Deborah in Fredericksburg writes:
Having recently gone through an unwanted divorce, and living close to my ex and his new wife, my life feels to be in turmoil. My children are struggling with our new family (families for them) and sometimes I wonder if my own inability to “let my husband” go is causing us all further pain. Do you see me ever figuring my way out of this mess? Does love exist for me agian, or is a broken marriage all I’ll ever have?
I was once told that I would only marry once and that frightens me. I want to feel and be loved again, I just am afraid it’s not destined to be. And pathetically enough, I really think I still love my ex, though after how he has treated me I shouldn’t. Do you have any advice for me based on what you see in my future? Any help and direction would be greatly appreciated!
You are still going through an adjustment period, and it is going to be a while before you feel like there is more peace than turmoil in your life. It is very hard to let go of someone you love, especially when you have built a life around the idea that love will endure. Even though things haven’t gone as planned, and your ex has treated you badly in the process, your belief in enduring love and traditional family values makes it a bit more challenging to let go. At this point in your life, your ex-husband is essentially all you think of or know when it comes to love. It’s not pathetic to love someone even though they have hurt you and disassembled your world – it is merely love at its deepest and most romanticized explanation. After all, your history and experiences with this man weren’t all bad, and it is okay to remember that.
Some people can move on from a failed relationship with apparent ease, and others require time to heal. You still have quite a bit of healing to go through. Because your kids are struggling with the changes and current state of life, it is harder for you to go through your own healing process because you are trying to help them navigate through their issues. It’s a tough dynamic all the way around, but with time, things will become more “normal” for your children, and yourself. This doesn’t mean that the current reality is anyone’s idea of perfection – but all of you will accept things for what they are, and adjust.
Deborah, don’t fear the future, especially because of a past prediction. Tomorrow, next month, next year – they haven’t happened yet. They are still waiting to be formed and discovered. Life isn’t like a prefabricated, connect-the-dots puzzle in a child’s activity book. What we do today shapes how tomorrow will unfold. So, if you spend your days believing that you will never remarry, that you will never find love, you aren’t allowing yourself to heal from your marriage and divorce, and you are essentially holding yourself still in this loveless place and time. You don’t always have to go looking for love, but you do have to be open to letting it find you, or you will miss the opportunities that present. (Notice I said opportunities.)
I can’t honestly say if you will or won’t remarry – but I can say that you will find love again. Whether or not you choose to marry him is something you will have to decide for yourself, but the option will be there. I can, however, say that this love will be deeper and more profound than the love you shared with your ex. Unfortunately, I don’t see you crossing paths with him in the near future, so he is not necessarily the key to your happiness. You will find that all on your own. What he brings to your life will be more along the lines of sensual bliss.
Your marriage isn’t broken, it’s over. Your life isn’t over, it’s waiting to begin. Let go of the patterns and processes that are keeping you still. Don’t let a divorce define you. Learn to understand that it has freed you to find a love and a lover who is interested in who you are and what you have to share, and thinks that you are this perfectly amazing creature simply because you are who you are.