If we have spent years (or decades) with another person — it’s hard to disconnect after divorce. I was angry and sad, but after the divorce was final, I had to admit to myself that “I miss my ex husband.” I missed the security. The predictability. The sex. I missed the good parts of what we had together before the trouble started.
Most women miss our ex at some point. We miss the good things we had in our marriage. We committed our time, energy, support and love in big and little ways. We shared secrets and intimacies along with the tough stuff that comes along with every long relationship. We may have children together. And we miss the love that kept our marriage vibrant and growing — until it didn’t.
So when divorce happens and people say, “You need to get over it,” or “Come on! Forget about him!,” they don’t realize how hard that is unless they have been in this situation themselves. People who care about us want us to feel better. They want us to get over it and be happy again, but it’s not that easy especially after a long marriage.
We usually know in our head that our marriage has become toxic. We know we can’t be the person we want to be and stay in a marriage like that. But it often takes our heart longer to catch up to that reality. We know what we had together –. the good, the bad and the ugly. And we miss the good parts of it — no matter how few and far between they were.
You Spent Many Years Together
Especially if we divorce at midlife, a couple has often spent more time together than we spent apart. My wasband and I got married when I was barely 21. So when we divorced 33 years later, I had been with him longer than I had been without him.
If we have children together, those lives are part of both of us. That is a bond between us that will never be broken. I missed talking to my ex about what was going on with the children.
Parenting is hard enough with two of you trying to figure things out together. When we divorce, it’s harder to maintain that unified relationship with the children, and in my opinion, that’s a great loss for them. So sometimes we think we should stay in the marriage for the kids. That’s not usually a good choice.
You Want Things The Way They Used To Be
Some days during my divorce I wanted my ex husband back and sometimes I wanted him dead. It’s hard to admit that, but it’s the truth. The emotional roller coaster of divorce causes erratic, intense emotions. Some days we want things back like they were before the other woman showed up. Some days we wish we never had to see him again.
Almost all of us tend to sweep the bad things that happened in our marriage under the rug and conveniently forget about the things that were destructive to us and to the family. In looking back, we often forget those times when we felt unloved or abused or had to put up with substance abuse or porn or someone who was controlling and overbearing.
Part of the desire to return to the marriage is that the loneliness after divorce can be so overwhelming that it can push us to want to return to an unacceptable relationship just to have another warm body around. In most marriages we knew what to expect even if it was something destructive. That, at times, seems better than the devastating loneliness that comes after divorce especially when our children have left home and our friends forget about us.
You Feel Bad For Leaving Him
Many women are the ones who file for divorce. Often they do so because their husband is unwilling to change his destructive behavior. Men will usually stay in a relationship as long as his wife allows him to maintain the facade of a respectable intact family as he continues to do things that hurt the marriage. Some women turn a blind eye to bad behavior because they are afraid to be alone.
I am the one who filed for divorce in my marriage. It broke my heart to do that, but even though I missed things about my ex, I refused to stay married to a man who wouldn’t give up his girlfriend. Most guys are willing to hang around hoping they can have their cake and eat it, too. I allowed that for way too long. I just kept thinking he would come to his senses, give her up and come back home. He didn’t.
I ended the marriage. More wives than husbands end the marriage. This causes a lot of men to take on the role of victim, somehow. They often blame us for not giving them another chance, or “being so unforgiving” or not able to move on (even though he did) – all while they continually refuse to change the behavior that caused the breakup in the first place.
It Won’t Be Different Second Time Around
My ex husband and I separated three times before I finally filed for divorce. Each time I let him come back home, I truly thought that his affair was over, and we were going to rebuild and make our marriage stronger than ever. That’s what he said he wanted. It didn’t happen. He broke my heart over and over again by going back to the woman he said he was through with. Your ex may have broken promises he made to you as well.
Usually once a person goes down the road of infidelity, addiction, or other bad behavior, it is very difficult for them to turn that around. And they often get so far down that road and have invested so much in the new relationship and burned so many bridges in the old relationship that it is very hard to repair the marriage. It’s work, and most people who are destroying the marriage just aren’t willing to do what’s necessary for reconciliation.
How To Get Over A Divorce
Before the divorce, we are filled with uncertainty. We deny what’s going on. We accept the unacceptable in our relationship. We spend hours, days, months and maybe years trying to decide whether to divorce or not.
But once we have made that decision and accept the pain and change and suffering that goes along with it, we have one choice to make: Am I going to keep missing my ex and let this destroy me? Or Am I going to do everything I can to make my life wonderful again? It’s my choice. No one will make it for me. I will figure out how to get over a divorce.
Once we make that decision, we have to give up (1) all those things we can’t control, and (2) all those things we can’t change. The only thing we need to focus on is taking concrete actions every day to move ourselves to a rich, fun and full life again.
Wanting our ex back after our divorce is unproductive. Wishing we had our ex back after our divorce is wasted time and energy. Forgetting why it was that we had to file for divorce is not going to help us rebuild the future we want.
Join our tribe of RADiCAL Women — women who are Rising Above Divorce In Confidence And Love. Looking back doesn’t help. Missing our ex keeps us stuck in the pain. Getting help to grieve and heal and start rebuilding your life does help.
Instead of missing your ex husband, who was not good for you, start fighting for the life you have deserved all along!