I want to reflect a little 6 months after I saw my husband for the last time. I didn’t want my marriage to end. Both of us had invested more than 20 years into our relationship. Even now there are times when I wish you could press a reset button and put ourselves back together again.
Is there any point trying to work out who was right and who was wrong? The result is the same. Two people hurting in their own individuals ways not to mention the impact on our three children. I have a new man which makes it look as if this is easy for me. That is far from the case. My husband tells me he does not want a divorce and doesn’t want to find anyone else. We are both finding our way in this strange new territory. It’s harder for him as he is separated from his children but he has the friends we made. It is more difficult for me because I am doing almost all the parenting and living with family until I can find a place of my own. My treasured possessions remain in the marital home overseas and with travel restrictions I just don’t know when I will see them again. The truth is it is just a rotten situation.
As I know I am far from alone in this situation, I am sharing some things that have helped me in the last 6 months.
It’s a serious thing
At the start I felt I should make excuses and apologise for all my angst and tears. It felt like I was troubling family and friends unduly. Everyone has their own problems of course and especially when a global pandemic is going on. I remember my friend DS saying I should let the feelings come and not fight them. That has helped so many times when sobbing and feeling so very low. Some days were very difficult to get to the end of to be honest and my mind went to some extremely dark places. It doesn’t help when people say these things happen and to just get on with it. I loved my husband very much and still have love for him to be honest. We shared hopes an dreams and saw many of them come true including our French adventure and our beautiful children of course. We were the best of friends and a team. I remain clueless as to how it went so horribly wrong. I can find myself in random places wondering where he is or almost turning to tell him something that we could laugh about. Once I worked out that this is a grief all of its own, I could make a little more sense of it.
Mixed feelings are exhausting
At the start I was hoping we could rescue us. Obviously me getting involved with a man did not help matters. I will say I truly felt unwanted by my husband or this would never have happened. My husband feels unable to forgive me. I know the pain of being cheated on so can understand that. I would have liked him to fight for me. He didn’t. We are where we are. I have felt sad and sometimes had real bouts of resentment and anger. Sometimes I feel liberated to do the things I want to do without having to justify or explain. I would love 24 hours in my husband’s brain to see what he thinks and feels. I don’t entirely trust him and of course he cannot trust me now despite me being the second party to be disloyal in the marriage. We have spoken and texted sometimes for hours at a time trying to unpick it all. I take from this that the relationship was genuine even if it is over now. Apparently moving on positively requires working out our own stories of how it went wrong. I am doing lots of reading about relationships and they help me understand it more even if the sense of loss remains.
The pandemic doesn’t help
Trust me to pick 2020 to wreck a marriage. As if we didn’t have enough going on with the global pandemic. I came over for a job interview and to visit family and before I knew it I was in lockdown separated from my husband and 2 of my children for months. Communication was limited and challenging. He blames me. I blame him. Either way it led us to this place. I do know without such a surreal situation I would never have cheated. I was incredibly lonely and reaching out all the time and my husband would not respond at all or be angry and tearful. So when a man offered a walk which is how it all began I went along.
The pandemic also means it is almost impossible to make new connections in the town I now live in but did not choose and do not know. It also means it is not practical for myself and my husband to meet to discuss practical things. I cannot see my French friends and the few friends I have in the UK are not available due to lockdown restrictions and so on.
I can’t carry on hurting forever
Things ease over time. I cry a lot less these days. I find myself much less resentful. I can talk to my children about their dad in a positive and stress-free way. I know I will grieve for the loss of such an important relationship forever. Just like I miss my parents now deceased all the time. That does not mean that I cannot be happy. We managed a very happy Christmas despite the devastation of last year. It’s a New Year and time to analyze less and live more.
Over the last few months I have looked after myself better than for a lot of years. I have slept late and drink alcohol extremely rarely. I am on a healthy eating regime and have lost about a stone in a few weeks. I find it easy and so will be slim this time next year if not before. I have got back to listening to music and reading. At first I struggled with all the spare time but now I try to use it in positive ways. It’s about returning to the old Kate but also about seeing how to add elements into the mix too to develop as a person. There’s life in the old girl yet!
I found a job which is not perfect for me but suffices for now. I am looking into new opportunities.
There is work left to do
I would still like to forge a friendship with my ex. I miss our fun times together even though those were so limited in the last couple of years with him. I am learning that I won’t have those Scrabble nights with him and quite possibly won’t be in a bar with him again sadly. We both have our memories. He says I have just deleted them and easily. He is so wrong!
I have the opportunity of a great future with someone new. It makes sense to really look at myself and see what lessons I learned in my last relationship to inform the new.
I think my parenting has improved. Neither of us were perfect in the immediate aftermath of the split.
I am looking at counselling options for myself and my children.
I started this post not knowing how it would end. I just wanted to share my truths in an open and honest way. The reality is we are lucky that the whole family is still on the planet and may find a new and healthier way forwards in time.