Divorce Advice for: “My Husband Left Me” and “It’s a Mess”

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

my husband left

In my “Love Essentially” column, published today in Sun-Times Medialocal publications, I give divorce advice to a woman who wrote “my husband left me” and  “life is a mess.” 


Dear Jackie, My husband left me in February. He told me he felt broken and didn’t know why. Now there’s another woman. I have two children and he’s already having them around her. He thinks it’s ok as long as he’s not showing her any affection. I think this is wrong. It’s a mess.

Of course it’s a mess! It’s completely understandable, so I first want to express how sorry I am that this is happening to you.

What is interesting about your letter is that almost in its entirety, it’s about your husband. “My husband left me,” “He told me he felt broken,” “He’s having them around her,” “He thinks it’s OK.”

Why is this about your husband? It’s been six months since he left you, so now it needs to be about you.

Most people whose spouses leave them don’t realize how much control they have over their own life. If your husband feels broken, you can’t fix him. If he is dating someone and bringing your kids around her, there’s nothing you can do about it, unless of course it poses a danger to your children, which it sounds like it doesn’t.

What you do have control over is yourself and your children.

As a result of his leaving, do you now feel broken? If so, reach out to friends and family for support, maybe make faith more a part of your life, start working out for stress relief, consider therapy as a means of support, and most importantly, love and nurture your children during the times you are with them. Hug them a lot. Make sure they know you are there for them and more than willing to talk.

I think it’s time for you to stop focusing on your husband and begin healing yourself, which takes a long time, but will happen if you seek support in the right ways and make good, smart decisions.

I’ve known and spoken with hundreds of men and women in your shoes, and I’ve seen some play the victim forever and fall apart, and others go on to grab the life that makes them truly happy. The choice really is yours.


Some things are out of your control, like your husband’s actions, for example. But you have control over the decisions you make, the choices that will shape your life from this point forward. I say that in a good way!


As for your husband, let him worry about fixing himself and dealing with his love life. What about your love life? When you are ready, start socializing and enjoying yourself, and be open to the idea of dating. There are men out there who aren’t broken, you know.


My advice might be hard to hear, but I’m trying to help you by encouraging you to get tough. This is probably the most difficult time in your life, so it’s also the time to use your all the strength you have in your core. It’s not easy, but if you believe in yourself and you make decisions that perpetuate self-love, you will heal from this. It’s a long journey and hard to imagine a happy ending, but a really great life is more probable than you think.


I will you the best and hope that life turns from “a mess,” to a peaceful, smooth, happy place.



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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorce is a journey. Live it with grace, courage and gratitude. Peace and joy are on the way! Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling. 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.

3 Responses to “Divorce Advice for: “My Husband Left Me” and “It’s a Mess””

  1. Beverly Regan

    Harsh is an understatement. Being lied to and told to focus on yourself, don’t worry about your kids and the girlfriend. The problem is everyone heals at their own pace and when you love being with your children and know that it’s more important that they are loved by their mom and dad, you do worry and it does hurt and it hurts longer than 6 months regardless of how much you exercise and take care of yourself. Personally, I am sick and tired of the lack of empathy and more importantly the protection and sticking up for the ‘other’ woman. No one wants to stand up for what is right, moral and best fir the kids. Let’s hear all the experts that are proponents of joint custody and blended families in 10-15 years when you see the true and actual impact to these children. Write a journal and be selfish, when you are a caring and giving person–not so easy.

  2. "Doug" - Chicago

    Jackie: Great post! The “tough love” you delivered (actually just candid advice born of first-hand experience) is filled with directness, understanding and compassion. It parallels Niebuhr’s brilliant “serenity prayer” (“give me the GRACE to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, the COURAGE to change the things that can and the WISDOM to know the difference) which has been adopted by people around the world (not just the addiction world) who have elected to set aside anger, unproductive judgment and righteous indignation in favor of seeking authentic and productive change. What they have discovered is that the only thing that can be reliably changed is ONESELF (the catalyst for all other change). “Being the change you wish to see” is not condoning the actions of others (some of which may be painful but not necessarily wrong) but merely putting on one’s own oxygen mask and then setting about the task of living life with peace and inspiration (a profound gift to our children). An assertion that your suggestion of “self care” is a call to be “selfish” fails to appreciate the wisdom and good intentions (for all parties) of your guidance. Keep up the good work!


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