First of all, I need to change my username. I've had this one since I first started reading these boards probably 15 or more years ago (it was called Parents Place when I started) and they were much happier times. Now it's going to be justjeff or something like that but I don't have the heart to do it yet. I used to post regulary on different boards but for the past year or so I have been on this and other "Relationship problems" boards as a lurker.
My question is how to you all deal with the memories? I've been seperated for almost a year now (pushing 2 years if you count emotional seperation) but we were togther for over 20 years and married for 18 until she decided to leave me "because she changed and wanted to be a better person" (I found out later that change meant affair and she left to pursue him and has told me she's not coming back).
By dealing with memories I mean that I had 20 of some of the best years of my life (sure, there were bad times but that's always part of life), have a family with 2 children, nice house that we built together, vacations, you name it. Now when I look back on everything we've done together it reduces me to tears so I can't think about my past at all and that sucks. I have always been a very picture taking, family oriented, memory type of person and now not only do I have to start over at 50, but in essence I've completely lost the last 20 years of my life also. I can't look at my old photo albums, I can't think of the vacations we took with and without the kids, I can't cook certain foods or watch certain shows because they were "ours", etc. How does everyone else get back to remembering their past with good memories and not with such sadness and bitterness?
I'm just trying to move forward and I can't but I'm also having such a hard time with the past. I was in a split parenting arrangement with an older child and I swore that I would NEVER do that again. What's the old saying - "if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans". Yet here I am again trying to not only put on a happy face every day for my kids and everyone around me, but I'm dealing with that again. I think if I can get to a point where my past isn't so damn painful, I can move forward. How do you do that? I know that putting it behind is all about forgiveness, but how do you do that? Especially when I miss my old life so much it hurts.
I don't know if I really excpect any answers to any of this, but I just needed to get it out and I can only lean on my friends so much and counceling is helping but not a lot.