except some percentage of people do respond this way in grief.  As for how to go on...one day at a time, focusing on you, maybe seeing a counselor, visiting a doctor, meditation, whatever helps you get through the day, then get up and do it all over again.  Right now the pain is dwarfing, in time it will lessen, I promise you.

 

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22 hours ago, Chlor said:

Greetings, I decided to reach out to this community after reading most of the stories of love and loss that are strikingly similar to mine in many ways. First of all, I would like to convey that I am so sorry that any of us has to go through this kind of pain. It is almost relentless; the feeling that I cant breathe, cant focus, waking me up at night, squeezing my heart and cutting me off from any sense of joy.  Is this what grief feels like? Before I share about my situation, I would also like to ask that you try to suspend judging me for aspects of my situation that some may find objectionable as my heart is pure with love and so broken by loss.

Ill start with the controversial stuff. Im in the process of separating from a long term marriage that has been troubled for decades. Over the years, we developed completely separate lifestyles, which reduced the amount of fighting but resulted in estrangement.  His passion for performing arts keeps him singularly focused on the next gig and life on the road while I maintained stable employment and raised the kids on my own. As the kids got older, I developed my own interests and connections that kept me busy but at the core lonely and ashamed of being a married woman , always alone, essentially living a single life. I longed for a partner to share my life with.

Aside from the usual fear of change, the main factor keeping me from breaking up the household is my younger child (I have 2). She is now 19 and recently went through a serious rebellious phase where I almost lost her.  Given all that she was into, Im lucky and grateful that she lives at home, is doing very well now, and going off to college in a couple of months. The family unit has been an important a stabilizing force and Ive been reluctant to break up the household before she moves out.

Don't feel bad about this, my mother did the same thing with my mostly absent father. When he wasn't working, he was out gallivanting with women, his friends, working on home improvement projects, buying "project cars" and anything else he could do to avoid being present. They were married for 16 years and had 4 kids. After so long living the "married single life" and raising 4 kids and her adult husband, my mom just said "enough" and divorced him.

22 hours ago, Chlor said:

So we went back and forth but our love deepened further each day as I worked to find a way out of my situation. We started making plans for the future that we were both excited about. I explored many options before finding a lawyer that laid out a good plan. I was all set to have the conversation with my husband a couple of weeks ago while my daughter was on a class trip abroad. Then something unthinkable happened.

3 days before she was set to leave for her trip, we took his adult son out to dinner. The son was on home leave after 8 months of sobriery at rehab far away. It was to be his last night in town and we had a wonderful dinner together before going to our separate homes. The next morning, the boy was found cold in his bed with foam coming out of his mouth. At some point on the night, he relapsed and died of an overdose.

When my sweetie told me what happened, I raced to him.  His sons body was still in the house as well as several relatives, his sons mother and her husband. We hugged each other for a long time. Then the family set about making calls to tell people what happened. 

Every ounce of my being wanted only to take care of my sweetie. It did not feel right fir him to spend the night alone in the house where hours earlier he found his son dead. Ipacked an overnight bag, prepared to tell my family eveything. But he didnt want me to stay. Instead, his most recent exwife (they divorced 8 yeare ago) slept on the couch

For the next few days leading up to the funeral the house was full of friends and relatives. He started formally introducing me as his girlfriend and I finally met the ex wife.  It was uncomfortable at first as I sensed that she resented me abd felt competitive. I did my best to be gracious toward her and we seemed to get along well enough.

Emotionally, my sweetie was all over the map. When everyone left and we were alone he would alternate between extreme love and appreciation, flashes of anger, remorse, etc. At the end of it all, he would tell how good I am for him and reassure me that I have his heart. 

At the funeral reception, he had several flashes of anger toward me about nonsense (ex I ate the brownie) but we parted on loving terms. It hurt my heart but I stayed strong when I was with him and my heart stayed with him 100%. I returned home feeling so wrought and like I could not continue living like this. In the morning, I had "the conversation" and broke up with my husband. At my lawyers advice, I had arranged a place to stay to be a haven where I could stay when things got tense without giving up presence in my own home.

My sweetie did not know anything about my move. I didnt want to stress him out. But sonehow, as if by magic, he seemed to shift. He didnt want to see me again until the weekend. We kept in touch my text, but now I became the iniator and his responses were flat and devoid of love. 

After 3 days, we got together for dinner on Saturday. In person, it was affectionate and close. He shared about his feelings of grief and I told him about how I launched. I felt conforted in his presence that we would both be okay.

That was the last time I saw him. He made plans for the next day that he would not tell me about. His messages were sparse and he repearedly cancelled plans to get together to talk saying he cant see me, was tired and couldnt focus. This went on for a week before I called him and asked what's going on. He said his exwife had spent a lot of time at his house and he us confused about his feelings, doesnt want yo get involved in my marital conflict, and he cant think or focus. He said that he had not gotten back together with the ex, nor had they been intimate, but he feels he needs to make q decision. I let himknow that I would not compete with his ex and so would stop initiating contact. The last thing he said was "I do love you".

That was more than a week ago and I have heard nothing from him. I feel that he is lost to me. The grief, compounded by my own grief for his son, feels unbearable. Reading your stories, I see that it is not uncommon for a grieving person to shut love out. But still, Im devastated that he did not protect our relationship, which was beautiful and had a future.  That he chose to shut me out in favor of his most recent ex (they do not share any children) who bickers with him and left him mostly because she did not approve of his parenting.

I feel so broken inside. I know I need to move ahead with legally dissolving my family but hardly have the strength to function at all. I sleep on the ciuch at home, cant focus at work and keep making mistakes. I repeatedly replay all these events and berate myself for not making myself more available earlier. I am on pins and needles both longing for and dreading he will get in touch. So far, nothing.

How does it happen that one day I am the most special person hes waited his whole life for and the next day nothing. How could he just throw me away? How can I go on?

Sorry this has gotten so long. And for any writing errors and typos as Im using my phone for this post.  Love and gratitude to anyone that has read this far and has any insight to share.  

 

I acted very similarly towards my boyfriend after my best friend killed himself 8 years ago, I had just turned 20. I was all over the place emotionally, neglected him physically and abandoned our relationship. We did not break up, and were living together. But after 4 months of me being depressed, angry and neglecting myself and him, he was right to want to break up if I did not seek therapy. We worked things out once I started taking therapy seriously, but it did damage our relationship. We ended things a few years later for unrelated reasons.

My ex-boyfriend Tim behaved this way after his dad died 3.5 years ago. At first, he told me he didn't want to break up, but then disappeared for three months after. He then tried to reconcile, and he treated similarly as your lover is doing to you. He would be hot n cold, burst out at me in anger, treat me less than loving, and wouldn't answer my texts for days. I finally decided to walk away after he stood me up at dinner one night and didn't reply to my texts. That same day he told me he loved me before we both left for work.

I beat myself up over this for a long time after with the "what if's," please don't do that to yourself. It won't be this way forever, but it's hard to see this when you're in the thick of loss and grief.

I wish I could answer your question of "How does it happen..." but I can't. All I can say is that his behavior is not your fault, or a result of anything that you did. His inability to to see your worth does not mean you don't have any. He is clearly having some issues dealing with his current situation, but his leaving you for someone else (even if it's a knee-jerk reaction to his son's death) should be a massive red flag. Some months from now, his feeling may be settled and he will have to sit with what he's done to you. Until then, he may not be able to give you any answers or explanations, and he may never give you any at all. Don't wait for them. It will only keep you stuck.

You can go on. It just takes time for the tears to stop and the mental agony to subside.

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Thank you Kayc and Rae for your very thoughtful and loving responses. Its helpful to hear from both sides of this dilemma.

In fact, this particular ex-wife (shes the last of 3 - they share no children in common ) has interfered with all of his other relationships since their divorce 8 years ago and its sonething Ive been anxious about all along. Our relationship seems to have lasted the longest and gone deeper than the rest.

 Not long before his son died, sweetie sensed my anxiety and promised he would never leave me for her. He explained his girlfriends over the years were really good women but he did not love any of them; its harder than I realize to find someone, that its taken years and years to find me and thats not something to be taken for granted.  I am so special, good for him, etc. And so I let go my anxiety, opened my heart completely and trusted him. 

Since I havent heard from him in more than a week, I think Rae is right and I can assume he decided to go back with the ex.  And that hurts so much more than a total retreat which, knowing him, seems unlikely but is still remotely possible.  I am a very strong person who can handle the all the moods and walls that go up with grief, except being left for the ex. Maybe it would have happened eventually, even if his son was alive and well. But thats also impossible to say.

Im still chewing on whether his grief can be a mitigating factor. My friends all say that he isnt accountable for crazy reactions during these initial weeks;  that he and the ex divorced for a reason; give him time and space, which I am doing, and he will return. Then I remember and believe in all the love he professed and get hopeful.  

But that hope also keeps me attached to an outcome with him. And so the pain rushes back in force each time I look at my phone and see that he has not contacted me. Because, truly, I have waited a lonely lifetime to meet a someone that I love and with whom I want to share my life. Thats him. Clearly he does not value me the same way. And thats truly devastating. Even if he does come back around, how could I trust him? If I reengage with him after being devalued in this way, could he possibly respect and treasure me as I deserve?

Please forgive me for sounding like a broken record. These are the questions that keep spinning like a tornado in my mind. Obviously my hearts desire is for him to return to me. But I know you guys are right that I need to focus on my own healing. I believe you both that time will help. In the meantime, what else can I do make that happen? Im so tired of walking wounded and I need my strength to deal with my marriage, the dissolution of which will surely come with its own grieving process.

 

 

 

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When my ex-fiance and I resumed contact, he yanked me around emotionally, all over the place.  I realized he didn't know his own mind and I couldn't pay heed to what he said relationship wise because of it.  I learned to build a wall around my heart to protect it from further hurt from him and let any relationship talk go in one ear and out the other.  It was the best thing I could have done, he would call every day, then not for a couple of weeks, say he loved me, then retreat, it was crazy on me emotionally!  Don't need that.  BTW, now his ex-wife has been living with him for a couple of years as one of his roommates.  They are not a couple, in fact she dates, but they are clearly "family".  Neither he nor I have dated anyone in the years since.

One of the things I have learned in my experience is this is not personal.  It's not necessarily that they didn't love us or mean what they said, but something changed for them the day their grief took over...and their love is not what WE need or deserve in life.  I speak for myself mainly as only you can decide for yourself what your value is and what you deserve.  Unfortunately, this FEELS very personal.  :(

You ask what you can do.  Keep busy.  Schedule some fun time into your life, have some girl time!  I took a trip to one of my sister's after this happened, it helped.  Have something planned to look forward to.  Spend some time volunteering, it really is a win/win, it gets you out and focused on others instead of your grief and in so doing will be great self-care for yourself!  Give yourself positive self-talk.  Remind yourself this will lessen every day little by little.  And you may want to schedule some time with a counselor to help you through this.

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Thank you, kayc, for the suggestions and fir sharing your experiences.  Ive been re-reading your's and Rae's responses as well as messages on other threads and it is really helping me to shift my focus away from regret about  how, because of my marital status, I actually am worth less because I could not truly give him the kind of steady support he needs and deserves, to what is good for me.

Maybe the intensity of grief serves to hasten the inevitable by washing away the griever's BS to reveal their hidden truth. I realize that he has kept this particular ex in his back pocket for 8 years and this would not necessarily change once my status does, even after our relationship moves forward.  I remember when he was in the initial throws of grief he told me that he could only focus on the most important people in his life. Everything else felt like intolerable chatter. Initially, it seemed that his sons death was drawing us closer. But once the ex fully stepped in (he invited it) that fell away fast.  I became chatter.

Im sure he really did love me. But he loves her more. Maybe the balance would be different under different circumstances, but maybe not. Rae, thank you for pointing out the red flag. Its actually a dealbreaker.

Right now, whats good for me is to move forward with my life.  Let go of this man but keep the lesson, which is that I really need to cut ties with my marriage as I do want to be available to love. Making sense of this helps to take the immediate squeeze off my heart.  I was able to actually enjoy time with friends last night. Im looking forward to being able to focus on other things. One step at a time. 

 

 

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On 4/27/2019 at 5:23 PM, Chlor said:

In fact, this particular ex-wife (shes the last of 3 - they share no children in common ) has interfered with all of his other relationships since their divorce 8 years ago and its sonething Ive been anxious about all along. Our relationship seems to have lasted the longest and gone deeper than the rest.

 Not long before his son died, sweetie sensed my anxiety and promised he would never leave me for her. He explained his girlfriends over the years were really good women but he did not love any of them; its harder than I realize to find someone, that its taken years and years to find me and thats not something to be taken for granted.  I am so special, good for him, etc. And so I let go my anxiety, opened my heart completely and trusted him. 

Since I havent heard from him in more than a week, I think Rae is right and I can assume he decided to go back with the ex.  And that hurts so much more than a total retreat which, knowing him, seems unlikely but is still remotely possible.  I am a very strong person who can handle the all the moods and walls that go up with grief, except being left for the ex. Maybe it would have happened eventually, even if his son was alive and well. But thats also impossible to say.

Im still chewing on whether his grief can be a mitigating factor. My friends all say that he isnt accountable for crazy reactions during these initial weeks;  that he and the ex divorced for a reason; give him time and space, which I am doing, and he will return. Then I remember and believe in all the love he professed and get hopeful.  

But that hope also keeps me attached to an outcome with him. And so the pain rushes back in force each time I look at my phone and see that he has not contacted me. Because, truly, I have waited a lonely lifetime to meet a someone that I love and with whom I want to share my life. Thats him. Clearly he does not value me the same way. And thats truly devastating. Even if he does come back around, how could I trust him? If I reengage with him after being devalued in this way, could he possibly respect and treasure me as I deserve?

Please forgive me for sounding like a broken record. These are the questions that keep spinning like a tornado in my mind. Obviously my hearts desire is for him to return to me. But I know you guys are right that I need to focus on my own healing. I believe you both that time will help. In the meantime, what else can I do make that happen? Im so tired of walking wounded and I need my strength to deal with my marriage, the dissolution of which will surely come with its own grieving process.

I don't mean to sound judgmental, but your ex sounds like my father in how he handles relationships. My parents divorced 19 years ago now, and to this day he still claims to love my mom and not been able to get over her, that he "would've done anything to fix their marriage and that it wasn't fair of her to just divorce him without trying first..." except, she did try and he had 16 years and 10 thousand chances to fix their marriage, and he squandered all of them because he assumed she wouldn't leave him. He's now been married and divorced 3 times, engaged 6 times, he's 52. He claims to have loved every single woman, and I'm sure he did, but his emotional unavailability, emotional problems/trauma and his unwillingness to fix himself became his own destruction. Every time he got divorced or broke off an engagement, he'd make a joke about getting back together with my mom. *eyeroll* It sounds like your ex is trying to fill his emotional voids/wounds with relationships in a similar way as my dad. He wants my mom because she's familiar to him, and she put up with his nonsense the longest, and because of their kids, has been the only constant female presence in his life, despite my mother wanting nothing from him except to be a good dad. Maybe he ran back to her because she was familiar to him, and as you said, he kept her in his back pocket because he knew she'd always be available to him, and he may still love her. He sounds emotionally unavailable, too.

Don't listen to your friends in that he has no culpability for his behavior. He absolutely does. Grief may blind us temporarily, but after so long, the behavior becomes a conscious, deliberate decision. He is absolutely culpable for going back to his ex, unless she held a gun to his head and forced him, or kidnapped him, he knew exactly what he was doing. Don't ever let someone try to legitimize bad behavior, as if you were deserving of it, because that's what they're saying to you. "Let it slide because he's sad, he'll come back after he licks his wounds and has had his fill of her, it's not his fault." NO. That's just emotional manipulation.

Even if he didn't go back to his ex, what he's doing isn't fair to you. There's no magic formula to make them come back. I did the same with Tim, gave him time and space, even though he never actually broke up with me, he did the opposite by saying he wasn't breaking up, and then disappeared. It sounds like that's what your lover is doing, and even if he hasn't gone back to her, he may not return, or he may be someone you no longer want to be with/not who you thought he was. He may also string you along, as kayc and I have both experienced because he's confused, so he takes it out on you. Don't let someone else's confusion become yours. Misery loves company, but so does confusion. Part of the reason it was so hard for me to let go of Tim was because after his father died, who he really is came out, and I didn't want to believe he could be so cold and cruel. I'd see flickers of the man I fell in love with, and that's why I got back together with him, I was confused and in denial because I loved him, but it was short lived and I was left heartbroken by the same person twice. Don't ever let someone tell you they don't want you twice. Holding onto the belief he may come back will keep you stuck. You deserve happiness too, and it's okay if it's not with him. Ditch the belief that there will be closure, or an outcome with him, because he may never give it to you, and expecting him to treat you better and that you deserve closure will only hurt you in the long run. You need to create that closure for yourself. Learn to answer your own questions, as Kayc and I had to because our exes were never going to give us the answers. Maybe the idea of someone else giving us closure is a myth, but who knows. Joe finally answered my question, 5 years after the fact. By then I was having none of it and no longer cared, because I had forgiven him for my own sanity, not his.

You mentioned not wanting to walk around wounded. There's no quick fix to this. The same way there's no quick fix to losing weight or physical wounds. Wounds take time to heal, and sure, you could fill them temporarily with dating, food, exercise, whatever else, but void filling will only make the wound deeper, and eventually infected, as this inability to face your grief and let your wounds heal will cause that sadness to bleed onto everything else in your life. Speaking from personal experience, this route will only make everything worse. Waiting 4 months to seek counseling after Dave killed himself was a mistake that nearly ruined my relationship and life. Let yourself sit with the grief, cry, feel, seek therapy, find new hobbies, join a club, gym or activities group. These things will help keep your mind off constantly licking the wound (like a cone on a dog/cat after surgery), while also letting it heal properly. Don't feel bad or ashamed for feeling bad, you're hurt and only human, you're allowed to have feelings about his behavior, as well as your own grief from his son's death and losing your relationship. 

It will take time. Took me about 4 months to stop crying regularly after Tim ghosted me the second time. I'd have to drive by his apartment, where we went on our first date, etc and for the first few months it was like reopening the wound each time. But eventually, I said to myself that I wasn't going to cry over him anymore because he didn't deserve it, and neither did I.

In hindsight, we would've ended anyways. But it took me well over a year and moving to a new state for a job and reflection of my life now compared to then to come to this realization and conclusion. 

Read the thread "Why would someone end a good relationship while grieving?" from Miri in 2011. Scroll onto page 3 of the thread, read Ron B.'s two posts in response to what Miri said. He gives some amazing advice.

It won't be this way forever. But you can't rush it. As much as you may want to, you need to feel the heartbreak in order for it to start healing.

--Rae :)

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13 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

Don't listen to your friends in that he has no culpability for his behavior. He absolutely does.

 

13 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

Don't let someone else's confusion become yours.

 

13 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

You need to create that closure for yourself.

 

13 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

Took me about 4 months to stop crying regularly

Agree on all of the above!  

Below is a link the the thread referenced, see Ron B.'s longer response ab out 1/3 of the way down:

 

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Wow Rae, once again, thank you for caring and sharing so much of your own life. What was it like for you to grow up with a Dad who is like that?

I keep re reading your message because you touch on so many important points. And I agree that the way he is treating me is not good for me and that I need to find my own closure. When I read your words and can really accept this position, my level of distress goes down a lot. During these moments, I can breathe a little. Also, from this vantage point, I start to imagine how his ex must have felt being kept in his back pocket for 8 years.  Her behavior toward me is a clue that she has been strung along but also that she is manipulative herself and likes to control him.  There must be a reason they did not get back together all that time. 

Unfortunately, Im not able to hang strong in that position just yet. Like it or not, my heart waits and hopes he will come back. That the sweetness of the love we shared will carry him back to me.

I guess the other piece that keeps me hooked is the question about whether my marital status is a viable mitigating factor.  Although he promised to wait for me and I was taking active steps to free myself, it definitely put limits on our relationship. How could he not be confused about dating a married woman, especially at the worst time in his life when what he really needs is a steady partner?

On the one hand, he definitely knows I am not confused; my heart has been with him 100%. I made myself totally available after his son died. But my staying overnight was a personslly risky proposition that I was willing to take but he was not comfortable with. 

Also consider that death is a family matter.  After a more than a year together, most his family and friends knew me. But they do not know that Im married. So we dancer around that dirty secret, never daring to be physically demonstrative in front of others. In the days after his sons death, he started officially introducing me as his girlfriend, even in front of his ex. But I wasnt bold enough to hug him or kiss him in front of others as I wanted to .

He needs and deserves a partner fully at his side without controversy.  As much as I yearn for it to be me, that could only happen with a certain subterfuge. His ex was free for that and he engaged her to do so. He knew what he was doing but he was also taking care of himself.  

In short, my big regret is that it took so long for me to take action with my marriage that I wasnt available enough to support the man I love in his hour of need. And once I finally make the move, it will be too late.  

Of course, once I became fully available, he might have left me for his ex anyway, even if his son were alive. Theres no way to know. So, for now, all I can do is assume they are together and move on.  Im jealous and I hate this.

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Thank you, KayC for the supportive comments and the link.  I read everything and feel a lot better so far tonight. Although my position in life is not ideal, even problemmatic, my heart is pure and I didnt do anything to hurt him. I cant say the same for him. Youre right, I did nothing wrong.  He pushed me away when I tried to protect and care for him and did nothing to protect my heart or our growing relationship.

Perhaps he is justified in getting rid of his married girlfriend when stuff gets real. But he promised he would nit leave me for his ex and its hard to imagine how he would ever respect me in my  future singledom if I were to engage with him after something like this. So I need to find some kind of closure that I can stick with. The support Im getting from you, Rae and the other people who share their stories have been so healing. I am forever grateful. 

 

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8 hours ago, Chlor said:

I guess the other piece that keeps me hooked is the question about whether my marital status is a viable mitigating factor.

Caution:  Do not end your marriage in the hopes of getting him back.  If your marriage ends it must be on it's own merits...that it is not meant to be and not able to work.  

8 hours ago, Chlor said:

Like it or not, my heart waits and hopes he will come back.

Letting go of that hope is the first step towards healing.  Until then you will be thwarting your progress.  I know this from experience.  The day I determined not to cry over Jim again was the day I let go of what he said and refused to let him yank me around emotionally any more.  That is the day I began my healing process.  Prior to that my tears were from an open wound that was not healing.  From that day forward my wound began to heal.  

I do not want a partner that is not all in for me.  I have been alone since Jim, so it's been many years but I have learned a lot in the years since about myself and can honestly say I'm more ready now.  I may be alone the rest of my life too, and that's also okay.  I am at peace with myself.

7 hours ago, Chlor said:

I need to find some kind of closure that I can stick with.

We create our own closure.  Most of the time we wait for closure from someone else, we do not get it.  We are not dependent on their actions to create the steps we need to take for ourselves!

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9 hours ago, Chlor said:

Wow Rae, once again, thank you for caring and sharing so much of your own life. What was it like for you to grow up with a Dad who is like that?

It became noticeable as I got older, that anytime he was home, he was in the garage, watching TV or finding another thing to fix. He spent time with us, but it always seemed to come with conditions, especially as we got older. Our grandparents filled the gaps, my grandma ran a daycare, and we'd spend the Summer going to Cubs games with our grandpa so our parents had some time off from us. After my parents divorce my dad ran off for a few years and came back married. By then we had lost our house because my dad refused to help my mom with the mortgage or child support. He came back and expected my mom to share custody (to dodge CS), and they spent all the rest of my teenage years in and out of court arguing. I still didn't fully understand what was going on, but the resentment and emotional damage had already been done. I didn't really start connecting the dots until my grandpa died in 2010. In therapy I figured out that a lot of my emotional problems came from the unstable attachment patterns I had learned as a kid from my parents' absence. My siblings and I were always in sports, got good grades or went out of our way to please our parents, but it never seemed enough for them. They were always working, so without our grandma we were basically latchkey kids.

It was an odd way to grow up, but I am glad I figured this out in my 20s instead of repeating their same patterns into my 40s and 50s. I don't see marriage as a bad thing, but I am aware of how to NOT do relationships now at almost 28 years old LOL. Both from watching my parents, and from my own bad experiences. Romantic relationships and marriage aren't the keys to happiness, and it's unhealthy that society says they are.

9 hours ago, Chlor said:

I keep re reading your message because you touch on so many important points. And I agree that the way he is treating me is not good for me and that I need to find my own closure. When I read your words and can really accept this position, my level of distress goes down a lot. During these moments, I can breathe a little. Also, from this vantage point, I start to imagine how his ex must have felt being kept in his back pocket for 8 years.  Her behavior toward me is a clue that she has been strung along but also that she is manipulative herself and likes to control him.  There must be a reason they did not get back together all that time. 

Unfortunately, Im not able to hang strong in that position just yet. Like it or not, my heart waits and hopes he will come back. That the sweetness of the love we shared will carry him back to me.

I guess the other piece that keeps me hooked is the question about whether my marital status is a viable mitigating factor.  Although he promised to wait for me and I was taking active steps to free myself, it definitely put limits on our relationship. How could he not be confused about dating a married woman, especially at the worst time in his life when what he really needs is a steady partner?

On the one hand, he definitely knows I am not confused; my heart has been with him 100%. I made myself totally available after his son died. But my staying overnight was a personslly risky proposition that I was willing to take but he was not comfortable with. 

Also consider that death is a family matter.  After a more than a year together, most his family and friends knew me. But they do not know that Im married. So we dancer around that dirty secret, never daring to be physically demonstrative in front of others. In the days after his sons death, he started officially introducing me as his girlfriend, even in front of his ex. But I wasnt bold enough to hug him or kiss him in front of others as I wanted to .

He needs and deserves a partner fully at his side without controversy.  As much as I yearn for it to be me, that could only happen with a certain subterfuge. His ex was free for that and he engaged her to do so. He knew what he was doing but he was also taking care of himself.  

In short, my big regret is that it took so long for me to take action with my marriage that I wasnt available enough to support the man I love in his hour of need. And once I finally make the move, it will be too late.  

Of course, once I became fully available, he might have left me for his ex anyway, even if his son were alive. Theres no way to know. So, for now, all I can do is assume they are together and move on.  Im jealous and I hate this.

It sounds to me like you being married wasn't so much the issue because you were transparent about it and he willingly accepted that condition but knew you were getting a divorce. If he didn't want to deal with that part of your relationship, he shouldn't have engaged you in a romantic way. His inability to let go of his past and cut ties with his exes sounds like the bigger problem. Emotionally Unavailable people tend to behave like this, they surround themselves with people that love them, and they feed off those people because its easier to be an emotional tourist than it is to confront your own problems. He sounds like a person that just wants to fill his life with stories and float in and out of women's lives/relationships because it's easy for him to do and requires no emotional expense. Now that his son has died, he has to face that grief, he doesn't have a choice, and he is reacting to it in the same way that I did--He is trying as hard as he can to mitigate and ignore the grief by latching onto whoever he can, and in this case, it's his ex.

He more than likely kept in contact with her over that 8 year span, and possibly even led her on or continued to "breadcrumb" her with romantic attention and sweet nothings through the years. Why else would she be so openly loving and accepting to a man she hasn't been involved with in almost a decade?

Sure, he needs and deserves a partner at his side without controversy, but so do you. As I said, he willingly engaged in a romantic relationship with you knowing full well you were in the throws of a divorce. While the death of a loved one and a divorce are two completely different life scenarios, it doesn't excuse his behavior toward you.

9 hours ago, Chlor said:

He needs and deserves a partner fully at his side without controversy.  As much as I yearn for it to be me, that could only happen with a certain subterfuge. His ex was free for that and he engaged her to do so. He knew what he was doing but he was also taking care of himself.  

In short, my big regret is that it took so long for me to take action with my marriage that I wasnt available enough to support the man I love in his hour of need. And once I finally make the move, it will be too late.  

Of course, once I became fully available, he might have left me for his ex anyway, even if his son were alive. Theres no way to know. So, for now, all I can do is assume they are together and move on. 

Divorces take time, and they are emotionally taxing on everyone involved. I don't think your divorce not being final is the problem here. He still had strings attached to his ex, obviously, and he was just waiting for the right moment to go back to her. That is quite clear. Yes he may be grieving and confused, but again, why would he suddenly out the blue, and seemingly out of character run back to a woman he hasn't been involved with in almost a decade? Because she's always been waiting in the wings for him. You seem to be accepting blame that doesn't belong to you. You answered your own question in the last sentence here: Once I became fully available, he might have left me for his ex anyway... And that, right there, is a pillar of emotional unavailability. He dates unavailable women for a reason, because it requires little if any real emotional effort/expense. But once you were fully available, he'd probably have left anyway because he had no intention of making himself available to you. Why was he pining after her for so long? Because in some way, she was unavailable to him and he got to chase her. The thrill of the chase is another pillar of EU types. He probably won't treat her any better, he's just using her to fill a void too.

Don't let him string you along the way he did her. My ex Tim did that to me, because he's EU too. I don't doubt that he loved me, but I do doubt that what he said about the future he wanted to have with me was nothing but lies. EU people can love, they're just really really terrible at following through on anything they say in regards to romantic relationships.

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1 hour ago, kayc said:

Caution:  Do not end your marriage in the hopes of getting him back.  If your marriage ends it must be on it's own merits...that it is not meant to be and not able to work.  

Letting go of that hope is the first step towards healing.  Until then you will be thwarting your progress.  I know this from experience.  The day I determined not to cry over Jim again was the day I let go of what he said and refused to let him yank me around emotionally any more.  That is the day I began my healing process.  Prior to that my tears were from an open wound that was not healing.  From that day forward my wound began to heal.  

I do not want a partner that is not all in for me.  I have been alone since Jim, so it's been many years but I have learned a lot in the years since about myself and can honestly say I'm more ready now.  I may be alone the rest of my life too, and that's also okay.  I am at peace with myself.

We create our own closure.  Most of the time we wait for closure from someone else, we do not get it.  We are not dependent on their actions to create the steps we need to take for ourselves!

I second everything said here. I have not dated or been in a relationship in 3 years since Tim and I ended, and I have done more purposeful things alone than I ever did in any of my relationships. Romantic relationships are not the end all be all to life.

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 Hi Kayc,

The issue with my marriage is that my husband has never been all in for me. He lives for his next gig and that has taken precedence over anything happening with me or our family. It has been a source of pain, loneliness, and shame for more than two decades. In short, we never really had a life together. I and my children have been sideline acts, where he drops in when theres nothing else happening. It makes me feel like property.

Ive been yearning to share my life with someone who excited to experience it with me. The fact that I fell in love with another man is a serious problem in and of itself. The timing of his sons death and his subsequent retreat really stinks because it took place at the very same time that I finally starting acting to make my move.

 

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Just a quick note to thank you both for your generous and good counsel. Ive had a busy day today but hope to follow up tomorrow with a longer message. For now, please know that I am fortified by your words of support.  Today has been the first somewhat functional day in a long time. 

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15 hours ago, Chlor said:

Just a quick note to thank you both for your generous and good counsel. Ive had a busy day today but hope to follow up tomorrow with a longer message. For now, please know that I am fortified by your words of support.  Today has been the first somewhat functional day in a long time. 

 

On 4/30/2019 at 9:10 AM, Rae1991 said:

He more than likely kept in contact with her over that 8 year span, and possibly even led her on or continued to "breadcrumb" her with romantic attention and sweet nothings through the years. Why else would she be so openly loving and accepting to a man she hasn't been involved with in almost a decade?

Sure, he needs and deserves a partner at his side without controversy, but so do you. As I said, he willingly engaged in a romantic relationship with you knowing full well you were in the throws of a divorce. While the death of a loved one and a divorce are two completely different life scenarios, it doesn't excuse his behavior toward yiu.

Rae, thank you for this. I'm sure yiu heard this before but you are wise beyond your years! You're right. He has kept in constant contact and she has been waiting in the wings all this time. If I ever had a doubt about it, her emotionality upon meeting me is proof enough.

Early in our relationship he told me that he needed to completely cut her out of his life, no contact whatsoever, in order to focus on me.. I felt that he should do this when he is ready. As a married, I felt it would be hypocritical of me to pressure him. Plus, I really believe that strongarming him to cut her off would not stop him from contacting her if thats what he wants to do. If anything, the taboo would only make her more tantalizing in his eyes. I wanted him to choose me of his own free will.

As our relationship developed, he lead me to believe she was out of the picture. Until a couple of months ago when he accidentally sent me a text that was meant for her. It was q perfectly ordinary, non romantic bit of communication. But still.

In any event, I think youre right. He engaged me in a romantic relationship, even though he knew I was embarking on a divorce and knowing full well that he was waiting for the right moment to go back to her. In fact, he still keeps his wedding ring in a tray on his bedroom dresser. Shame on him.

Focusing on this really helps me understand how and why he is not good for me.  And that helps me to keep my gaze forward. I am starring to come out of the haze - have been able to concentrate at work and enjoy dance practice.

Now the challenge will be to avoid getting sucked back in. . After 2 weeks of no contact, I just received a text message from him. It was not very coherent, contained a couple of apologies. For example e did not expect "these things" (whatever that means) to happen and is sorry it negatively affected us. It ended with "we can talk sometime". 

I cant tell what he is looking for from me. And each rereading only brings a fresh swell of pain as I imagine him back with his ex and looking for exoneration. Or to keep me as an option.  He wont get either from me. So what ireally is there to say? I got all the closure I need 2 weeks ago during our phone call when he said he had feelings for the ex. And from my online conversations with you both. I hope I can stay strong on this. 

 

 

 

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18 hours ago, Chlor said:

Rae, thank you for this. I'm sure yiu heard this before but you are wise beyond your years! You're right. He has kept in constant contact and she has been waiting in the wings all this time. If I ever had a doubt about it, her emotionality upon meeting me is proof enough.

Early in our relationship he told me that he needed to completely cut her out of his life, no contact whatsoever, in order to focus on me.. I felt that he should do this when he is ready. As a married, I felt it would be hypocritical of me to pressure him. Plus, I really believe that strongarming him to cut her off would not stop him from contacting her if thats what he wants to do. If anything, the taboo would only make her more tantalizing in his eyes. I wanted him to choose me of his own free will.

As our relationship developed, he lead me to believe she was out of the picture. Until a couple of months ago when he accidentally sent me a text that was meant for her. It was q perfectly ordinary, non romantic bit of communication. But still.

In any event, I think youre right. He engaged me in a romantic relationship, even though he knew I was embarking on a divorce and knowing full well that he was waiting for the right moment to go back to her. In fact, he still keeps his wedding ring in a tray on his bedroom dresser. Shame on him.

Focusing on this really helps me understand how and why he is not good for me.  And that helps me to keep my gaze forward. I am starring to come out of the haze - have been able to concentrate at work and enjoy dance practice.

Now the challenge will be to avoid getting sucked back in. . After 2 weeks of no contact, I just received a text message from him. It was not very coherent, contained a couple of apologies. For example e did not expect "these things" (whatever that means) to happen and is sorry it negatively affected us. It ended with "we can talk sometime". 

I cant tell what he is looking for from me. And each rereading only brings a fresh swell of pain as I imagine him back with his ex and looking for exoneration. Or to keep me as an option.  He wont get either from me. So what ireally is there to say? I got all the closure I need 2 weeks ago during our phone call when he said he had feelings for the ex. And from my online conversations with you both. I hope I can stay strong on this. 

I would start by if not fully removing him from your social media, at least removing his posts from your feed. Change his name in your phone to something like "Went back to ex" or something like that as a reminder of how he behaved, delete the number or block it all together. It's hard to do at first, but it's necessary. 

As far as him "talking to you," if he contacts you and YOU feel like talking, let him talk, but do not let him excuse his behavior with "I was just confused, and I didn't know what to do, I still wanna stay friends/in contact/get back together" etc. That's how he keeps you on the hook, and excuses himself from blame for what he's done. You already are aware that based on how he's lied about his ex being around, he's not gonna stay in contact with you only to be friends. It's okay to still love him, have feelings for him, and miss your relationship. But what's important is to not let those feelings or his empty words of endearment draw you back and keep you on the hook. I made that mistake, and no good came of it. Until he shows that he's done the necessary work on himself to deal with his problems (which may be never), he doesn't deserve you. "Want to do XYZ" don't mean sh*t, until he actively deals with his problems, he will not change.

He betrayed you and your relationship by running back to his ex, and also leaving you after his son died. For that, there needs to be consequences, like him not having access or contact of you. He's cut off. If he contacts you, Just calmly tell him that you don't think it's a good idea for YOU (not him) to be in this relationship, and that you've been betrayed. And that you don't think it's healthy for YOU to be friends or stay in contact with him at this point in time. Maybe in a few months or a year when your feelings have settled off and you've moved on, you can be acquaintences/friends, but until then you need to do what's best for YOU. If you don't reconnect, that's okay too. You'll be better off regardless if you take back your power. He's already doing that for himself, don't give up your self-worth and esteem in favor of what he wants. You have the power now. Again, until he actually does something, "want to do" don't mean sh*t.

Remember: Don't trust his words, trust his actions AND patterns of behavior. He's done this before, he'll do it again. If he wanted to be with you, he would be, and he's made it clear he doesn't. 

You deserve better.

--Rae 

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As far as your divorce goes, as Kayc said, if the marriage is over and you want out, leave it. But do not get a divorce thinking that this man will come back or that a divorce is the answer to making him act right. A divorce does not change a man.

Get a divorce for YOURSELF. Because it's what's best for YOU.

My mother stayed with my dad thinking she could help him, fix him and because she loved him, had kids and built a life with him. For 16 years, she tried, but it wasn't good enough and she was left miserable, unsatisfied, "married but single" and wondering if she'd failed as a wife because the life she imagined for them never happened. 

I'm glad my parents are divorced now. They're better off. That misery was palpable and noticeable. My mom has the degrees and life she couldn't get in her 20s and 30s, and my dad is still stuck in his ways yearning for the past. *shrugs*

My mom said: At first, you wonder how you'll survive without, and that's why you stay. But eventually things get so bad you just say "f**k it, I'll figure it out, I can't deal with this anymore." And you survive, you find a way, and it's not as scary as you thought. 

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Chlor,

I understand perfectly, I went through a long marriage with someone who was never there for me emotionally or intimately and we lived separate lives even though raising a family and attending church together.  It's hard to explain but he lived for his job and friends and wouldn't include me in any of his personal activities. He wouldn't even sleep with me the last 15 years.  It was very hurtful.  I think he just shut off emotionally after Viet Nam, but he wouldn't get help for it.  I tried marriage counseling, he discontinued after one month and wouldn't heed anything she recommended.  He got a divorce after 23 years and I remarried, was extremely happy and then he died.  All too sudden, all too premature.  That was nearly 14 years ago.

19 hours ago, Chlor said:

I cant tell what he is looking for from me.

It sounds like he wants to assuage his guilt.  It does not sound like he's looking to resume relationship.  I know this is hard and it's painful, but I hope you can proceed with what is in YOUR best interest, you can be assured he is doing what he feels he needs to do for HIMSELF.  I understand there are no villains here, it's hard to predict what "would have happened" had his son not died, but one thing I've learned in my experience is that how he is responding in his grief is likely how he would have responded at some point down the road when something hard hit.  Again, hard to predict, but people do have their own patterns and ways of responding and he is showing you what his is.  Damn, I wish it wasn't so hard, but I know all too well how hard it is!

 

46 minutes ago, Rae1991 said:

if the marriage is over and you want out, leave it. But do not get a divorce thinking that this man will come back or that a divorce is the answer to making him act right.
Get a divorce for YOURSELF. Because it's what's best for YOU.

What we are thinking when we make a decision is really important...so important that we do things for the right reasons and with the right ideas in mind.  You cannot change your husband, you cannot change this man, you can only move forward with what you know is best for YOU...it is to that end we wish you well. 

Circumstances don't always go as we want, yet I've learned nothing is a waste as we allow learning and personal growth to be present with us and we learn that life is about choices that we make and the future is open!

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On 4/30/2019 at 4:54 AM, kayc said:

We are not dependent on their actions to create the steps we need to take for ourselves!

 

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Again, thank you both for caring enough to so thoroughly support and encourage me during this difficult time. I seem to really need it because Im all over the map these days.  Is this what grieving a relationship is all about? Sometimes, I feel stronger, especially after re-reading your messages. During these times, I can focus on my own future happiness with the knowledge that, since he has shown his true colors as far as the ex is concerned and his capacity to betray me, it won't be found with him. 

But then at night, all the questions come back. I wake up in anguish. I dont know for sure that he did go back to his ex or even whether he thinks we broke up. I reread his message to me and find different meanings in it. For example, what "things" is he referring to and does he think that there is still an "us" to recover?  I will paste the contents below:

"I'm sorry.  Everything this year was everything I told you it was, everything we talked about. It was great. I hope things are not to bad , or ok in your situation.  I am ok and then I am not ok. I am just as worried about  [other son] , he lost his brother,  good grief.  We are working together,  talking alot. I of course did not anticipate these things happening  and I'm sorry they affected us negatively. We can talk some time"

Last night, I caved in and answered. I simply wrote "I dont know what to say". Its the truth and it doesnt give him access to any info about my life or my feelings.  Luckily, he is not on social media at all so there are no ties there to sever. And I already changed his name in my contact log to "remember your worth". I guess Im not yet ready to block his number entirely. Maybe soon.

I know you guys are right that I need to let go and focus on whats best for me.  On what brings me happiness. Why is that so hard? Especially since he has brought so much hurt, it does not make sense. 

Another concern is that when Im in pain, suddenly my marriage does not seem so bad. I have to work to remind myself of all the hurt and alienation I experienced.  All of that was real and Im looking at spending most of the summer at home alone again.  Why is it so hard for me to keep it real?

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It's evident that he has already gone so I don't think further relationship or break up talk is necessary.  Just keep focusing on you.  We like for everything to be neat and tidy, to "get closure" but that's not usually how it goes, we don't get whatever answers we're looking for, we have to provide our own closure.  43 years ago I was engaged to someone...he suddenly changed direction like the wind...he was supposed to go to Germany and get the family heirloom wedding rings...he went to Germany but never spoke again of the wedding rings or getting married.  I didn't have closure.  I never knew what happened inside him except surmised cold feet, which his friend had warned me about but I didn't believe him because this guy got on his knee and proposed marriage to me.  He wooed me and sang to me in German, played his Zither, he was very romantic and would talk to me for hours.  I didn't in my wildest dreams think he would suddenly go cold.  But he did.  No explanation, ever.  Years later I ran into him and he rewrote history, saying I had been a "rescue operation".  No. I was not.  I didn't accept it and told him so.  Then he tried to put it off on his mom.  No, again, didn't accept it.  I told him his mom had wrote to me for years, she wasn't someone who didn't want this.  When I did marry and five years later had my first child, she sent me a present.  I asked him if he wanted to read her letters, he said no.  Of course not.  They refuted what he was saying.

Sometimes we just don't get answers.  We have to make our own.  I learned whatever love he'd professed for me was sadly lacking.  He was weak willed and commitment phobic.  That's on him.  He never did marry.  In later years he's made lame attempts to get me, no, not happening!  He had his chance 43 years ago.  My memory is not lacking.  This is what we must do for ourselves, we must protect ourselves and be honest with ourselves and not let anyone snow us.

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4 hours ago, kayc said:

It's evident that he has already gone so I don't think further relationship or break up talk is necessary.  Just keep focusing on you.  We like for everything to be neat and tidy, to "get closure" but that's not usually how it goes, we don't get whatever answers we're looking for, we have to provide our own closure. 

Sometimes we just don't get answers.  We have to make our own.  I learned whatever love he'd professed for me was sadly lacking.  He was weak willed and commitment phobic.  That's on him.  He never did marry.  In later years he's made lame attempts to get me, no, not happening!  He had his chance 43 years ago.  My memory is not lacking.  This is what we must do for ourselves, we must protect ourselves and be honest with ourselves and not let anyone snow us.

What Kayc says here, is absolutely correct. Both times, with Tim and Joe, I expected them and felt they had an obligation to treat me with civility, respect, honesty and give me the closure I deserved, neither offered it.

Joe and I were engaged, living together and made plans for our future. The last year of our relationship was nothing but lies, deceit and arguments. While I was stubborn at times and didn't always do healthy things, I didn't cheat on him. He lied to me and was running after girls (he was 23, they were 18 or younger) at his job, and used his working hours as an excuse to date them. He lied for months, showed little affection, but still told me he loved me, planned our wedding with me and talked about normal couple things. Until one day he just decided he was leaving me for his 16 year old coworker. He gave all sorts of excuses, told me that he hasn't felt the same, he's too young to get married, if I had been a better girlfriend he wouldn't be leaving me, blah blah blah... Had he just been honest with me when his feelings changed and broken up with me a year prior, maybe things would've gone better for both of us. He didn't give me any closure, he just said, "I love you, but I like her...." and left. Years later he said he regrets what he did (because this girl did to him exactly what he did to me), and that he wanted to make it up to me and start over, that he still loved me, and that if he'd met me as an adult now, he wouldn't have cheated and been able to commit, etc. I was having none of it and no longer cared about his half-ass apology or regrets, he can live with those regrets, I have none. By then Tim and I had just ended and I was still in love with Tim, and didn't care to hear Joe's plea to have back what he willingly threw away for a quick, cheap thrill. But he was right, we were too young and I'm glad it didn't last because I was already outgrowing him, and would've divorced or left him by then anyway.

In both scenarios neither person offered me any explanation for their behavior. And I'm better off for it. It made me realize that their inability to show respect or take responsibility for what they do is not my fault. And, that they had no obligation to me, and I certainly don't to them. I treated them with respect because it's just who I am, who they are is nothing I can change. My only job was to love them, and I did. 

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Thank you both for your patience and support of me letting go.  And for sharing your own stories of coping with loss.  The denial and bargaining aspects of grieving this relationship have been maddening, which is not surprising given its vague ending and the complications of his grief/my impending divorce. Its all too much

Closure will come when I not only accept that it is truly over but that I want it to be. I appreciate all your help to recognize this mans own problems as separate from mine and to focus on healing myself. I may sound like a broken record, but you really have helped. I am getting there a little more each day.

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