After 3 Years I Can’t Live Without Him Still

I can't live without him

By Jackie Pilossoph, Creator and Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling site, podcast and app, Love Essentially columnist and author

I’m not sure there is a woman on earth who hasn’t said or felt these five words: I can’t live without him. The words are usually spoken or thought during or after a breakup, a divorce, or a death.


It’s unbelievably heartbreaking to feel like you can’t live without someone you truly loved and/or still love. But as gut wrenching and difficult as it is, I find that most people learn to live with the loss, and eventually learn how to enjoy life, and even fall in love again.


It takes time to heal from a broken heart. I think it’s a process.

Anger, resentment, bitterness, sadness, regret, and loneliness are all part of the path to acceptance, peace and moving forward.


The timetable for letting go of “I can’t live without him” is different for everyone, and no one can tell someone when or how to move on.




Here is one divorced woman’s position, and I have to warn you, it’s heartbreaking:


I’ve tried for the 3 years since he left and honestly to this day, I still wonder how I got through each day, each week, each month. I struggle through holidays like a big blur. I’m not happy, not enjoying life, sad and just distracting myself anyway I can. My question is, what if really, truly, I can’t live without him? I’m living but am I really living? No. Sadly not. With this aching pain that’s always there, no matter what I’m doing or where I am, it never leaves, never goes away. Will it ever or is this my life now?


Please keep in mind, I have no idea what happened or why her husband left. That said, regardless of the story, I stand firm on the advice I’m about to give.


This past week, Jewish people celebrated Passover, a holiday that remembers the Hebrew slaves becoming free out of Egypt. As in any religion, the stories that are studied are meant to have meaning in our everyday lives, and so if you think about it, maybe Passover is a time for us to reflect on our own prisons that we keep ourselves in, and to think about how to free ourselves.


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My point is, to me, it seems this woman is keeping herself locked in her broken-hearted prison. My question is, why is she holding herself hostage?


1. Does she want to stay locked in a place where her ex-husband has clearly moved on, continuing to love and wait for someone who doesn’t want her?

2. Doesn’t she feel she deserves to go free, to be able to put her best self out into the world and see what happens?

“Getting through each day and month and year” is very very disrespectful to her family, her children (if she has kids) and most of all herself. Life is a precious gift. None of us were put on this earth to live it for ONE person.


I believe we are here to fulfill countless missions, including two major ones:





Romantic love is included in these things, but it isn’t everything. So to base your existence on one person seems very narrow to me. I promise I am not minimizing this woman’s broken heart. I know she is hurting deeply. But, to “struggle through holidays” seems like a such a waste of love and enjoyment. Why do that to her loved ones, and herself?


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To answer her question, “What if I can’t live without him?” my answer is, YOU CAN. You are the only factor holding you back.


As I said above, no one can tell someone how or when to heal from a broken heart. And I promise I’m not judging her. I’m trying to get her to let herself out of her prison. She deserves that!


The Center for Divorce Recovery


My advice is that this woman needs to find her self-worth, her confidence, and her self-love. Doesn’t she love herself enough to say, “I deserve to really live. I deserve to be rid of that aching pain. I deserve to move on from someone who doesn’t love me anymore because I deserve better.”


Her ex is only one person in a world of billions. Does he define her life and her happiness? I hope not.


In today’s world of a pandemic that has left everyone appreciating all the beautiful things and people we can’t see right now, that should give this woman even more motivation to say “fuck it. Time for my new life to start.”


She should pursue things she loves to do, spend time with people she loves, who make her feel good about herself, who make her laugh. If you are a healthy person physically, then that is 99% of what you need to have any life you want.


He is her past. Love and laughter can be her future, but not with her present mindset.


“Is this my life now?” she asks. My response is, only if you allow it to be.


“I can’t live without him” is a horrible, awful, helpless, sorrowful feeling. But I truly believe those five words are also a choice. I hope she will soon choose seven new words: I deserve to be happy and loved.

Like this article? Check out, “Your Painful Breakup: 9 Things You Might Be Feeling”



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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorced Girl Smiling is here to empower, connect and inspire you. Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, the site, the podcast and the app. A former television journalist and newspaper features reporter, Pilossoph is also the author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

One Response to “After 3 Years I Can’t Live Without Him Still”

  1. Joanne

    This article was one of the best articles I’ve read since my divorce. I, too, am struggling with my husband being gone and feel I can’t live without him. But, this article really helped me see a different side of this. I do need self love, self esteem, which I never had. I will be working on that instead of wanting him back. Thank you


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