Below is an email I received from a woman seeking divorce advice.
My ex husband and I met in 2006, got engaged in 2009, married in 2011 and divorced in 2014. He told me he wasn’t happy and that he was done. I tried marriage counseling and he put no effort into it. How do I get over all of this hurt? I mean to love and care for someone for 8 years and then for them to just be done? There were no signs, it wasn’t like we fought all the time. I feel as though he is going through a mid life crisis early? He just turned 29.
In most cases, when two people get divorced, one person wants it and the other doesn’t. I always have a hard time deciding which shoes I’d rather be in because both breaking up with someone and being the one broken up with are gut-wrenching.
Here’s a benefit of being the one broken up with: Unlike the person who ended the relationship, you will never have doubt that you did the right thing, or that things might have been different had you tried harder, or even that you miss the person and you know you made a huge mistake.
In your case, you didn’t have a choice. Your husband wanted the divorce. So, you had no control, which means there is no self-doubt, guilt, or indecision. It was done to you.
Now, is that easy to deal with? Absolutely not. It is brutal. But, here is what I want to do. Pretend I am a psychic who is able to see into your future. And, let’s say this is what I predict for you:
It is five years from now. You are sitting at a kitchen table having dinner with an attractive man, who seems really happy being there. On your left ring finger is a diamond and a wedding band. The two of you are laughing. Why? Because your baby (who is sitting in a high chair next to you) has food all over his or her face and he or she is giggling. The guy gets up and cleans the baby off, and then leans over and gives you a kiss. You look very very happy.
Here’s the thing. No one knows (including me) that this will be your scenario, and I don’t even know if this is what you want. Maybe you don’t want kids. My point of painting this beautiful picture of your future is that you WILL have a beautiful future, and you WILL get a life that is happy and that works for you. It just takes time, and you have to go through the misery of your divorce to get to the other side (the happiness side.)
Remember that movie, The Shawshank Redemption, where Tim Robbins escapes from prison by crawling through a sewer pipe? It’s kind of like that. He had to spend 20 years digging a hole in his cell, and then he had to crawl through crap (literally) to get to deserved freedom and ultimate happiness. You are in that hole right now. I was there. So was every person who has ever gone through a divorce. But you will come out of it and have a future. It might be the future I just described, or it might be something else, perhaps a career you are passionate about, a new hobby that changes your life, or love and a family. The beauty of it is that your future is your choice!
You didn’t have control over your husband leaving you, but you DO have control over what happens for the rest of your life.
In closing, here is a direct answer to your question, “How do I get over all of this hurt?”
You grieve the loss, feel sorry for yourself for a little while, (not too long) and then you get tough and start to rebuild. Focus on figuring out what you want—career, hobbies, friends, etc. and then go get it! As for future romantic relationships, it’s natural to feel scared that if you put your heart out there again, some guy could do to you what your husband did. But, try to overcome that fear because if you put your heart out there again, some guy (maybe the guy at your kitchen table) might love and cherish you forever. Ask yourself if it’s worth the risk.