Lee from Stroudsburg, PA asks:
Hi, Red. I’m wondering if you can help me. I’ve never read any postings on sudden abandonment by a spouse. My husband suddenly left almost three years ago after twenty years of marriage. When he left, he made sure that he demoralized me first and blamed me for his exit. He insisted that I never loved him and that our whole marriage was a joke. He left me with all of our financial responsibilities, and moved in with a new girlfriend nearby.
I had no clue that there was even a problem, although in retrospect I see that there may have been some signs. He was always a man that was emotionally unavailable and very hard to communicate with. He showed all the symptoms of a midlife crisis (e.g., a new red sports car, gym membership, weight loss, excessive drinking and sudden graying). He hooked up with a woman who also exited her marriage. She frankly looks like his mother, with no feminine beauty at all. I’m really struggling with moving on because of the cruel way that he just dismissed, disrespected and disregarded me. I would be handling this much better, if he handled this in a much more mature manner.
I have not dated this entire time, and feel empty, hollow and alone. We don’t communicate at all. What drives me crazy is that I still miss him. We’re not officially divorced, yet. What can I do to help myself move on? Do you believe it’s a midlife crisis? I would appreciate any insight on this matter.
Psychic Red ext. 9226 Responds:
Learning how to let go and move on can be difficult, especially when you are left with more questions than answers. However, it’s just something you have to do sometimes. While it’s unfortunate, you’re unlikely to gain a full understanding of exactly what happened with your husband and marriage, at least from him. He just isn’t the kind of guy who is going to sit down with you and explain everything that went on, much less everything that went wrong.
To simply sum it up would be to call it your ex’s midlife crisis. While that is true enough, his issues run a bit deeper. Roughly three years ago, he came to the conclusion that he wasn’t happy. Not with you, himself or life. From that moment on, things really began spiraling out of control. Your suspicions are correct. His current girlfriend was part of the equation.
Your ex decided, without consulting you or informing you of what he was thinking or feeling, that you weren’t meeting his needs and expectations. It was much easier for him to plot and plan than it was to make himself vulnerable and open up to you. He tried filling his own emptiness with various outlets, but it didn’t bring him back to a place of balance. So, things just kept spiraling out of control for him. One of his outlets, in order to feel more powerful, superior and in control, was to become mentally and emotionally abusive toward you. To tear you down, to break you, was yet another of his unhealthy outlets. The core issue was, and still is, that he doesn’t want to deal with his own emotional distress. Not only can’t you help him with that, but due to the current circumstances, it’s no longer your responsibility.
Because you essentially couldn’t read his mind, you really had no way of knowing what was going on with him, nor did he actually want you to know. He found hope and solace in the woman who is now his girlfriend. He tried to sedate his own mental anguish with changing things on the outside, like his appearance and image. His shopping sprees and escapism with alcohol are also methods he turned to in an attempt to escape his own pain.
While it may not seem kind, by understanding that your husband has internal damage, it may help you to move forward. Although it’s painful to acknowledge that you couldn’t have saved your marriage, even if you’d been given the proper information to work with, that is something you need to learn how to accept – without the supportive details and reasoning. Some things just are. As much as it sucks, looking at your situation, you really didn’t stand a chance. Hurting you was just his way of justifying his own thoughts and actions, because you really didn’t do anything to give him reason to leave.
You’re not likely to understand his current relationship, but you really don’t have to. It’s his choice, and even if it doesn’t make sense to you, it does to him. In no way is it a reflection of you, and that is something you should keep in mind.
You’ve got your whole future ahead of you. A little bit of counseling or therapy may help you to move forward, because such an outlet can help you to focus more on yourself and less on the past. There is nothing abnormal about you missing your ex. He is what you’ve known and based your life and decisions on for twenty years. Time and changing the way you think is not an easy task… Necessary, but it’s not easy. Also, you may find that you will have a certain level of difficulty trusting in love and men. However, this is a challenge that you can overcome.
There will not be a reunion between you and your ex, nor do I see a true sense of healing. Holding onto that desire seems only to make things a bit more difficult for you, so I suggest you learn how to let it go. Even though you may feel lost and confused, this is an unasked for opportunity for you to allow yourself to heal and grow. Take it, and you’ll find happiness. More importantly, you will find a renewed sense of strength, self worth and validation and inner peace.
You may feel like you lost a life, and the security that you became so familiar with, but ultimately, you’ve been given a gift – the gift of freedom. While you can’t see it now, in a couple of years, you will. You’ll still have unanswered questions, but at that point, you’ll no longer care.
Take care of yourself, Lee. Your future is waiting for you.
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