I remember reading somewhere that “we don’t miss our ex when we leave, but we do miss our ex when they start moving on!” If we are the one who left, we often think things may be looking up for us. But once our ex wife starts dating or getting herself and her life back together, we often think, “Hmmmm. She looks really happy with that guy! She looks great! We used to have fun like that!” and all of a sudden we’re in an emotional funk wondering if we made the biggest mistake of our lives! 

The next thing we know, we’re doing that self flagellation exercise of looking at her Facebook page more than we should. We try to find out where she is going and what she is doing especially if there is another guy in the selfie with her!

Missing your ex wife after divorce is probably more of a challenge than you thought it would be. Even if we are the one who filed for divorce, and our brain knows divorce is for the best, we’re often surprised how much our ex wife pops into our mind. After enduring the frequently ugly separation and divorce process, and after the dust settles and we’re trying to figure out what comes next, we often have to finally admit to ourselves, “I miss my ex wife!”

Of course, If you didn’t want the divorce in the first place, it’s worse. One divorced man recently confided “I find myself obsessing about her, and especially about her with her new lover. I can’t stop thinking about everything we shared. The good and even the not-so-good. The music. The sex. The laughter. The tears. The family times together.” And then you most likely start envisioning her doing those things with someone else, and that’s agony!

After divorce, it can be debilitating to find yourself missing your ex wife and missing your old life. Sometimes we try to get back together when all of that loneliness and pain show up even if we know it’s not good for us. As bad as those feelings of loss after divorce are, they are normal.

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Why Do I Miss My Ex-Wife So Much?

Regardless of what happened to derail your marriage, it can be hard to turn off all of the different emotions you still feel about your ex wife, especially after a long marriage. None of us gets married thinking we will get divorced. Things were usually good in the beginning. We were in love. We enjoyed many of the same things. We had dreams of living happily together for the rest of our lives.

Even if we wanted the divorce, we often have to honestly ask ourselves, “Why do I miss my ex wife so much?” I’m the one who decided enough is enough! I’m the one who wanted more. Why am I struggling to let go of a relationship that wasn’t good for me?

If we didn’t want the divorce, it’s hard to admit to ourselves (and others!) that we are really struggling, and miss our ex wife and family in such a deep and visceral way. We’re often surprised that we are feeling depressed and devastated after divorce instead of relieved and ready to move on. In truth, you may be putting on a good face around others, but deep down you can barely get through the days and nights after your divorce is final.

It doesn’t help when friends and family tell you, “Just get over it!” or “It’s been long enough, you need to move on!” People who care about us just want us to feel better, and they often don’t know how to help or what to say. Everyone is worried about us because we seem to be having so much trouble moving on. It’s like a soldier who loses an arm or a leg in battle. Even though that part of your body is gone, you still feel excruciating pain.

She Was A Key Part Of Your Life

Those good feelings and shared experiences we once had with our ex wife are hard to just turn off after the divorce. We might have shared years or decades of music, and hearing those songs almost always makes us miss our ex wife in some way. No matter how few and far between, we shared good times. We shared inside jokes. We knew where we fit in, even if it wasn’t a perfect fit.

You Miss The Past

After divorce, if you have children with your ex wife, it’s even harder to just cut her out of your life and thoughts. We remember those amazing days of bringing a new life into the world … together. Almost all of us took pride in a good and growing family, and our ex is so much a part of that, that it’s hard not to miss the specific things about the intact family that we once shared. Traditions. Holidays. Vacations. School stuff. Everything!

The truth is, “The Way Things Were” often looks better looking back after divorce. It’s very common after divorce to want things to be like they once were, even if things were not so good. We confuse “okay” with “happy and fulfilled and great.” In retrospect, we often remember the good things and forget all the things that made us decide to divorce. We sometimes gloss over the heartbreak of infidelity or indifference, or the difficulties that we had learned to live with like addictions or feeling like our spouse was just never satisfied.

You Feel Bad For Leaving

If you are the one who left the marriage or wanted the divorce, there are often feelings of guilt and remorse and regret that show up after initiating the divorce process. Our blog about Do men who leave their marriage regret it may be helpful to read. Almost everyone has times of indecision or doubt about whether to leave their marriage. I am the one who filed, but it was the hardest decision I have ever made and I was devastated that divorce described my life. But as hard as that decision was, it wasn’t as hard as staying with a spouse who wanted to be with someone else instead of me, or maybe staying with a spouse who was addicted or abusive or someone who just did not appreciate you.

Men who have strong spiritual beliefs may also have a hard time getting to forgiveness if our wife left us for someone else. As a man told me recently, “I’m really struggling. I miss my wife so much it hurts! I know I should, but I have a hard time wishing her — and them — well. I am in so much pain! I am so angry. I am devastated that she seems so happy, while I am barely able to get through every day in one piece!”

Does My Ex-Wife Miss Me?

When we are trying to come to grips with the fact that we still miss our ex wife after divorce, we can’t help asking ourselves, “Does my ex wife miss me?” Those kinds of questions will make you crazy! And there is no use asking that question if the divorce is in process or has already happened. If she is the one who left, she is probably not thinking about you at all. I desperately wanted my ex to miss me as much as I missed him. I wanted him to be as miserable as I was and to spend as many sleepless nights as I had! In the meantime, he was pouring all of his energy into his new love, and not thinking about me at all. After a while, that started making me mad!

I desperately wanted not to care what he was doing or thinking. And here’s a piece of advice after many many years of doing divorce recovery work. Do not wait for your ex wife to ever tell you she is sorry or to tell you she appreciated everything you did for her over the years! I wanted some closure after divorce. You probably want your ex to say something about being sorry things didn’t work out, and taking responsibility for her part in the breakup, and that you still have an important place in her heart. From my experience, give that up!

Should I Get Back Together?

Sometimes if we are still in the process of divorce, we think, “This pain is too much! Maybe we should try again to save this marriage!” Again, speaking from experience …. the whole time we were separated, I kept thinking we could still fix our marriage. I still thought he would realize what a mistake he was making! (And if your wife left you, you want her to realize her mistake, too!) My ex didn’t want to give up the lover, no matter what he said. I think you should explore every single avenue to save your marriage, but if your partner doesn’t want to fix things, too, reconciliation is very unlikely.

How To Move On After Divorce

To those people who have not been through divorce, they think moving on is just something you decide to do, and then you do it. Here’s the problem: you miss your ex wife more than you ever thought possible! Mostly it probably makes you mad! You want to get over her. You’re trying to stop thinking about her. You are not eating right or sleeping well. You obsess. You cry. You continually think of all of those things you should have done or should not have done. I know. I’ve been there.

If divorce is certain, you only have one choice to make. Like my brother told me after a particularly miserable week, when I literally felt worse than I had ever felt in my life and thought I might not physically survive the pain, he said: “You have one choice. Are you going to get over this divorce and find out what God wants to do with the rest of your life, or are you going to stay in this pit of despair? You have to decide.”

He made it very clear to me that I was in charge of the rest of my life; and that as sad and broken as I was, that I was the one who had to make the choice to get better. That is true for you too, especially if you are still wallowing in the pain of missing your ex wife.

If your ex wife has taken up permanent residence in your brain, and you think you’ll never get over this divorce, that’s how I felt about my situation, too. But that is not true!

You can start your real recovery process today. We can come alongside you for a whole year and help you do the grieving and healing and rebuilding work you need to do. Don’t try to slog through this alone. It’s just too hard. We connect you with a whole tribe of men who are also on this road, and are determined to have a life of adventure and fun and purpose and love and every other good thing. Getting better is your choice! The Men’s Divorce Recovery Academy is here to help.

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