Yes. I distinctly remember that moment where my mentality shifted after my wife abruptly and with no warning torpedoed our marriage. I was struggling so bad with trying to understand what happened or why it happened, what I could have done differently, as well as trying desperately to figure out some way of fixing things and to get my life back on track.
Then one day I did what you just described. While the divorce wasn’t my choice, I remember making a choice to move forward. Regardless of what she wanted, if she ended up coming back around later, I was making a decision to move forward with my life without her. It sucked, it wasn’t an ideal situation, but I suddenly felt like I had some degree of control of my life back. And that helped me immensely in moving forward.
I couldn’t change the past and what led to me being in that position, but I realized I could control how I moved forward and was able to focus on that.
That’s how it was for me as well. It’s still a death of a relationship and the death of an entire stage of your life. But what made it even harder for me was the fact that it wasn’t a tragedy outside of anyone’s control, it was my ex who decided to kill the relationship. So I had all the loss of losing the most important person in my life along with feelings of betrayal and rejection to go with it. It was hard.
Yup. I felt so exposed, so vulnerable, so powerless, so… stupid. And so, so hurt, even if I understand where it all came from and why, and how it had almost nothing to do with me…
The worst part was that I could have loved her my whole life. I built that love, I nurtured it, I protected it, in spite of circumstances and, in many cases, in spite of her. And now, because of her decision, I had a decision to make myself. I could keep that love alive, but that love I had built over decades, if alive, would probably destroy me, or at the very least my dignity or sense of self. Or I could take this love I had nurtured for the best part of my life and kill it with my bare hands, so I could survive. Well, I made a decision. Not that I had much of a choice, mind you. But I’m alive and I’m well, and I’m moving on.
Here you are thinking you’re an equal partner in your relationship, ideally 50/50, though as is natural, it’s not always so; you lose some battles, but you win some, too. And then you realize this one major decision does not hinge on your opinion or thoughts at all. You feel incredibly powerless and it is truly frightening how the one person you trust and think you know the most can suddenly derail your life.
So, yes - taking control of your life, CHOOSING to let go and moving ahead with this new chapter in your life can empower and give you the strength to move on.
I wish I was as brave as Rich when it happened to me, and able to talk about it. But I kept a lot inside. I tend not to talk much about personal issues with people I know, much less a bunch of strangers on a gaming forum. But I learned a lot reading about others’ experiences - I was hitting every blog/forum related to divorce and mid-life crisis at one point.
Eventually, it helped seeing that this (sadly) common situation is something that one can not only recover from, but come out of stronger and wiser. I took the legitimate grievances my ex had with me and though I didn’t dwell on the past, I did reflect and figured out what I needed to work on (I eventually remarried a couple of years ago, and think I’m a better partner for it).
I’ve also learned to not take life too seriously and to make the best of what I can. Shit happens (fuck, I’ve had two deaths in my family recently and now I’m currently living with my mother-in-law who has Parkinson’s and Dementia (my father-in-law was one of those deaths)), and shit will always happen, but life goes on and there are still things left to enjoy and savor.
@RichVR So sorry to hear about this. I’ve been absent from Qt3 since early January largely because of a breakup; not as traumatic as yours, but easily the most emotionally painful experience of my life. I have a small inkling of what you’re going through and the words you have been writing resonate. I spent a couple months doing daily mediations and journaling (helped in the short term), going to weekly therapy (still do, and it’s great), trying to get my shit together in other areas (lost 25 pounds, regular exercise, got my apartment in adult shape, am being a better parent to my kids, cutting off social media, etc) and hanging out with friends really a lot. Hanging out with friends, calling family, any social contact; that’s what’s helped the most… and Wellbutrin. Wellbutrin is awesome. I told my doc that my mood felt like a sagging floor and I really needed something to shore it up, and it really has worked; instead of oscillating between “eh, ok” and “omg I can’t take this”, I now oscillate between “pretty good” and “a little sad.”
Anyway I hope you can get through this terrible period and get to the point where thinks seem ok and a little hopeful. All the best and even though I’m an internet stranger, I’m rooting for you.
To you both, I’m thinking about you and wishing you and Rich both some support and hopefully a transition that leads to a better place. Matt it sounds like life came at you quick but you’ve taken hold of the reins and put yourself on a better course.
This resonates with me. The psychiatrist I saw asked me what antidepressant I used to take. I said Paxil, but it had stopped working long ago. The only reason I had kept taking it was to stop the brain zaps and other withdrawal symptoms. I asked if there was something newer he could give me. So he prescribed Effexor, because it would help with depression and anxiety.
I pretty much went from ‘this is the end of the world and I’m fucked’ to ‘well, this may very well be the end, but I’m not a mental vegetable anymore’.
Maybe a small change. But the more I take it the more… leveled (?) I am.
Sorry for what you’re going through as well. Sucks doesn’t it?
Yeah man. And unlike you, I wasn’t blindsided. I walked into this with open eyes and was a partial architect of my own misery. My breakup was both mutual and not unexpected. I’m divorced and I expected it to be like my divorce was: a relief more than anything. Instead it was like someone had thrown me into a well and I couldn’t figure out how to climb out. Naturally produced oxytocin is a real bitch to withdraw from. It’s been 5 months and though I’m much better, I’m still far from fully recovered. We’re trying to remain friends (mostly because we have a large mutual friend group) and that’s been somewhat difficult. I think I might start dating again midsummer and that will probably help a bunch, but 2023 so far is among my least favorite years :P
OTOH, I’ve forged really strong connections with friends and family, have a strong therapeutic foundation for growth (and am motivated to pursue it), have attended dozens of Meetups to hone my interpersonal skills (awkward nerd that I am, I need the practice), been a much better parent to my kids, am in much better shape physically, was able to learn and incorporate some meditation techniques for emotional regulation, etc. In many ways the breakup has been great for me… except that it was also the worst thing.
The new words for this week are stasis and uncertainty. I’m not going anywhere. We are civil and even friendly. One of her complaints was that I was not taking care of myself, either physically or personally. That I depended upon her too much for rides and such. So I stopped doing that. It’s a reasonable thing I guess. I’d rather take an Uber than piss her off. And so I have been.
I’ve been seeing my doctor again. We are working on getting me back on meds that I have been neglecting for a while. A bit of good news, my cholesterol is perfectly normal after years of having it out of control, even on meds. My kidney function is also normal, even after the doctor considering me a kidney risk for a long time.
He thinks that the fact that I’ve lost over 100 pounds over three years may be the reason.
The thing is that I told her that I could change. Clean up my act. Be better, so to speak. I prove this to her every day.
Yet I don’t know.
When does the other shoe drop? If ever? Magical thinking. Yeah. I know.
I don’t really know what to say, especially since I’m afraid that things I might want to say about my perception of how you’re being treated here might not make you feel any better. I know I’m not alone, though, in saying a lot of people here have been thinking about you, myself included, and hoping you get through this and find new happiness soon. Hang in there, and let us know how we can help.
I get that. Not an issue. As I feel that way myself. I’m not ignorant of the issues. Just trying to live without too much friction and anger.
If I must live with my wife who, actually, does not feel any love anymore. I must still get along with her. And that means that I have to, occasionally, bend over backwards to keep the peace.
I miss the closeness. The humor. The connection. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and think… We don’t have this anymore. We don’t have the joke anymore. We don’t have the chihuahua pictures anymore. We don’t have the simple love.
But I have to get over it.
I haven’t been posting around here lately. Like I have said before, I’m not a smart man. But I have tried to be entertaining here. Funny. Even deep at times.
I should probably ease back into it.
I don’t know. See, the will is there. But the sadness blocks it.
Edit: I should say again, thank you all for your comments. It does help.