January, the month for divorces

I certainly didn't know on January 4th, 2000 - the day that my husband informed me he was abandoning our marriage - that January is known as "Divorce Month" and that the first Monday of the year is known as "Divorce Day". This makes sense, of course, since the spouse that is leaving probably made it their New Year's resolution to opt out of the marriage.

During our last holiday together, I did not understand Bob's cold/ice cold to freezing moods. On October 30th he had held my hand as we attended a local festival and told me how much he loved me; by January 5th he had taken the guest room furniture and his desk, books, and clothes and moved into an apartment he had found in early December. I asked him why he had waited to leave me, why not before Christmas? He did not want to ruin my holiday, he said. (As if I would not notice his scowls when he looked at me and constant disapproval of everything I did.)

Bob's treatment of me during the subsequent months ended my respect for him, thankfully so, for I cannot love someone I do not respect. And so, within 11 months of his departure, after 26 years of marriage and 32 years of friendship, Bob got his divorce, a new fiancee, and a new life. I got the house, a job, and a dog, and, due to a drastic loss of appetite, finally lost the 40 lbs. I'd been meaning to lose for the past decade.

If you have come to this blog seeking answers, I'm afraid I have none. I can tell you that the raw emotions you are experiencing are shared by many others going through divorce, and that I too felt the extreme hurt and pain and bewilderment that you are feeling now.

Just know that you have family and friends you can depend on. Just know that in the fullness of time, your world, which now feels horribly out of kilter, will right itself again. Just know that you are worth loving and that you will be loved again.


Older but not wiser : ) said...

Thanks for such a thoughtful blog. My first marriage broke up after 21 years, we were together for 26 years, childhood sweethearts etc. (In the first days of February!) He went from working with all men, to working in a team of women and it was like he had walked into a candy shop after being on a starvation diet. I got depressed, he left me and took my children. I almost didn't make it. I have remarried, have a great job, have lots of contact with my wonderful adult kids - everyone told me it would turn itself around and it did. But I am getting counseling at the moment because I have never quite gotten over the pain of why someone I loved dearly would treat me so very badly. He has just remarried and his new wife has stopped him having contact with our children (he was never very strong). I can't believe the pain some people can cause with no recourse. At 50, I am mostly content with my life now, but I did think of forming a support group for women who have had their children taken, or who have a marriage break up after a long marriage. I didn't because I was worried that it immerses you in pain. So this blog seems to be a nice forum for people dealing with all this, wish I had found it years ago! I do believe that with all the pain and suffering and custody issues and violence and cheating and lies etc in divorce, that society as a whole just doesn't deal with it so well. There are no easy answers but there has to be a better way!

Zachary Shepherd said...

I'm saddened by your story, and I'm so sorry to hear about the divorce, but you are one strong woman. Sharing what happened before and after is such a brave thing to do. I admire your strength and willpower. You are an inspiration to others who have gone through the same problem.

Anonymous said...

I am just starting this process after 20 years of marriage and am so thankful that I have found your blog. I found someplace where I can relate and see that I am not alone.

Thank you!

Vic said...

Older but not wiser and anonymous,

Thank you for stopping by and leaving your comments.

Older but not wiser, if only we had a crystal ball and could foresee the future. Then we could somehow prepare ourselves for what is to come. You have hit the nail on the head. This blog is a forum for discourse. Too often the support that people in pain receive is mindlessly negative (people telling their horror stories), and this doesn't help the person who is truly seeking answers.

I hope you find that support group. I left quite a few because of the drama that one or two individuals contributed to the atmosphere. In fact, after joining one session, I realized how much I had come along in accepting my life as it was. My question then became: how do I go on from here?

The answer was finding my passion again, and I don't mean with a man. I started to live my life just as I always wanted to, with as little compromise for pleasing others. I concentrated on pleasing myself, and lo and behold, I settled into a routine and lifestyle that gave me joy. (I also discovered great satisfaction in giving to others and helping others in need.)

I hope you will find this contentment too. - Vic

Anonymous said...

I could have written this blog. My husband of over 28 years has decided he is "no longer happy" and is in the process of leaving. I have always been happy with our marriage, and there have really been "no big problems". He seems depressed, and in need counseling/meds, if I suggest this, he becomes even more angry, and instead, chooses to blame our marriage for his unhappiness.
I am so unhappy,and confused. The problem I face is I have no close family (no children) and no very close friends. So I am all by myself. :(
I also am in a horrid job situation, the stress and expectations are eating me alive. Make good money, and decent benefits, but I feel like if I don't make a change, the stress from the job is going to kill me. How does someone my age start over, when the only new job prospects are minimum wage with no benefits? On my last physical, my doctor noticed I have high blood pressure, I am scared to deal with it. I am also scared that if I am without health insurance, that I am going to find out I have health issues that will eat up all the money I have saved over the years.
How can someone who is over 50 totally start over? I have zero confidence in myself as a person, employee, friend. Between my husband saying he is leaving, and a job situation I need to remove myself from, what do I do?
Thank you for any advice or support. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Wow how true...
Thanks for your blog so many similar stories it's like people read the same book when it comes to leaving a long time marriage. I have been separated over 12 months now married 25 years together 27. My husband lost the big love.... Well excuse for his cheating , justifcation.....It's unbelievable at times the pain and sadness that creeps back up at times, especially around festive seasons family occasions birthdays ..... I think if there wasn't so many lies,Infedility issues with some of these separations maybe we could heal faster. So much damage is done to the other person when things arent managed well... I'm a pretty positive person usually but at times this experience, loss has rocked my confidence, ive lost my trust, and i dont want that ...I have good friends, small family but it's the loneliness inside still, the silent grief for my marriage, my lost dreams as a family ...lost cuddles and being told i love you by a partner.... Keeping busy working , reading , having wonderfulnfriends to confidein, searching the nett for comfort in similar stories all helps.... I know logically that time will heal ,new opportunities for new relationships will present when least expected ..... But geee its a shit still ...wish separations were truly mutual be so much easier ...wish you all well , hope you find happiness and love again ..

Anonymous said...

Your blog is comforting. I will be 63 next week, married 37 years and am now living alone. 3 months ago I moved 2 hrs. away from my husband (who had interest in other women) to start my life over. My children have been great support but I would love to find friends my age. Right now, I am very lonely. I started attending Divorce Care support groups which is wonderful. Divorce is just plain painful and agonizing. I had no idea........never really thought about it. I also didn't realize how uncomfortable people become when you mention you are going through a divorce. I thought it might be comforting for me to turn to blogging for divorce support and friendship.

Donna (older but not wiser) said...

I checked back in to this blog to see if any comments had been left, and wow, I can't believe how many long marriages have broken up. It leaves a peculiar kind of pain doesn't it? As though a loved parent has decided they no longer want you. You can't help feeling somehow flawed. It has been 9 years since my break up and as I said before, my hurt at the treatment by someone I loved and trusted lingers. My Dad died 2 years ago and because he was 80 and we talked at length before the time, I can openly discuss this without a tear. But talk about my break up, and I still cry and feel so stupid! It has actually helped a lot to get this out in the open, I think the pain over the Xams season doesn't help as it used to be a huge family event, now its a bit flawed... To those whose partners leave because they are not happy, I can tell you they still won't be happy leaving, happiness doesn't come from your partner! My ex ended up being treated for depression years after our divorce, but he could no longer blame me for his unhappiness. To those who have had partners fall 'out of love', I have been remarried 7 years this year and once again the initial all-consuming passion has waned, but I would never sacrifice the gentle love and companionship I have found. Vic is right in her comments about following her passion, I finally put myself first now and pursue the things I love. I know it is hard for those of us who have to return to work after a break up, all I can suggest is find something you enjoy and try and get work in that field, I really feel for you, but have confidence in yourself and take it one day at a time. I was unhappy and broke in a part time job at first, I am a librarian, and someone suggested I apply at a school. I now love my job and get so much pleasure from working with the teens I see every day. It is incredibly satisfying. I have health issues and have had for years, but looking after me for the first time, and having the support of my second husband (whom I met via a dating website!)helps tremendously. I subscribe to a wonderful email every day at www.dailygood.org and I find seeing some of the wonderful things people do for others who are in desperate situations is very uplifting, it helps put things in perspective. I hope all of those who have left comments and advice find their way. Thanks Vic for supporting this discussion via your blog.

Vic said...

Hi all, thank you for leaving your comments. I am both sad, maddened, and hopeful from reading your stories. We all share the same emotions. Those of us of a certain age who were left by mates of long-standing are the only ones who can understand the hurt, betrayal, loss of trust, and fear of starting a new life in our 50s and 60s. We are the walking wounded staring old age and ill health in the face. (I am worried about my pre-diabetic condition.)

Just know that if you follow your passion (thank you Donna for understanding what I was trying to say) and if you live your life fully because you are FINALLY doing exactly what you want and what pleases you, you will find contentment again.

I search for contentment. Happiness happens so rarely and is so fleeting, that I look for a contented state, which is healing. I revel in the moments when I am happy; but I am sustained by a life that lacks drama and makes me feel secure and content.

Thank you ALL for stopping by and continuing this all important discussion. We can learn so much from each other. My heart goes out to you all. I wish you all my best.

Anonymous said...

"due to a drastic loss of appetite, finally lost the 40 lbs. I'd been meaning to lose for the past decade."

Hummm, maybe should have gotten around to that sooner. My wife has piled on the pounds, has not had sex in 6 months, and thinks it is OK to let herself go, and wallow in self pity. She says I should just suck it up.

Then women wonder why the men bugger off. There are always excuses on both sides.

Vic said...

Anonymous: It's interesting that you mentioned my weight loss. During 25 of the 26 years of our marriage, my husband was 50 lbs. overweight. In that last year he lost 30 lbs. I yo-yo'd, going from a size 4 to a size 14.

When he left he said, "At least you knew what you were getting. Look how you have changed."

I cherish the men I meet who love their wives regardless of how they have aged. With time, our metabolism changes. If, by reading my post, you think I am wallowing in self-pity, then please read it again.

BTW, the woman my ex married just 6 months after our divorce weighed more than me at my heaviest and now looks twice my size. Go figure.

The Divorced Dudes Club said...

Love your blog. Posted it on my facebook page. Checkout my FB page and my blog at http://thedivorceddudesclub.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this blog. Divorce, after such a long marriage, and at our age is devastating. I probably could handle this better at 25 when your whole life is ahead of you. I was married for 18 years and had been with my husband for 21. We've had trouble for the last 5 years and I tried like heck to save us to no avail. This last October, he moved out. I'm trying to cope day by day. Some being better than others.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog .I am going through the same right now,after forty three years of marriage,my husband met someone oneline ,has never met her and decided that he was in love with her and can't live without her.His kids have turned against him but he doesn't care. So now he is trying to force me into selling our home ,so now I waiting for his next move.Thanks for letting me vent.

Anonymous said...

I think the concept of moving on is a flawed one, that denies the past. It's more self deception or escapism. After a 35 yr realtionship 28 married, 3 kids, my wife started cheating. She was always one to flirt and attract attention and she wanted one last stab at "more".....
I now believe that love is just a mish mash of chemical drives and an exchange of trust. Having been let down on the trust front I see no point in putting myself under the hammer again. I always believed family are the people you don't give up on. Mine is now fractured, and has been now for 7 years. Move on? to where... and why?
I now pre-occupy myself with making money, it's all I can leave my kids. Got more than I ever had.
No substitute for a family.


Anonymous said...

After 23 years of marriage at 53 I am getting a divorce. My husband has been seeing someone else. I found out on December 31, it was his birthday. I have list 10 pounds, begun drinking heavily. I want to stay married, I know it is dumb. He has had affairs before. He has a secret credit card and pass codes on all his phones. When I try to ask him anything about it he calls me a fucking bitch and says if I would pay more attention to him he would not cheat. I am so depressed I want to die.

Ruth said...

Am in the same boat, husband having an affair, and after 30 plus years of marriage, he is leaving me for the other woman, who has a track record for having affairs..how can the odd stolen moments of just 5 months be seen as enough to destroy what we have worked together to build. Feel that I am not good enough and at 56 my life is over, have hack my confidence knocked out of me, and am struggling to function. Worse still he is still in the house and says he I tends staying till the separation is sorted out. Breaks my heart every time I look at him as I still yearn for the man I love.

Vic said...

Anonymous and Ruth: Your husbands are wrong. They choose to behave the way they do because of something that is lacking in them, not in you. One of the previous commentors had the nerve to say that I should have lost my 40lbs. earler - as if a relationship is built on looks, not on love, trust, years of caring and sharing, and mutual respect.

Please do not beat up on yourselves, but seek a group where you can share your hurt and feelings. You are not responsible for your husbands' actions. You are not responsible for his happiness. Those are two hard lessons I have learned.

That Guy said...

As That Guy, I just wanted to tell you that it's not easy on the other side of the equation.

There's never enough support, period, for dealing with something this serious and personal. But women -- or whomever gets left behind -- often seem to have the lion's share of any sympathy and support that does exist. Those of us who make the decision to leave can be so very alone.

We're selfish, we're heartless, we're restless. Fair enough.

But there is no pain quite like the pain of knowing that someone loves you, will do anything for you -- and you just can't make yourself share that feeling.

No matter how hard you've tried, no matter how deeply you've searched your heart, the best you can manage is gratitude and consideration. The urge to sacrifice, to silence the horrible voices of guilt, to reward the devotion of someone who you once loved more than anything -- and still care deeply about, no matter what your actions may indicate.

You make yourself do the things that describe a good husband, a good lover, a good friend -- hoping, year after year, that someday you'll feel that real desire and love again. Because you want that feeling back so much, with the person that you know feels that way about you.

But years go by. You may get some brief fading echoes that keep you going, but it never really comes back. And one day you wake up and realize how close your story is to being over. You got old while you weren't looking, and you're going to keep getting older, and you've already run out of time for so many things.

You just want to fall in love again before it's too late. You want to feel that incomparable sensation of inspiration and discovery.

Call it shallow, or callous, or a desperate and pathetic grasping for lost youth. Call it the sad and stereotypical behaviour of men, who (as a million jokes and pearls of common wisdom tell us) just don't think with their heads.

But some of us stereotypical guys actually can think with our heads, and feel with our hearts. And we hate ourselves for being selfish, and for throwing away so many years, and for not being able to appreciate a good thing when we have it. And yet we know how much we're hurting you by staying when we don't feel it anymore, by lying with our every smile and touch and presence by your side.

It's a lose - lose situation, whether by staying or going. And every day the need to decide once and for all becomes more and more overwhelming. Every day is one less day, for you and her, to face the future and recover and maybe find some happiness.

And nobody can help you. Your best friend is the one person in the world that you can't talk to, the one person who is least likely to be objective and understanding. Everyone else either doesn't want to talk about it, or has their own agenda or spin on the situation. You don't even know if you can trust yourself to see or say the real truth, instead of a self-serving, self-pitying version of the situation.

At some point you have to end the stalemate. You have to be cruel, and heartless, and selfish. It just can't go on like this. The only other option is to resign yourself to living the lie, to growing old full of regrets and frustrations, hoping that something will come along to help you bury or escape or ease your struggle. There are no guarantees either way -- but either way, no matter who you may or may not end up with, no matter what kind of happiness you may or may not find, you know that you'll have to face yourself for the rest of your life.

Donna said...

Just touched back as I have found this blog quite helpful, in the sense that I don't feel I am alone in my difficulty 'moving on' after the end of my 26 year relationship.

I was very interested in reading the comment by That Guy, it is brave of you I think to express this amongst a lot of comments from women, and you may cop criticism. I do believe what you describe is what happened in some ways in my own relationship. I have to admit that I did over the course of time, fall in and out of love with my husband every now and then. Sometimes I loathed him but I struggled on. I almost left after 10 years of marriage, my ex seemed to put his job and pleasure in traveling the world working ahead of family - given the choice between that and three kids under 4 - who wouldn't? But I stayed because I am the kind of person who sees things out. I sought pleasure in my artistic pursuits and this gave me much contentment.

I do believe that all relationships lose that exciting initial 'zing', a lot of that is chemical. If you have chosen well - and I met my ex at 16 so often doubt my judgment - you may be able to weather the storms, but if not, then it may not last. I don't miss my ex as much as my family unit. My adult children are hurting. My ex took my children, then threw my daughter out when she didn't like his new partner. At the moment, my daughter is seeking to repair this with her father, I have no problem with that, I am not vindictive. But my adult sons now hate their father. I don't like that either.

Perhaps the problem with all this is, relationships are probably bound to end for many, and it is the ending that is done very very badly. When my Dad died, I made peace with him and was able to move on. But how I was treated by my ex has traumatized me totally. I see our relationship wasn't perfect, but don't we owe it to our faithful long time partner to treat them with the dignity and respect we would treat anyone else? This is what I have trouble with. I wouldn't treat a dog like my ex treated me.

I am fortunate enough to have met a kind, gentle man, we had about 3 years of the wonderful 'zing' and it has faded into a stable companionship. We are celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary next weekend. We have always used the metaphor of our life together as a journey, we married on an airplane!! All journeys have ups, downs, twists, turns, long boring stretches, exhilarating climbs - but we both feel safe in each others company, and there is still passion simmering underneath it.

Regarding That Guy's comments about sympathy, I feel people were frightened by my grief and I lost many many friends. The one comment I have been told repeatedly is 'get over it'. I am working on it!

I am the only women out of all my divorced friends whose ex took their children. I was/am a good mother. My children have become wonderful young adults. The pain of this is dreadful, when I look at any male colleagues who have lost their children and see the awful games played, I feel for them.

I wish I knew how we could fix the way people divorce, give both sides the support they need and end all this pain. Considering how far we have come, the fact I am in Australia typing comments on a blog to people from the US and around the world is amazing! Yet we can not/ will not/ do not give support to others during divorce. I don't have the answers but I wish I did.

Joyce Pitrone Hawkins--Wrinkles Don't Hurt said...

After a 40 year relationship (36 of them married) my ex left...at Christmas time (I think his employee-girlfriend finally gave him a ultimatium) and we have never spoken again. It's been 4 years now.

Going through my divorce was traumatic for me (I also lost 36 pounds...1 for each year married), but I finally came to terms with my divorce.

I absolutely love my "alone" time now.

But I still have a problem. My ex is still taking me to court to have his spousal-support terminated!

I can't afford going back again! He has lost every time, but the last time in court, the judge told him not to come back unless there was a significant change in our financial status.

He took her word and QUIT his good-paying job! So now, next month it's back to court...again.

It seems like my divorce has never ended! My ex has to pay "permanent" alimony, although it is modifiable.

Unfortunately, at age 62 (he's 61) it's hard to support yourself after you've been out of work for the past 9 years. I left my job with my ex's encouragement and he is now insisting that I can work and make more than he.

He wanted out...now he wantes to change the deal!

Good luck to all those who have been in these long-term marriages and are now getting divorced. It is a life changer, but sometimes, although you can't see it now, it will be for the better.

Anonymous said...

I am learning it's not how long you have been married. I was married 30 years 10 months. Its the disrespect, unwillingness to get help and thinking starting all over again is the best way to go. If you have problems in a current marriage, packing your bags and leaving, all your problems will follow you to the next relationship. You will carry all your luggage on your back for the rest of your life. Fix what you have. Repair whats been broken and love the person who you fell in love with in the beginning of the relationship.

Survivor said...

Thought I was the only one...was married for 24 years to a man I adored. Compromised my goals, my dreams - my chances to have a family, all for the sake of a man who never really loved me. During the divorce process he informed me that he didn't leave earlier in our marriage because I made life easier for him. Financial Security, coupled with my neverending trust and faith in him allowed him the freedom to explore and do as he pleased. Blindly, I believed his stories and vows of love. What do I have to show after 24 years of marriage...let's see, I lost my home, my financial security/retirement, half of my belongings and worse of all, my faith. Found out after the divorce process that he had been seeing other women and men for the last 15 years of our marriage. He is currently engaged, living in my former home. At 52, I'm starting over, a daunting task.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

So..... That Guy I agree completely!! I told my husband I want a divorce after 28 years of marriage. I haven't loved him for god knows how long. I began an affair with a co worker 20 years ago and we are still going strong. I left and he followed. We are taking things slow and who knows where we end up and if we are together. For me I couldn't lie anymore and I am not proud that I cheated and I loved and still love someone else! I couldn't keep lying to him he does deserve more than what I gave him. And as for my friend, he finally left her and the guilt has been hard and he puts hus kids before everything but I love that about him. He is a great dad and a great person. We married the wrong people. I was a good wife and he never knew About my friend. But to get back to that guy I know how you feel because my friend is the bad one the one that's wrong according to her hus wife but what About his happiness and his And future he deserves more whether it me or another person you can't make someone love you and when all is said and done a person owes it to them selves to be happy. She's still in denial and won't sign the sepRation agreement she needs to realize he is not in love with her. Give up and give him a chance of real happiness not guilt and pitty. How can she not see that and be so selfish!!

Brian said...

Thanks for all of your posts. I too am divorced. I loved her very much and have been struggling for two years to let go. In the end, she told me that she only stayed together for the financial convenience and that she hadn’t cared for me for most of the relationship (twelve years). You all know what it is to have your heart ripped out, so I won’t go into the personal devastation that followed.

I’ve taken many a test in life and studied my lessons with great determination to become successful, but they all pale in comparison to this test and lesson: Love is the art of letting go. Very difficult skill to master.

Read these while researching divorce on the net: 50% of first time marriages end in divorce, 70% for second marriages, etc. 70% of marriages have experienced infidelity. 51% of households are headed by single adults. There are over one million divorces in the US every year.

I mention these stats because they helped me to put divorce into perspective and helped me to know that it is becoming more the norm than the exception. We are not alone.

Anonymous said...

I can see that not too many people leave comments on this site. But what I have read so far is very informative. It all comes down to getting your life together and moving on. Keep your good friends and get rid of the rest. Family can be there for you. Take time for yourself.

Anonymous said...

I have looked at all of your storys. He left me for someone 10 years older then me. He cheated 6 times. 1 was my sister inlaw. He left me 3 times for other women. 1 was my sister inlaw. I took him back everytime. Justt happy he was back. Told myself he really loves me. He just needs to grow up. the 30 years we were together. He didn't work 15 of those. I worked 80 hours for a family of 5. Like the man above said he told me the samething. That I didn't show him I much I loved him. I worked 80 hour a week help raise our 3 kids. Did what I was subpost to do for your family. You know that you dream of the day they tell they made a mistake. You were the best . Then you say. I know right. You picked this life. I didn't. I picked my family. Now live your life away from me. But after reading that mans statement above.how he stop loving her long ago. And he found someone to love. He just wanted to be happy. Well me too. But I did what I was subpost to do as an adult is to but your family first. Now I know that he fall out of love with me a long time ago a nother dream has been takin away from me. Now what?

utruin said...
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Anonymous said...

Just in case you're wondering (ha!), I stayed. The woman that I loved so dearly, who inspired me to turn my thoughts of divorce into a plan of action, couldn't wait for the time that I felt it was needed -- to end my marriage as respectfully and honorably as I could.

I took my everyone's advice to seek counseling and personal therapy, and my true love took it to mean that I'd chosen my wife over her. So now I've lost my main source of inspiration and motivation, and I feel trapped by having nowhere left to go. The emptiness inside is so painful, and I'm tormented by the thought that I got what I deserved.

I'm not interested in going through the hurt that comes after falling in love again, so I'm trying to fix my marriage as best I can -- but there's now the added pain of knowing that there is something more that I'll never have. And no matter how I try, I can't get my wife to be the more that I need. The affection, the intimacy, the feeling of belonging and oneness is not there, and I'm resigned to the fact that I'll live the rest of my life in mere friendhip and routine.

Which, I tell myself, is more than many people ever feel. I'm lucky to have had both of them, but I just don't feel lucky.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...
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