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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As of this posting, it has been 3 months since hearing my STBX wanted a divorce - there was a 2 month period preceding this in which I was in limbo (she was unsure if the marriage was something she wanted). My story (as are most) - is both unique and tragic and at this point the events which led to this point are less of a concern to me than this road that I am traveling. What is worth mentioning is that there is no hatred between us and we agree on everything except the marriage. 17 years married and 20 years together.

The period of limbo was horrible. The divorce was not at all something I suspected or saw coming and was ill prepared for the onslaught of emotions which became a part of my existence for that 2 month period. I began seeing a therapist (never saw one before) right away on a weekly basis and while it helped with coping - it of course did nothing to stop what would become an inevitable end to my marriage. Upon hearing that divorce was 'the right choice' for her - I quickly descended into a dark place that was completely void of hope. Let's say that I still recall the taste in my mouth which is unique to that of a loaded shotgun. A place I'm happy to say I have not returned to since and likely will not again.

I am a deep thinker and at the beginning of this year (a month after the divorce was announced) I decided to take a break from seeing my therapist. I believe that I have a strong, rational mind which is capable of making sound decisions and began to discover that I am also very emotionally driven. I received a lot of input from people trying to 'help' me but given the destructive nature of divorce found it nearly impossible to 'do' many of the things which were suggested... even those things recommended by my therapist. So I spent 3 weeks in January - in a period of solitude having only human interaction (and little at that) in the workplace and none outside of that. Losing her had always been my greatest fear and realizing that I had already lost her, my new greatest fear became not recovering from this loss.

So I began to devour books on recovering from divorce, scoured the internet for information on the subject, and started to develop a plan that I could have faith in. I maintain absolutely minimal contact and interaction with her - and I have not seen her in person. I learned that 'feelings' come from 'thoughts' - this is not a good thing when someone is a deep thinker such as myself. I have learned, through my own experience and introspection that one cannot rationalize away their feelings or thoughts - that rationalizing, pondering, focusing on, questioning any of the thoughts or feelings only allow them to persist. I also learned more about the grieving process; having never grieved a loss before I tried to gain an understanding for what I could expect in the time to come. Finally, I decided that there would need to be a balance between passive and active healing in this process.

Being the emotionally driven person that I am - I have learned to filter any 'action' through my rational mind and trust its decision rather than 'doing' what felt right. I found that I would create reasons, make excuses, or somehow justify the need to contact her... a question about this, or to let her know about that - but my mind knows that contact must be minimal and I continue follow this approach.

I continue to remind myself to not fight with, resist, or get upset with any of the feelings I have. They are neither right or wrong - they just are. I learned to let go of thoughts beginning with the ones that bombarded me the most. I fumbled through this lesson for a couple of weeks before tuning into a method that works for me. So now, when the thoughts persist - I do not question why, I do not 'try' to think of something else, but rather I just start counting prime numbers or reciting the alphabet backwards. My goodness they can be persistent and I find that this is a battle that I wage many times a day.

The day after coming out of the 'dark place' I began journaling extensively. This served three purposes: (1) Something to do... an activity to pass some time, (2) this allowed me to get the thoughts and feelings that were inside me - out and, (3) to document this experience in my life - something which I would be able to return to (years from now) and see how I was able to overcome such a life changing adversity.

I have committed myself to honoring the grieving process. The fierce war that rages inside me between what my mind knows is real and true versus what my heart is desperate to have and is so reluctant to let go of. There are many battlefields in which I wage this war including the pages of my journal, in conversations with friends, and places such as this forum. I have come to accept that the process is slow and very long; that I cannot rush through the process. I understand that, with time, comes an end to this process.

I struggle with the passive versus active approach. My tendency is to want to 'do' nothing. I manage to work everyday - though I'm not as productive as I use to be nor am I as productive as I think I should be (I'm fortunate that my position is not demanding and my boss is understanding asking that I do what must be done when it needs to be done and that I may do 'whatever' during the other times. A lot of my time at work is 'the other time'). After work I spend the evening in my apartment and try to distract myself with TV, reading, journaling, or phone conversations. I do force myself out at least one night a week, dinner with a friend, grocery shopping, etc. I also do my best to make it out on the weekends - but have found I am not comfortable outside the walls of my apartment or my office. A fight I am continuing to fight.

During this 3 month period I have learned that this process (despite my preference) is not linear. Today does not have to be better than yesterday nor does tomorrow need to be better than today. There simply are good days and there are bad days.

Every day I carry around emotions that range in intensity, the ebb and flow that is so characteristic of the grieving process. Perspectives of my 'old' life, 'new' life, her, myself and the future are so difficult to maintain. And I find that at any given moment I am ambivalent threatened to be torn in half by hurt/sadness and anger.

So I venture on - walking this hard road. Despite the impression of composure that my writing may imply - I am a hot F***ing mess, but at the same time I am confident that I am moving through time toward a fully recovery. I continue to struggle with many of the 'things' that one can expect when trying to heal from an unwanted divorce. I still have urges to reach out to her, but those urges no longer feel like needs. From time to time it feels as though I am waiting for a phone call from her - that I know will never come. And at least once a day - I find that I am shocked that 'this' is where I am in life and that my marriage is over.
 

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Seeing a therapist, reading, journaling, learning about yourself, formulating a plan.....you have take many positive steps on your journey. I’m sure it hurts a lot and you experience many triggers throughout the day, but it sounds like you are well on your way to recovery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you Frostflower. You're absolutely right - the pain of this journey has at times seemed more than I could bear and everything seems to be a trigger. However, the feelings and their intensity are no where near where they were in the beginning. During the first 6 weeks or so - the feelings and thoughts completely consumed me and I experienced many physical symptoms related to anxiety and depression. Therapy helped significantly in by providing coping skills. Life itself was such a struggle - I felt completely dead inside and mentally checked out.

Two perspectives really helped me - (1) This is absolutely a self-rescue mission and (2) Nothing about this process will be quick.

It amazes me how much time is take to emotionally accept what the mind recognizes as truth right away. In my case - STBX had EA for over a year - there were illusions of 'working' on the marriage - but in hindsight I do not believe this is true. Recognizing that she is not who I thought she was is unbelievably difficult. I've always seen her in my mind's eye a certain way but the reality of my situation spoke volumes as to her true character. Easy to see - but very hard to look at. I've heard that getting over STBX was going to be like breaking the worse drug habit imaginable - strong, intense cravings, withdrawals, and all the emotional baggage that goes with it. Just knowing I wanted to 'quit' unfortunately hasn't been enough to prevent those things from happening.
 

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Thank you Frostflower. You're absolutely right - the pain of this journey has at times seemed more than I could bear and everything seems to be a trigger. However, the feelings and their intensity are no where near where they were in the beginning. During the first 6 weeks or so - the feelings and thoughts completely consumed me and I experienced many physical symptoms related to anxiety and depression. Therapy helped significantly in by providing coping skills. Life itself was such a struggle - I felt completely dead inside and mentally checked out.

Two perspectives really helped me - (1) This is absolutely a self-rescue mission and (2) Nothing about this process will be quick.

It amazes me how much time is take to emotionally accept what the mind recognizes as truth right away. In my case - STBX had EA for over a year - there were illusions of 'working' on the marriage - but in hindsight I do not believe this is true. Recognizing that she is not who I thought she was is unbelievably difficult. I've always seen her in my mind's eye a certain way but the reality of my situation spoke volumes as to her true character. Easy to see - but very hard to look at. I've heard that getting over STBX was going to be like breaking the worse drug habit imaginable - strong, intense cravings, withdrawals, and all the emotional baggage that goes with it. Just knowing I wanted to 'quit' unfortunately hasn't been enough to prevent those things from happening.
That sounds about right. Knowing you want to quit a drug habit doesn’t preclude you from going through the hell of withdrawal. All you can do is what you’re doing and hope that, at the end of it, you have the strength not to get ‘hooked’ again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Went out on a date tonight - someone I met online. Felt very nervous and wrong to be meeting another woman - but I had been upfront with my situation and truly had no agenda. Figured I needed to get use to meeting new women and going out.

She very nice - easy to talk with and everything was very comfortable. We ate and had a few drinks over the course of a few hours. I had no intention of talking about 'my situation' but she talked about her divorce (finalized in Oct) and her bitterness toward her EX. She actually had quite a bit to say about 'her situation'. Ironic - I thought I would have been the one to bring up that topic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
So... I get a text from STBX late yesterday afternoon stating that she would "like me to consider joining in the kids counselling sessions". (As I was going on date late night - didn't read it until this morning).

Kids have been in counselling for a couple of months. I have not attended any of their sessions but have discussed "the situation" with them regularly - checking in on where they're at in this process. Like me, they are grieving the loss of the family as they knew it and the old life - I do my best to encourage them to talk it out and my oldest (13) does quite a bit of journalling. I describe a future to them which is a 'new' normal and remind them that they have friends with divorced parents who live happy lives. Also point out that this is a transition period and will be the most difficult time - that 'life' will settle into place as we continue to move forward.

Naturally - they question why this is happening and they often express (when with me) their resistance to this change. They are aware that this was STBXW choice (she actually told them on her own before telling me) - and they are aware that during that 2-month 'limbo' period that I tried to 'save' the marriage. From their perspective - all was normal - not even turbulent. My oldest has asked how can everything be great one week - then ending the next.

STBX has also offered to disclose the 'concerns' she had in the marriage with me through counselling. Despite (during the marriage) my repeated attempts to talk with her - she was adamant that she was happy and that life was good. My intuition led me to suspect she was drifting, but she never engaged my inquiry. As a good husband - I didn't want to force the issue, to make my insecurities hers, and to give her space - hindsight shows me I took on the role of a doormat. She was present enough in the marriage that I didn't suspect she had drifted that far. During this time (over a year) she started and maintained EA - during limbo was insistent no PA but that she had 'strong feelings' for OM. So the way I see it, she made a choice to be with OM. My reply (couple of days ago) regarding her 'concerns' in the marriage is that none of that matters now - the time to discuss those concerns is before the marriage ends not after - before she wandered outside the marriage not after escaping it.

So she and I do not see eye to eye in how to address the 'why' question that the children are persistent with. I encourage them to ask their mother or therapist and she continues to give them the same generic response "sometimes a decision has to be made, even if it's a hard choice".

STBX has not given me direct answer, but I do know enough to know marriage is over (obviously). I have expressed my theory to her on how I see it, based on her action not her words. She neither denies or confirms my theory - which I'm okay with; I believe it to be true (writing's on the wall) but I don't know that I need to hear her tell me she left me for another man. Further, I believe she's in denial (a perspective I do not share with her) - downplaying the fallout her choice has had on me and the children. I believe the children have the right to know the truth for why this is happening - to add the information to their grieving process and heal completely. From what I've read - there can be a 'blow back' when they find answers to their questions later in life (when they're older) which can create a rift between them and the parent they then see at fault.

I believe the children must have a good relationship with their mother - a benefit to them. I do not agree that STBX believes they only need to know what's happening but not why. I have not shared my theory with children because (1) I don't believe I should be the one to tell them (her choice - she should own it with them and field whatever follow up questions arise) and (2) it would make me appear to paint STBX in negative light and I'm concerned she'll deny it to kids claiming I'm bitter.

STBX asked (couple of days ago) that I 'own up' to my part in marriage ending. (Seriously... WTF?) I said - I truly believe all was wonderful in paradise, she was totally convincing in her lies that she was happy (fooled me, her family, and our friends). How could I own my part - when I believed all was well; when I had no idea there were concerns. Concerns that no longer matter and therefore cannot be used as cause for marriage ending.

I asked my oldest (last night) if she wanted me to go with her counselling sessions. Her answer is that 'mom thinks it's a good idea'. Hmmm...
 

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OP,

I think that attending some sessions with the kids could be good for you all.

As for your STBX asking you to "own up" why not.

I do not wish to sound harsh but there is always more we could have done if we had started soon enough.

"own up" to not having kept your STBX interested in maintaining a healthy marriage.
"own up" to not paying enough attention (if you had been she would not have gotten away with the lies).
"own up" to your gullibility (see above).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Tough day today. The apartment is like emotional quicksand. Staring at the television but watching the reel of thoughts move through my mind. Can't seem to get out from under it today.
 

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Sorry you are having a bad day.

I agree that attending some counselling sessions with the kids would be a good idea. But not to rehash your marriage in front of them. I suggest going first with stbx and discussing with the counsellor what is appropriate to talk about with the kids.

In terms of you and stbx, some couples counselling may help you find closure so that when you enter a new relationship, it will be without baggage.

You seem to blame your wife for the breakup of the marriage. But a spouse does not just wander. There must have been factors within the relationship that laid the groundwork for her turning to OM. Why did this happen? Why did you become a ‘doormat’? Why did you allow her not to engage in communication? Unless you figure out what caused the breakdown (and it wasn’t her involvement with another man..... by then the marriage was already broken), you will carry the same patterns of behavior into any new relationships.

Sorry if that sounds harsh, but saying that what happened doesn’t mater now now is not going to help you move on in a healthy way. It does matter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I know it's difficult to get a true sense of 'the story' when reading - not all the details are there and there's the other's perspective that's missing.

I do blame STBX for the break up of the marriage. While I agree a spouse should not wander - she did. For reasons I'm sure I'll never truly understand. The best I could do was try to engage her and be 'approachable'. She's even confessed that she should have said something a while ago... but that time is gone.

I understand your reasoning Frostflower - just don't believe it applies to this situation. Had dinner with her sister last night and she believes STBX is too much of a conflict avoider to 'talk'. Her sister (whom I've actually not gotten along with until after trouble started) tells me that STBX actions and choices do not make sense to her. Sister says 'there's not doubt she will regret this'. Words I find no comfort in at this time and refuse to find hope in.

I believe that at this time - I'm her plan b. This is not a role I will accept. STBX wants to remain 'friends' to which I advise is not even possible at this time - but perhaps there will come a time - won't know until I get there. In the mean time - there is absolutely minimal interaction with her - only seen her twice this year and have only talked on the phone 4 times (i think) including twice this weekend.
 

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I know it's difficult to get a true sense of 'the story' when reading - not all the details are there and there's the other's perspective that's missing.

I do blame STBX for the break up of the marriage. While I agree a spouse should not wander - she did. For reasons I'm sure I'll never truly understand. The best I could do was try to engage her and be 'approachable'. She's even confessed that she should have said something a while ago... but that time is gone.

I understand your reasoning Frostflower - just don't believe it applies to this situation. Had dinner with her sister last night and she believes STBX is too much of a conflict avoider to 'talk'. Her sister (whom I've actually not gotten along with until after trouble started) tells me that STBX actions and choices do not make sense to her. Sister says 'there's not doubt she will regret this'. Words I find no comfort in at this time and refuse to find hope in.

I believe that at this time - I'm her plan b. This is not a role I will accept. STBX wants to remain 'friends' to which I advise is not even possible at this time - but perhaps there will come a time - won't know until I get there. In the mean time - there is absolutely minimal interaction with her - only seen her twice this year and have only talked on the phone 4 times (i think) including twice this weekend.
You should not be anyone’s plan B, good for you for refusing that role.

When i hear that a STBX wants to stay friends, I wonder what their definition of ‘friend’ is. My H said pretty much the same thing after he left me. He left after 32 years of marriage, but we could be ‘friends’?? Boggles the mind!
 

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You should not be anyone’s plan B, good for you for refusing that role.

When i hear that a STBX wants to stay friends, I wonder what their definition of ‘friend’ is. My H said pretty much the same thing after he left me. He left after 32 years of marriage, but we could be ‘friends’?? Boggles the mind!
Has nothing to do with the betrayed spouses feelings.

Its about mitigating their own guilt.

Somehow, they rationalize that they are doing less harm to the BS by offering to be "friends".

The ego is a strange thing.
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Has nothing to do with the betrayed spouses feelings.

Its about mitigating their own guilt.

Somehow, they rationalize that they are doing less harm to the BS by offering to be "friends".

The ego is a strange thing.
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Makes sense. And I was so desperate to hang onto our relationship, I was all over it....until I learned about OW.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I agree with both your insights. But you can probably imagine - I still more than anything to be wanted. This will pass as I've come to understand, but it hasn't passed as of yet.

Such a battle to make decision and take action that the mind knows is right when the emotions so strongly oppose.

I fully agree with you spun - she has done nothing but downplayed the effects of her 'decision' to me and the kids. My concern is less about me (it's destroyed me but don't need to share that with her) - but to not recognize how much the kids are struggling must be denial. Like me, they have their ups and downs - but we'll be okay.
 

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I agree with both your insights. But you can probably imagine - I still more than anything to be wanted. This will pass as I've come to understand, but it hasn't passed as of yet.

Such a battle to make decision and take action that the mind knows is right when the emotions so strongly oppose.

I fully agree with you spun - she has done nothing but downplayed the effects of her 'decision' to me and the kids. My concern is less about me (it's destroyed me but don't need to share that with her) - but to not recognize how much the kids are struggling must be denial. Like me, they have their ups and downs - but we'll be okay.
Trying to make her "see" any other point of view is futile.

What are you doing for you these days?
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Seeing my kids - working - finding a place of my own to take the kids a week at a time.

Minimizing contact with her - grieving - journaling - talking it out - getting out (even when I don't want to) - avoiding alcohol - avoiding women - healing - recovering - processing.

Ultimately - doing the best I can...
 

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Yes, there are things you should have done different. The same for her. Does she want a dialog?

She was physical with the OM. No doubt about it.

I would let the kids know the truth. Their mom is leaving for someone else. It's a concrete reason. The problem is she won't admit to it and you don't seem to have done any fact-finding.
 

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Seeing my kids - working - finding a place of my own to take the kids a week at a time.

Minimizing contact with her - grieving - journaling - talking it out - getting out (even when I don't want to) - avoiding alcohol - avoiding women - healing - recovering - processing.

Ultimately - doing the best I can...
Good.

Stay the course.
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I cannot risk telling the children the truth - only to have her (again) deny it and put the kids in the middle. Do not want to hear kids say 'well mom says this' or that.

Whole situation is messed up (as are all stories). Suppose all I can do is put it out there - the fact that we don't see eye to eye seems to be reflective of this situation.

Staystrong - as far as her want for dialogue... yes she wants dialogue - I do not. Where she seems to be the cure for this agony - I know in my mind that she is the poison.
 
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