Divorced Girl Smiling received this comment from a reader, basically telling us “My wife wants a divorce.”
My wife dropped a divorce bomb on me two months ago. I fully admit to the fact that I spent too much time in the man cave and that we took care of everyone else, foster daughter and children, jobs etc, and neglected taking care of each other.
She told me she’s been unhappy for “years” but never said anything. She said she thought she was being a good wife by not nagging. After our foster daughter died she had new found freedom, a new job teaching and new friends, one of which she had an emotional affair with.
I didn’t find out for four months and when I told her I knew she was very upset with me. After we played the blame game I’ve come to realize my obvious short comings. Mostly taking her and my family for granted. She says she’s “done”. Now we are separating and all I feel is the guilt for what I’ve done. The anger I felt at first is gone and I would forgive her in a second for reconciliation. She of course feels guilty for initiating divorce and having an affair but will that make her see what we, all of us, will lose? Kids lose parents, spouses lose each other, all lose half of their family and half of there money. Guilt? Small potatoes. Regret, shame, mistrust in everyone from now on, facing the end of your life alone, that’s what awaits.
First of all, I want to tell you how sorry I am that you are facing this. If you used the words “dropped a bomb on me,” that means you were utterly shocked, and that is traumatizing, and takes a very long time to get a handle on. You are experiencing a lot of pain and I truly feel for you.
The last thing I want to do is upset you, but I have to ask, “How could you be shocked?” If she’s been unhappy for years, as she says, did you not notice that? Maybe you didn’t care? Every person I meet whose husband or wife leaves them seems to be shocked and I really never understand that. Yet, I do. Maybe in the back of your mind, you got used to the way things were and that was “normal.” I think as time goes by, you will realize that you weren’t shocked and that things weren’t normal.
Listen, you guys had a foster daughter. Knowing hardly anything about you, I have immense respect and admiration for both you and your wife for that. Then, you tell me she died? How unbelievably sad and again, traumatizing. I don’t know enough about the situation, other than to offer my advice based on the little I’m hearing, but maybe that’s when you shut down and your wife decided to try to change her life? I think death of family members affect people so deeply and in different ways, as it causes them to reflect on their own lives, much more so than they normally would.
You say that when you told her you knew about her affair she got really angry. Wait a minute. Do you understand what happened? She was angry at herself for cheating. Cheaters tend to lash out at the person they cheated on because they hate themselves for doing it and they want to blame someone, so they blame the other person for “driving them to it.” It’s very wrong. She was also embarrassed and ashamed and that can drive anger.
Here’s the thing I’ve learned about people who are newly separated, particularly the person whose spouse was the one who decided to leave. There are four phases to what they experience:
- Immense anger, fury almost
- Sadness and desperation to work it out
- Bitterness and more anger when they realize they’re not getting back together
I can’t say that everyone I know goes through these four phases in this order, but that’s what I see.
I feel like you are in number 3 right now. You’ve convinced yourself that her leaving is all your fault, and I think that’s wrong. It takes two people to ruin a marriage. ALWAYS. Maybe the blame is fifty fifty, or maybe it’s 95% one person’s fault and 5% the other. But I believe there are always two people who contributed.
You sound really sweet, vulnerable and confused. I want to tell you that you are NOT 100% at fault here.
Lastly, and most importantly, the last line of your comment was so upsetting to me and VERY MUCH not true!!
Guilt? Small potatoes. Regret, shame, mistrust in everyone from now on, facing the end of your life alone, that’s what awaits.
This might be very premature for me to say, but if your marriage ends, you will not face the end of your life alone, and you will not always feel shame and mistrust. That’s NOT what awaits. What awaits for you I have no idea. I can only tell you that I know at least 100 people who have felt the way you do, and a couple years later find themselves happier than they ever thought imaginable, in a relationship or not.
Best wishes to you and big hugs!