42 years

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-09-2012
42 years
7
Tue, 10-09-2012 - 8:10pm

My husband found a girlfriend and divorced me after 42 years. That's too long to just forget.  It's been over a year now and I'm still not able to move on.  Anything I can do (besides cry a lot)?

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
In reply to: karensfoster
Tue, 10-09-2012 - 8:59pm

Hi Karen,

Welcome to the board. 

I am sorry you find yourself in this situation after such a long-term marriage. It is difficult no matter what, but it's harder the longer you were married.

First, some true albeit it cliche words of wisdom:

1)It's "normal" to grieve the loss of your marriage. A year out from a divorce is NOT a long time. Plus, the longer you were married, the longer it will take to process your loss. Divorce is a lot like a death (without the public funeral) and you'll experience the very same stages of grief and loss as with a death.

2)Crying is OK. It's part of your mourning process. Yes, you must mourn the loss of your relationship. Crying is a physical release of your grief and sadness. 

3)The timetable for your own "moving on" is individual to you. Here's the truth about the person who leaves: they were "gone" emotionally long before they packed a bag and left physically. The person who is "left behind" is in shock and has to process the reality of being left from Square 1. This is why it appears the person who leaves is "over" the relationship quickly and has little outward grief. They began "leaving" the relationship weeks, months, years, or decades before they actually left. They are farther down the emotional road than the one who is left.

Other truths:

1)Time is on your side. Getting through each day and then two days, then a week, a month, will take 24 hours at a time. Eventually - your grief should beging to subside - and it will not be as all consuming as it is now. Eventually you realize you've gone entire weeks without tears. 

2)Seek support. Either enlist the help of a good therapist, counselor, pastor, or find a divorce support group. It can be very helpful to have others listen to you vent and process what has happened. You also discover you're not alone. That others have the same feelings and experiences as you. The secret here is not to make a support group your new "home" for your life. A healthy person can benefit from these resources and then recognize when it's time to move on from a therapist or a group. Again, this is on your timetable, not anyone else's.

3)Try to do something for yourself as often as you can: i.e. get your nails done, try a new recipe, paint a wall (or a room), buy yourself a new set of sheets (or buy a new bed if you can afford it!), rearrange the furniture. In other words, start doing things to make you and your life and your home - your own. If you can't handle replacing the maritial bed, buy yourself a new pillow in a color YOU like to start. Small stuff but a big help for your self-esteem.

4)Keep doing the things you have liked to do. Go to the stores you like to shop at. Attend your place of worship. Go to work or your volunteer activities. Be "out there" despite the desire to hide. You might only get to the car and run back into the house, but the next time you'll actually get into the car! :smileyhappy:

Eventually you'll discover you are a new person. "Divorce is like walking through a wall of flames: it will burn you right down to the carbon chains of your soul.  What you are left with is a skeleton of your former self. And from there you rebuild, molecule by molecule, a new person with a new life." (Copyright 2010, 2011, 2012 by Wisdomtooth2020.com).

I highly recommend this book by Bruce Fisher, "Rebuilding: When your relationship ends." It is truly a roadmap to breaking up and surviving. It took me a long time to be able to get past the title (because I didn't want to admit my marriage had ended) but once I did, I'm glad I read it.

Time. Be kind to yourself. Reach out for support. Rebuild. I promise you a year from now you'll be in a better place. Eventually you won't recognize the suffering soul you feel like right now. You'll be better! :smileyhappy:

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-10-2009
In reply to: karensfoster
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 2:59am
Beautiful kind post, Wisdom.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2000
In reply to: karensfoster
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 4:04am
I agree, divorce IS like a death, only you don't get a ceramony to tell you what you're supposed to do, unlike a funeral. Everyone deals with grief and loss differently, so don't try to look at others as an example of how you "should" be feeling right now. You've had a major blow; not just the loss of your marriage, but the betrayal as well, and that's a lot to process! Be kind and loving to yourself. Also, what wisdom said!
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-24-2012
In reply to: karensfoster
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 8:28am
::HUGE HUGS::

I can't even begin to imagine or understand your pain! My parents will celebrate their 42nd anniversary in December and I can't even think about what would happen or what it would do to my Mom if my Dad found another women and left.

The only advice I can offer is to listen to widsom - there is a reason for her name!
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
In reply to: karensfoster
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 10:37am

There is a reason Wisdom has the name she does. 

I can't add anything to her post other than to let you know there are others of us out here who have been where you are...maybe our marriages weren't as long (mine ended after 25 years), but the feelings were the same. 

I let God take over my life and surrounded myself with the love and support of my family and friends.  I also found the best therapist in the world and after a year, I almost cried when I told her I didn't think I needed to see her anymore.  In her office, I was able to truly share my grief and get it all out.  It took a year, but, like Wisdom said, the longer the marriage, the longer it will take to recover. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-13-2011
In reply to: karensfoster
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 12:34am

I don't think I can add too much from the advice you've been given.  I only want to reassure you that you will progress and feel better after some time passes.  This time last year, I prayed for a big semi-truck to take me out.  For months after I still wanted to die.  I didn't want to get out of bed and life just didn't seem worth living.  Friends and family told me that I would be okay, and they were right.  I hated the thought of being divorced.  I felt like everyone knew how I was feeling and it was humiliating.  I thought as I passed people in the stores that they were feeling sorry for me.  I wore a weddingring for 26 years and now my ring finger is bare.  Isn't everyone starring at it and thinking, "Poor lady.  Her husand left her"  -- NOPE!!  The truth is that it is only a feeling we have that affects very few of our family and friends.

I will always mourn the family that didn't get to stay together, but now I'm glad I'm divorced and can get out of bed in the mornings and feel good about myself.  You will too.  In time, you will appreciate your situation and be thankful for your new life.  It's a journey, but all in all, it's a good journey....  I, of course can say this now.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2000
In reply to: mcpayton
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 1:21am
The bare finger does feel weird after 15 years, but I have other fingers and other rings to wear now, and they don't come with an angry, yelling man attached, so it's all good! You will get through this time!