It is really sad that my marriage is over. In my mind, I married a man that I could see my future with. It is really sad that he couldn’t see that the life that we had together, our relationship, our connection was worthwhile and meaningful. But here is the thing – I can’t make him see this. I can’t force him to evaluate his decision to choose her over me. There is nothing that I can do to get him to understand that we had a beautiful life together – a nice house which we were paying off quickly, weekends away, plans and goals. I thought we were on the same page, I thought we understood each other and that we supported and encouraged each other. I realise now that he had a second life online which gradually took over until it became his primary life, while the life that he shared with me became the boring, mundane existence that he didn’t know how to extricate himself from.
I can’t force him to realise that the life that he had with me was real – we were growing old together and would have had a comfortable retirement with overseas holidays and just having fun. In comparison, his life now consists of living in a little rental house, week to week, in debt, hardly working, no money in the bank, sitting by the phone, waiting for her to summon him when she requires his attention. Marriage is for better or worse, you share the responsibilities and financial commitments – I used to pick up extra shifts when he wasn’t working. She couldn’t care less whether he makes the rent or not – why should she? It is not her concern, she lives in her house, and doesn’t need to bother herself with his business, as long as he is available when required. It is ironic that he once told me that she gave him back his self-worth. Apparently he had no self-worth while being married, working regular hours, owning a house and being loved and cared for by a doting wife. But he regained his self-worth sitting, beer in hand, alone all day, while waiting for her next text message, hoping that she makes some sort of commitment to him.
In his mind, he decided that, that was what he wanted. Clearly, his perception of the situation is quite different from mine. I don't think I will ever understand how his mind works and why he made the choices that he continues to make. The last time that I spoke to him he said that he realised that he had made a mistake and that he no longer sees a future with her, yet he continues to be in a 'relationship' with her. I think his actions speak louder than his words and that he tends to tell people what he thinks that they want to hear. He has to live with his choices – they were impulsive and reckless and they caused a lot of hurt and pain. But he needs to live with the consequences and so do I.
I didn’t choose this journey – it is unfair, that another woman, whom I don’t even know decided that my marriage wasn’t worth the paper that the certificate was printed on. He is a weak man who does whatever feels good right now rather than assessing the long-term results of his behaviour. She wanted him and she took him. The fact that he had taken marriage vows with me didn’t matter to either of them. And I have to live with the choices that they both made.
I am an avid enterer of competitions and it is interesting that last week I was looking through entries in an online competition to get an idea of what other people had written. My heart felt like it stopped when I suddenly saw her name. She had entered the competition and there was her name staring at me from the computer screen. The competition required you to finish the sentence, ‘One day I will …..’. Through all the obvious answers like ‘travel the world’ and ‘volunteer in a third world country’, her answer stood out. She had written, ‘One day I will, be as kind to myself as I am to others.’ I froze as I read it. My first reaction was ‘Are you kidding?’ ‘Is this a joke?’ You destroyed my marriage, knowingly and with gusto. I couldn’t work, eat or sleep for three months because of you. It’s taken me a year to stop being angry and bitter and that is only to get to the numb and sad stage, I’m nowhere near who I was, before you decided to irretrievably alter my life, and I don’t know if I ever will be.
But as I calmed down, I realised that her perception of who she is and the justification that she has, in her mind, for the relationship she has with him, must be so different from how I see it. A lot of her perceptions would be based on his stories and the reasons and excuses that he has given her for his behaviour. I know I hated his first wife because of the stories that he told over and over about her and what she had done to him. No doubt, I'm getting the same treatment with the new woman. So she sees herself as a kind person who gives too much of herself to people, which is interesting because that is the very trait that I have, which he manipulated throughout our relationship, so that he didn’t need to take any responsibility for anything that he did. I wonder if he was hoping that she would take care of his debt and other mundane everyday irritations like bills, just like I did.
Ironically, I think he gravitates towards women who give of themselves, who are likely to sort out the mess that he creates, but at the same time once they take on his responsibilities, he gets bored with them because they are not fun and exciting anymore. I believe he is destined to spend the rest of his life on this merry-go-round, working his way through online dating sites, chasing that high of being ‘in love’ but incapable and unwilling to do long term commitment.
So, I have to let go. I have let go of the anger towards them - he is incapable of having a healthy, committed relationship and she would have no idea of what I perceive as the truth of the situation as she only has his lies and stories to believe. She only knows me as a crazy, psycho who played the part that he created, so well. I have to let go, of ever being able to right the wrongs, or make them see the error of their ways, because he is destined to continually repeat his behaviour pattern and in her head, our marriage was unhappy and she saved the poor man from a life of torment with me.
I’m still sad that I chose to marry someone who respected me so little. And I think that is the salient point here. It is about me, from now on. The past only exists as long as you have it on replay in your head. There is nothing you can do about it and you can't alter anyone else's ideas about it. You need to learn and move on. I have decided to take two years out to find out who I am and how I got into this situation. I married a man who had some huge issues and I need to know why and build some boundaries to stop it happening again. I need to take time to be on my own and enjoy it, and not date anyone until I know I can do it, in an emotionally healthy manner. I don't need to be caught up in his drama anymore, he is a train wreck, and I don't need to be involved. I need to focus on me now.
Letting go does happen with time. I have gone from ruminating and obsessing constantly - the 'if onlys' and 'could have beens' - to starting to have some inner peace. I think the longer the marriage was, the longer it takes to get to complete acceptance. Here are some links that have helped in my quest to let go and get back to me. Hopefully they might help you as well.
Good old Dr Phil! This is a summary of points that Dr Phil has made about the subject of 'Letting Go' on his show. I like the point that he makes about - 'Does he even make you happy?' I think that was me - I wanted what I wanted him to be, not what he actually was. I also like the point that he makes that marriages only have a 50/50 chance of working when everyone is in love, so what is the chance when one person is headed in the opposite direction? This comes back to my point of it being impossible to make someone see how you see reality.
Thanks so much for your words, which I find more direct than a lot of other websites in this subject. What I found most interesting is the subject of forgiveness. You helped me a lot by saying how you had difficulty forgiving.
I also don't want to forgive, at the moment anyway. I think he took pleasure in keeping me in ignorance. In fact I think his cheating became much less thrilling once I found out sbout it and we began mediation.
I know he doesn't have the ability to be honest and intimate, but I still need to stand up for myself after I was treated so badly.