Here is a comment written on Divorced Girl Smiling from a divorced guy. It is followed by my divorce advice for him that is not sugar-coated. If you think I’m harsh, please know that my job is to give the best divorce advice I can. That sometimes means a kick in the ass (as in this case.) That said, my advice comes straight from the heart, which means that the kick in the ass comes out of love.
I just don’t know anymore. Everything I had worked to build for over twenty years, retirements, my house, everything, she took it all. Three years later, I am struggling and she is doing great. Everyone tells me to move on. I can’t find anyone or any reason that I would do that for.
I don’t know one person who ever went through a divorce and didn’t go through a period of feeling sorry for himself (or herself.) It is understandable, normal and even healthy to grieve with some self-pity for a little while. The key words are “a little while.”
Three years later? Seriously?
I want to address his sentence about how he worked for twenty years to build everything and she took it all. Let’s stop right there. She did not take it all, she took half. So, that right there screams self-pity and massive victim-playing. That said, she took half and that is no small thing. Such injustice and so unfair, especially if she wanted the divorce and maybe had a boyfriend (or even got remarried.) It’s a killer. I totally understand. But let’s not pretend that she took it all, when she didn’t.
The next point he makes is “she is doing great and I am struggling.” First of all, how in the heck does he know she’s doing great? Because she is posting happy, smiling pictures on Facebook and Instagram? Because in his mind he is engaging in magical thinking and creating this fantasy of her perfect life? Deep down, does he think maybe she SHOULD be happier without him? Let me explain something. She isn’t as happy as he thinks. Everyone on earth has problems. Didn’t we all think Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt had the perfect lives? Get my point?
But, even if she IS doing great, why does that bother him after 3 years? And, why is he focused on her doing great instead of figuring out how to better his own life?
Sadly, this man is struggling because of one thing: himself. He is his own worst enemy. He has not listened to his friends and family telling him to move on because he has made a choice to act like a victim, be depressed about what happened to him and stay angry, bitter and not accept what happened.
The thing is, I’m not telling him to forgive and forget. Maybe his ex-wife really screwed him over and maybe this is extremely unjust. If that is the case, I feel terrible for him. But, bad things happen to good people every day. How we choose to deal with them is up to us.
I know someone who got breast cancer last year. At first she was scared and angry and bitter. “Why did this happen to me?” “It’s not fair.” “I eat vegetables every day of my life and work out. What the fuck??” These are some of the things she said. Then, she decided to get out of victim mode and get help. She got treatment, she got chemotherapy, she got surgery, she got talk therapy, she utilized faith and yoga and exercise and leaned on friends and family. And, now she is doing beautifully. I hate to compare cancer to divorce because it is entirely dissimilar, but there is some truth to any tragedy. It has (or will) happen to all of us, and that is when we have to kick ourselves in the ass and get the help we need.
I am going to pray for this man that he gains the self-awareness to admit to some of the fault of his divorce, to accept the past, and to realize that he has the rest of his life to live, and can choose to live it how he wants. He can choose to be miserable and continue to say, “I see no reason to move on,” or he can say, “Fuck this. I’ve had enough of feeling sorry for myself. I’m going to start living for myself and doing things that make me happy. I’m not going to focus on the money my ex-wife took from me, but rather the money I still have left, a job I like, people I love, and all the beautiful moments that are still ahead for me if I let myself experience them.”
There. That was his kick in the ass with love. I hope I kicked some sense into him.
Like this article? Check out my post, “Divorce Advice: Keep Hating.”