I just wanted to say hello! And thank you so much for everything you have done. I read your article in March about your marriage ending, and whilst I know so many people have said this to you, it struck such a chord with me. I felt in such a similar place to you. My husband of 16 years had recently walked out. We met at university and he had been with me practically half my life. I also am highly empathic; I regularly cry at adverts and can really feel others pain. I cannot tell you how much it helped someone else articulating my thoughts so beautifully and to know that I was not alone in how I was feeling. I have no friends who have been separated / are alone.
A friend said ‘could he be cheating’
My husband walked out 18 months ago. We had not been getting on that well, he had been very distant and spending every moment locked in the kitchen ‘working’. He claimed he was working and did work from home but he had become very secretive and kept closing the door etc. He was drinking heavily every day. A friend said ‘could he be cheating’ but I didn’t see how as he never left the house. His father had also cheated on his mother and he had gone through a painful divorce that he regularly blamed for some of his mental health issues so it’s the one thing I thought he would never do. I thought our relationship was just in a bad stage, as it was for many of my friends with 2 very young children.
However in March 2019, after a spell of being even more distant, I asked him if he still loved me. He said no. He then said that he wanted to leave and that our relationship was over. This hit me like a truck, I had no idea he felt like that and had thought we would be together forever. I asked him to try counselling for the sake of the children but he refused to even try. This broke my heart more that he wouldn’t even try for our 2 beautiful girls. A day later he went upstairs and left his computer unlocked. I hadn’t been checking it but seeing it open made me realise he had started locking it and I looked at his screen. His skype conversation was up and I saw a girl’s name at the top. The messages were brutal, he repeatedly told this girl he loved her, was going to marry her, couldn’t wait to live with her and have children with her. It suddenly all made sense. I told him I had found the messages and he left.
Since news of our split became public several of my friends came forward to say he had been repeatedly texting them late at night very drunk. In most cases it was just chatty but still highly inappropriate. In 2 cases, (including my best friend) he had said extremely inappropriate things and had seemed to be trying it on. He also shared with many of my friends, including my sister in law, that he was unhappy with our sex life. He hadn’t ever shared this with me and this was extremely humiliating. Due to his depression, heavy drinking and poor financial management I was working most evenings plus taking care of our 2 children. Adding that, to his remote and distant behaviour, meant sex hadn’t been on the cards that often but again nothing I had thought particularly unusual for couples in our position at that time.
Life is hard. I don’t know anyone else who is separated and the loneliness at times is unbearable.
Since then it’s been really tough. He’s been very unreliable with money and contact with our 2 beautiful girls who have struggled massively with the split. How do you explain this to a 3 and 5 year old?! He is extremely narcissistic and very hard to deal with on anything. Life is hard. I don’t know anyone else who is separated and the loneliness at times is unbearable. Seeing other happy families in the park really hurts. My little girl found an article in her magazine recently which said name your top 4 wishes, her top one was ‘I wish my daddy would come home’.
Seeing other happy families in the park really hurts.
It still breaks my heart when the girls go to stay with their dad – this was every 3 weeks but is now every other weekend. At least the contact part is a bit more reliable now. Packing their cases and sending them off just feels so so wrong and I cry every time. I really thought that part would feel easier by now, but it doesn’t. I feel like part of me is ripped out every time. Christmas, which was my favourite time is now filled with thoughts of fear, about not being with my babies on that day. I also regularly have overwhelming feelings of panic – about anything happening to me for my girls sake, and of anything happening to my parents. I simply could not have got through this without them.
The one thing it has shown though, is what wonderful other people I have around me. My friends and family have been there for me and it’s true that you do find another support network that way. Doing those ‘blue’ jobs are scary but so empowering once you do it. I set up my new router the other day and was very proud of myself. Like you said, those jobs can be big triggers for me. I have started to think about the possibility of dating again – although 18 years out the dating game is absolutely terrifying. I also have no idea how someone else could fit into our life and still not sure I want to risk being hurt again.
It’s true time helps but I must say I thought I would feel stronger and better by now, 18 months later. The evenings are particularly hard and I still cry regularly. The saddest part is with a break up you want that distance and closure, but when you have children together you never get that.
Anyway just wanted to share my story and to say thank you for all your articles and posts. They help so much. I pre-ordered your book and cannot wait to read it.
Thanks so much,