I wrote a blog awhile back called Anger is for Losers, giving divorce advice to angry divorced people, telling them that they need to get over it and move on. Harsh? Maybe. But is it the truth? Definitely.
In the blog, I state that anger is normal, and that it is even healthy to feel angry. At first. But, that at some point, divorce anger needs to go bu-bye, as it is a huge waste of time and energy after a certain point, and that if you never let go of your anger, it will eventually destroy you.
I wrote that anger hinders people, and that if you stay angry, you will never find true happiness. I wrote that I know people who are remarried who still have eternal anger for their ex-spouse that really obstructs them from obtaining inner peace.
A couple days ago, I received the following comment about the blog post. I had to share it because I feel a lot of compassion for this person and I want to offer further advice that I think might be beneficial. Here is the comment, followed by my divorce advice.
My wife of 22 years left me and her children for a woman. Lied about the involvement and affair when questioned. Has taken half of our marital assets. Receives child support because she is a woman. Provides nothing for her children, home, food, medical care etc. How I am supposed to move on? Why do I have to tolerate this? You are damn right I am angry. I could never trust any woman ever again. What do I move on to? What woman wants a mid forty year old man that is raising two children, broke and in debt. This person has destroyed what is left of my life, has no remorse or regret for her actions. Acts like my children and I have the problem. Please tell me short of hypnosis how the hell do you recover from this. I can’t, for two years I haven’t barely been able to function. What do I move on to when I put so much effort, love , admiration and soul into another person and a family. I have no vision of what my life is or what it should be. Every f***ing persons advice and direction with little to no emotional attachment and/or care, says “just let it go, don’t be bitter, learn from this and move on”. Yes there are two sides Jackie and I am sure my ex wife will tell you that I was the problem. It makes the departure of being gay easier to tolerate for her. I wish you, God or someone could make sense of this and explain it to me. I don’t think anyone can, so why take aim at people like me who are angry?
Here’s what I want to say to this reader.
First of all, I am so very sorry that this happened to you. I can imagine how painful it must have been. You have every right to be hurt and sad and upset and yes, ANGRY.
The legal system doesn’t always seem fair to divorced people. In fact, I don’t know one divorced person who thinks he or she got a “good deal” in their divorce. Divorce is expensive and really takes a toll on people financially.
I am not going to tell you to “get over it” and “move on,” but I am going to respond to certain parts of your comment specifically.
What do I move on to? What woman wants a mid forty year old man that is raising two children, broke and in debt.
Of anything you said, this bothers me the most. I’m sorry. Is mid forties old? I totally disagree. And why are you worried about what a woman wants? Why is that your focus? Why do you care? You have two children. Don’t they mean everything to you?! Why not focus on them for right now? Have fun with them. That’s what children are for (in my opinion)—to enjoy, to love, to teach, to care for. And if your ex isn’t doing that, than even more so, it’s up to you. Doesn’t that give your life purpose?
Is what happened to you fair? Absolutely not! Is it fair when someone gets cancer? Is it fair when someone goes broke? NO. It isn’t. But you aren’t seeing the good. On one hand you say, “I will never trust a woman again,” and then you are saying “What woman would want me?” I say, who cares about a woman for right now! Just get your life together first. If you are happy with your life, you will find love again. And by the way, I don’t really know anyone (including myself) who isn’t struggling financially right now.
For two years I haven’t barely been able to function.
This is harsh, but honestly, you have wasted two years of your life. Do you really want to waste anymore time being upset about what happened? Be rid of your ex. It’s done.Isn’t two years long enough to lament over it? Focus on your own life and your kids. I think you are right in that if she is thinking you are the problem, it is her way of rationalizing what she did. I can’t count the number of men and women I know who cheated, and then they hate their ex because deep down, they hate themselves. So they project it onto their ex spouse.
In closing, I promise, I’m not taking aim at you. I really am just trying to help you. I feel for you. I really do. What happened to you stinks. But look at the positive. You still have a life you can live. And you can make it a good life by appreciating all the good things you have. Your kids number one!! Can’t you try to have fun? Can’t you try to focus on making a life for yourself that works with what you now have?
I am wishing you the best, and the strength to go out and grab a life you really deserve. Enough lamenting. It’s time to move on and enjoy yourself. One of my closest friends died yesterday of a heart attack. She was 52. It’s heartbreaking. Please…enjoy your life. Find one that works. And mostly, enjoy your kids. You need each other. Try not to focus on what happened. Life is all about NOW.
You gave great advice to him. I’ve been down as far as that and what you told him was spot on in clear simple terms. I only wonder if a anti depressant for short term might help also for a bit. It’s had to appreciate life when you’ve been barely functioning for 2 years. It might help him get over the hump and able to appreciate the good things left.
Good morning Jackie.
I came across your blog when I was recently looking up “advice” on how to figure out the best way to communicate with my ex. I enjoy reading all that you have to say, and find the things you write about helpful.
I am currently entering the 2nd year of being divorced. I must say it, the initial separation and then the divorce, hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew things weren’t great, but I never expected this.
Communication with him has been, let’s just say not very easy. He is, and I am able to say this freely now as I have stepped out of my relationship with him, slyly manipulative and it’s all about him.
I was unhappy in my marriage. It wasn’t my marriage that made that way. I wasn’t happy with myself. I was depressed and sad and I didn’t know why. The unhappiness that I harboured within myself, executed itself in an unpleasant way at home. I admit that there were times that I wasn’t the easiest person to get along with, but he wasn’t always sunshine and roses…
Long story short, we separated and he started “visiting” with one of my best friends, more and more. If I questioned either of them about seeing the other, I was literally blasted. How could I think of accusing them of anything other than friendship? (her husband had left her after having an affair. He chose the other woman. Before my, now ex, husband I separated we were helping her out, encouraging her, just being overall good friends… little did I know that something was brewing)
The “ink from the stamp” on our final divorce papers barely had time to dry before I found out that they were getting married a month later. We have three children… now ages 18, 16 and 14. Upon our initial separation, he had told me that I needed to find a place to live, that I needed to leave the house. Over the course of time, he had slowly been manipulating the separation and divorce so that he got everything. I have been left in poverty, living day to day trying to figure out how to pay bills, rent and still have enough for groceries. Oh, and because “I left him” I have to somehow pay child support…(remember he told me that I have to leave)
It’s been a really really horrid 3 years. I hope to never go through anything like this again. Nor do I wish this upon anyone, but it happens.
I have come to realize though, that living in the anger, resentment, bitterness, and hurt really gets you nowhere. It just leaves you no better than you were before all this happened. It makes day to day living very hard and eventually no one wants to be around you, because all you talk about is the unfairness of your situation. It gets tiring after awhile. Recently I started taking courses, and am at school full time. I qualified for, and am receiving a student loan to cover the cost of schooling. I recently lost my job, laid off due to seasonal slowness. So I am back to trying to figure out paying for rent, bills and groceries.
But, through all of it I have gone to counselling, and now have figured out there was a reason for my depression, sadness and the anger I was harbouring all those years when I was just sad and didn’t know why. I have had time to figure myself out, and have come out the other side with an understanding of myself. And one of the best things I have ever learned was/is how to look myself in the mirror and tell myself that I forgive myself. That is not an easy thing to do, but I have also learned that if I cannot forgive myself, how can I forgive others?
For now, I am living day to day. Just because I don’t have my children with me all the time doesn’t mean I can stop trying to be the best mom to them that I can be. I have learned to stop living in the negativity and to start living, if for no one else then my children. I am trying to be the best mom I can be for my kids, as I am building my relationships with them. I know that what happened was unjust and not fair, but if I keep myself in the mindset of all the negativity I will not grow or move on in my life. Yes, starting life over again at 45 sucks. But, life starting over again is somewhat exciting! I am now at a great place. I am starting to dream and plan. Yes, I’m lonely and at times I feel that it’s unfair that my ex and my friend got married. But who’s to say how happy these people really are?
I am moving on, and holding on to the good things. I have a good life, I am going to school to get a better job, I have friends and I have my kids. I am thankful. At the end of the day, I am thankful.
On a day that I’m really feeling that anger, I needed this reminder to focus on the positives!! Thank you!!
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