Divorce Advice for: “I Would Rather Not Celebrate the Holidays But Instead Lock the Door and Stay In Bed


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I wanted to hug this woman when I received her e-mail (below). Read her story, along with my divorce advice to her.

My husband of 17 years decided to leave the kids and I for a woman he met
during the marriage and moved to another state.  It was a complete shock as
he was away on a trip and when I called said he was not coming home.

 He immediately moved in with her and abandoned the kids and me.  After about a year and a half later the divorce is final, but I am still left confused and angry.  He is now living his dream life, lots of free time, money, no responsibilities and a person who loves him.  Meanwhile I am left as a single mom alone and struggling every day. 

 I am unable to date because I am left with a deep mistrust of men.   I want to go out and get the life I want, but I don’t have any idea what that is.  I had the life I wanted and it has been stolen from me.  I want to be a happy person for the kids sake as it is not good for them to see me depressed and sad all the time. 

 The holidays are especially hard and to be honest I would rather not celebrate at all, just lock the door and stay in bed.   Seeing other people and their perfect lives is so difficult it is hard to fake it all the time that you are O.K. I feel lost and hopeless.

I have to believe that most people, at one time or another have felt like they want to lock the door and stay in bed because of a broken heart, whether due to divorce, or a bad breakup, or even a death of someone close to them. It’s an awful feeling and I’m so sorry.

The Holidays

There is so much pressure to be happy and have an amazing Christmas and New Years. But, we all know that isn’t the case every single year of our lives. That’s ok. I think the holidays should be about gratitude, and I have to believe that anyone in any situation can find gratitude. In your case, you have healthy children. You have a roof over your head, friends and family who love you. I’m not minimizing your broken heart. What happened to you is horrible. But, during the holidays, and every day after, try to focus on the things you have: health, healthy kids, and the potential for a new, happy, better life.

You obviously can’t lock the door and go to bed on the holidays, but you don’t have to be Miss social butterfly, party girl either during the holidays this year. Just feel appreciative and happy, and cherish those kids. Next year will be a completely different story. I know it.

He is living his dream life

 Seriously? Is that what you really think? It’s so easy for someone who was left to fantasize in their mind that their ex now has this perfect life. You have no idea how wrong this thinking is. How can you know how he is feeling or what the relationship is like? You can’t.

I can’t imagine him being at peace, or ever truly happy. It’s one thing to abandon an adult, but to move out of state away from your children for another woman (or man) is unspeakably disgusting, selfish and really *ucked up (in my opinion.) Do you think in a few years he is still going to be blissfully happy? Just wait. His demons will catch up to him. It is then that your life will be going great and his will fall apart. Actually, it probably already has.

YOU

I am unable to date because I am left with a deep mistrust of men.   I want to go out and get the life I want, but I don’t have any idea what that is.  I had the life I wanted and it has been stolen from me. 

Ok, here is your job for the first of the year. Figure out the life you want. That’s all you have to do. Don’t worry so much about dating. That will come, and you will see that not all men abandon their families and move out of state. There are so many wonderful men who want a lifetime commitment. You will see. But, for now, you need to do some deep thinking. What do you want? Marriage is not a good answer. It might come and it might not. That’s not meant to depress you, it’s just reality and out of your control (to a certain extent.)  You need to figure out what you want out of life that has nothing to do with being a wife and mother. What are your hobbies? Passions? Do you work? Do you want a different job? What will make you happy in life for YOU? Then do it. I think when you are doing what you love, love comes to you. And of course, your children will always be your life, no matter what.

I would also do these things if you aren’t doing them already: yoga, aerobic and weight lifting exercise, find faith/religion, consider therapy, or perhaps a life/career coach.

Do you realize that everything I’m telling you is all good news? In other words, you have the rest of your life to be happy, and you have all the control over that. It’s time to stop feeling sorry for yourself and start rebuilding. And, what better time of year than the NEW YEAR to start doing that? So, this is where I will say to you, “Happy New Year!” and I really really mean that!

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Author: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorced Girl Smiling offers advice, inspiration and hugs. If you want a Cinderella story, be your own fairy godmother. You're the only one who can pick out that perfect glass slipper!

11 Responses to “Divorce Advice for: “I Would Rather Not Celebrate the Holidays But Instead Lock the Door and Stay In Bed”

  1. teresa

    My ex did something similar and I know he is living the life for 10 years now. He has never shown any remorse for abandoning his 3 sons. We have no relationship whatsoever. He works in law enforcement and trumps up stalking charges if I even so much as call/text him (which would only be in emergency cases). The other woman completely controls his every move. One of our sons has special needs and is high maintenance.
    And strangest thing of all “she” is a Special Education teacher!

    Reply
  2. Tiffany

    I feel the same way, my ex husband said he was done (came out of no where) put no effort into working it out. I am newly divorced and feel that I won’t be able to trust a man again. He’s living it up, moved in with 2 of his friends, partying it up like he’s always wanted to I guess. The holidays were very rough. I’m thankful for my wonderful family otherwise I would have wanted to just be in my room the whole time. It’s been hard for me but try to focus on the good things you have.

    Reply
  3. Jennifer

    Thank you so much Jackie for the words I needed to hear. I was very thankful that we are all healthy this year and that I have a roof as well as present for my daughters. I have a loving supportive family as well as good friends. I do work full time and am lucky enough to really love what I do and the people I work with. Breaking it down to just coming up with what I want in the next year makes it seem more manageable and less overwhelming. Now if I can just figure out what that is : ). I am glad to see I am not alone out there and that this has happened to other people although I would not wish this on anyone. Anyway thanks again for all of your help.

    Reply
  4. Gail Lucas

    I so identify with all these women. My husband walked out on me an my teenage children a few months ago and left me with all parenting, taking care of our home, two dogs and everything. I don’t have a supportive extended family. Having been a stay at home mom so I’m also somewhat isolated. Really struggled at Christmas. However, I would not trade my role as parent for all his freedom, partying, and cavorting with his co-adulterer. I struggle every day but have to have faith I’ll get through this. This self-described great dad sees his teenage son about every three weeks. But have to say I have typically always been both Mom and Dad emotionally so I hope to get my son through this with least disruption. My other child is older. Counseling and support are key for them.

    Reply
  5. Jennifer

    So it seems like this is not an uncommon situation. My ex sees his teen daughters about twice a year. I guess it is important to teach our daughters that if they choose to have children they need to be able to support them on their own and not rely on a partner. Of course it’s wonderdul to have an father in the picture but you need to be prepared to provide for them in every way. I am just not sure how you can determine which men will stay and be responsible for their children and which ones won’t. When they start of involved and loving parents and then change over time.

    Reply

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