Category Archives: Relationships

When The Pain Comes…

It all started last week with one of those stupid quizzes: Based on your star sign, how many times will you fall in love?

Of course, I checked out my ex’s first – his sign is before mine, astrologically speaking. His said 3. So he’s on course.

Mine? One. Because you when you love, it’s forever.

Great!

And then I had a conversation with yet another friend in this situation. There are so many of us around, aren’t there; women who’ve been married for 30+ years whose husbands move on to a younger version.

Maggie voiced something I’ve been holding secret in my head for so long, scared that if I said it aloud, people would think I was even more foolish than I usually feel. She admitted that her ex was the love of her life. That she will never – could never – love anyone the way she loved him.   Wasn’t that stupid? Wasn’t that crazy? Doesn’t that make her a grade A loser?

Well, I guess that makes two of us, because that’s exactly how I feel too. I loved my husband and I still love him. They say that hate isn’t the opposite of love. Indifference is. On the one hand, I’m mad with him, furious at him, I want to strike back and hurt him the way he hurt me.  On the other, I worry about his health and the damage he has done to our family and his relationships with our kids. So, I’m still feeling something.

He however… remains indifferent.

Over the weekend, things continued to build. Just little things; not feeling 100% physically, putting up with winter in the minus 20C range for days on end, not being able to get out the house for some fresh air because it’s so icy out, having to figure out some major financial decisions that could have long term ramifications, learning that one very dear friend has cancer while another has MS, the relentless cheery Valentine movies on TV…

…so I booked an appointment to see a counsellor later this week. I haven’t felt the need to see one for more than 2 years. I’m moving ahead. I’m travelling, teaching, doing things I never dreamt I was capable of. And yet, inside… Deep inside…  I wanted to get on top of things before I felt myself sinking under again.

And then, this morning, my ex informed me he is now off on yet another holiday with his new wife. In four years, they’ve now had more holidays than we ever had – either as a couple, or as a family – in almost 40 years. We couldn’t travel because work always came first, or the chronic illness that he had couldn’t be ‘dealt with’ anywhere else outside our home city. Forty years ago, he couldn’t even be bothered organizing a honeymoon and was back at work well within a week of our wedding.

And so I cried.

And cried.

All those doubts, all those feelings of worthlessness just hammered back down on me. I know, I know… the way a person treats you says everything about them and nothing about you, but when you’re at the receiving end of betrayal and rejection, you can’t help but wonder what was so wrong with you that he left you for someone else. What is so wonderful about her and so awful about you?

Last year I kept a jar to which I added a dime when I had a really – really – bad day, feeling upset over my ex. I’ll be honest, I seriously considered adding my first dime of the year today. But I didn’t.

These days will continue to come and go over the years. They don’t hit as often as they did, but they still hit hard. I’ve asked my counsellor for some tools and strategies to help me on days like this. Things I can do to help me get through that darkness until I step back out into the light again.  I’ll share what he says with you.

I will step out into the light again.

And so will you.

It’s That Time of Year Again!

(This post should have gone up at the end of 2018, but better late than never, right?)

Yes, it’s that time of year again when we look back at the year slipping out of sight in our rearview mirror, and view the approaching year with – hopefully – optimism.

Last year we wrote an end-of-year post entitled  Moving forward into the New Year. In it, we decided we would measure, in a tangible way, the frequency of our good and bad days by putting one dime in one of two jars.  The bad days couldn’t be run-of-the-mill bad days – like losing keys, the car not starting or falling down on your a-s  and looking like an idiot while trying to take a photograph.  (True story.)  They had to be bad days specifically connected to our divorce/ex-husbands/feelings of loss and/or failure.

DSC_0390Very quickly, we discovered that we were running out of dimes for our ‘good’ days, so we decided to put dimes in the jars only on our bad days.  And for me personally, although my ex remains inside my head much more than I would like, I was pleasantly surprised to realise I only had eight dimes in my bad day jar.  Some of those days were really bad days.  One involved a visit to my doctor where I just cried my eyes out.  But he was great.  He’s suffered loss himself and advised me that it’s not wrong to grieve.  We only grieve when we lose things that matter.  And my marriage mattered – to me.  The way my husband left me, says everything about him and nothing about me.

Would there have been only eight dimes in the first two years after my husband left me?  Absolutely not.  The jar would have been full to overflowing – and it’s not an exercise we would recommend until you are well into the healing process.  DO NOT DO THIS WHILE YOU ARE FEELING FRAGILE AND LOST.

I can’t promise that there won’t be more than eight dimes next year.  2018 was a really good – and busy – year for me, with lots of travelling and the birth of a granddaughter to fill my life with joy. But looking at those eight dimes laid out on the table in front of me, offers reassurance that I am healing. That I am getting back on my feet.  That life is worth living.

May 2019 bring us all blessings and peace.

Happy New Year.

 

It’s Never Too Late – Week 8 – Vhairi

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Photo by Francesco Paggiaro from Pexels

Reigniting a Sense of Joy

It’s Thanksgiving Weekend here in Canada.  I remember that first Thanksgiving after my husband left me.  There was very little joy about it.  I was supposed to have my family round for a meal, but ‘stuff’ happened and I couldn’t go through with it.  Thankfully, Isobel came to my rescue and invited me and a friend to join her family celebration.

I don’t remember too many details from that day.  I know the food and company were great, but I was still lost in that horrible fog of despair and was heartbroken at what had gone on between me and my kids. Continue reading

Creating a Sense of Humility

Isobel

Well, I have to say that the whole experience of divorcing after almost 40 years of marriage was certainly humiliating! So on beginning this sixth chapter in Julia Cameron’s book “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again,” I wasn’t sure humility was something I needed to work on anymore – or ever again!

But as I worked my way through the chapter, I found a different way of looking at myself, my marriage/divorce and my life. Continue reading

Being Honest with Yourself after Divorce – Week 5

Along with my blog partner, Vhairi, I’ve been working through Julia Cameron’s book “It’s Never Too late to Begin Again,” posting here what I’ve “learned” from each week of morning pages and self-examination exercises.

All went smoothly until Week 5 – Igniting a Sense of Honesty.

This was a tough one. This involved looking at the years of my life (23-29) when so many big changes happened: university, marriage, moving away from friends and family. This was taking the time to really see myself then, the decisions I made (or didn’t make), what was important to me and what wasn’t. Continue reading

Gaining Perspective on Grey Divorce

Working through Week Four of Julia Cameron’s “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again” is helping me heal from the terrible wounds of Grey Divorce.

The memoir part of this fourth week required taking a look at ages 16 to 22 – a time of great change…leaving home, going to university, meeting my future husband..

Guided through questions such as “describe a taste from that time” or “where did you live,” I sat down to face some painful memories, a rehashing of all the mistakes I made that led to me being a divorced woman at 64 years old.

Following Julia’s thoughtful and gentle process, it almost didn’t hurt. In fact, it felt good to finally face the past in the hopes of finding a future. Continue reading

Morning Pages – Going Deeper

At the beginning of almost every day’s morning pages this past week, I’ve written something along the lines of – I don’t want to be doing this, I’m tired, I’m busy. But once I got going, thoughts flowed onto the page in a torrent of words. Seemingly about nothing in particular, sometimes just lists. And yet…

Somehow, writing about whatever comes out of my morning brain is leading me towards an understanding, I think, of how I ended up divorced at the age of 65 and after almost forty years of marriage.

I loved him with such passion, truly I did. Maybe it was a flawed sort of love, all tied up with an unhappy childhood, self-esteem issues, but does that really matter? It was my love and it was real. I would have done just about anything for him and for his love in return.

We’d been married for almost ten years, had three children, when I learned of his many  infidelities. So many lies, so many other women, some writing letters to him through his work address. And there I was, all tied up in family life, in being supportive, ironing his dress shirts every morning before he went to work! I had no idea. I never saw any lipstick on his collars.

It makes me angry now to think of it, but believe it or not, he blamed me! I was too busy with the kids, with renovating our house, didn’t wear tight leather skirts! I wasn’t fun anymore.

And so I tried hard to be whatever it was he was looking for outside our marriage. Of course, that didn’t work; he continued doing whatever (and whomever) he wanted, and I built a big wall around it all. In that regard, I was just as much at fault as he was.

I have been ashamed for so long now that I didn’t take the children, all under the age of six, and…and what? I had no money, no family nearby, no friends (we had moved across the country for his work).

The “tasks” in this week’s chapter of Julia’s book involved taking a look at the second six years of my life. Seems unrelated, doesn’t it? Yet I find I am getting a sense of who that person was/is who would stay in such a soul-eating situation – kids or no kids.

I’ve remembered the little girl I was – an awkward, shy little girl with a mother who just wasn’t equipped to deal with her. That little girl grew up trying to be someone different because that was the only way she would be loved. Right? Little wonder she entered into marriage the same way. Rejection meant she had to try harder.

Here’s what I learned this week through the morning pages and the tasks: I am not a failure because my marriage “failed.” I am developing an undertanding of who I am, have always been, and that person is valuable and lovable.

Seems like heavy stuff from a bunch of scribbling in an old notebook, but I think the power is in actually sitting down and taking the time, an hour at the most, every day, to really let the person inside come to the top, come onto the pages.

I’m going to continue with the next 10 weeks. It may seem tedious at times, maybe even a waste of time some days, but I owe this to myself. I owe it to that little girl buried deep inside.

– Isobel