Friends with an ex??
Married 24 years, together 26
I left in March (he asked for a "break"), filing divorce papers next week
Two grown kids, thriving out on their own
He asked for the break, but now I want the divorce
We've stayed friendly, but I wouldn't call us friends anymore
I think I know the answer, and likely looking to ease my conscience. I would welcome any and all advice, and have no problem looking it this from a different point of view, so here I am.
The reason the "break" ended with me wanting a divorce, is that the distance and time gave me perspective and clarity. I have my issues (duh) and have been working on those very hard for three years. Making huge strides and finally fully at peace with my past, present and future. I like who I am, and who I'm becoming. I wish my marriage weren't over, but it just is. Bottom line is he's emotionally unavailable, openly admits that, and is making a conscious decision to remain that way, no matter the cost. I know there's nothing I can do about that, but save myself, let him go and move on. So I've done that.
We've remained friendly but we're not really friends. I'm realizing that even after more years of our lives together than apart, we've become strangers that share two wonderful kids and some memories. And I've made peace with that.
Here's my struggle:
He hasn't told ANYONE we've even separated, let alone that we're divorcing. Nobody in his family, and not a single one of his friends has a clue what's going on with him or our marriage. His family and friends are very aware that he doesn't "do" anything emotional so none of them question or challenge him about anything, and that's the way he likes it. I don't get it, but his monkey his zoo, and I'm nobody's Jane Goodall, nor should I have to be.
He says that when or *if* he ever decides he's ready to talk about anything emotional, I'm the only person he'd feel comfortable talking to, which I (sadly) believe. I have asked him many times to PLEASE talk to someone he trusts. ANYONE. All I get is "it's nobody's business". Which is true enough, I guess. I don't care that he's not telling anyone, other than I know it's just another form of denial. He doesn't want to make it "real". He doesn't want to have to answer questions or deal with people's reactions. I get it, but at some point it's counterproductive.
All of that said... my gut is saying it's unhealthy to remain "available" to him, even though I'm not in his life in any meaningful way. I really do hope he's able and willing to open up and talk to someone. About the divorce, or about any issues he wants to actually work on. He's found it easier to talk to me as a friend since I've made it clear the marriage is over. And, he's talked to me. A very little bit, but he's at least trying to voice how he feels. And I'm happy that he's making at least some progress. I know that the worst thing you can do to someone that's learning a new skill is to criticize or turn away from them. So, I'm reluctant to tell him I believe it would be better for both of us if we fully let each other go, all the way. I don't contact him. I get a text message every once in awhile when he's working up to saying something, even if it's small. I don't really want to be "that girl", but I know he won't talk to anyone else. No matter how many times I tell him he needs to. I know it's his issue, and not my responsbility, I just feel like I'd be abandoning him in a way I said I never would...
Literally any help or advice would be much appreciated.
Wow Mammabear never thought I'd see you on the other side here. Y'know all too often those magic numbers 24,25,26 year marriage ending in divorce comes up. It seems to be happening alot these days. Personally I don't believe in marriage it's a commitment. I've never been married. Thanks to the social media and cell phones our morals and values have degraded. Here I'm using the very tools and technology to convey this. I guess I'm a hypocrite. Growing apart seems to be a common statement in alot of marriages. I got involved in a friend's bitter divorce in which we are no longer friends now. This is partly why I'm here. It's a former of therapy for me. Now about you and your soon to ex husband. Get the divorce and be done with it. You can still in some way be friends in the future. At least you're both empty nesters. Remember divorce isn't always forever. I've heard of people who were divorced and got back together somewhere down the road.
Reconciliation is not an option, unfortunately. It takes a very very long time for me to give up on someone, but if I ever get pushed to that point, that's it. For me. I know it's not like that for him and that's what makes it feel like I'm abandoning him. Even though he's the one that asked for the split.
I'm sorry that it worked out that way. As I said before I got involved in something I shouldn't. Now both ex husband and wife aren't speaking to me. If you'd like to talk more about your situation come back.
"Makes me feel like I'm abandoning him.." tells me you're a beautiful soul.
That said, he initiated the break, and you discovered you are better off without him.
Having a physical presence with emotional availability, I totally understand your discovery.
If he's not comfortable telling others about his life situation, so be it.
His family, his friends, so he decide.
Not friends, you said, cordial with each other is civil and that's a good thing.
My advice is you get on with your new found freedom.
Its not your responsibility to be "available".
It's your choice to reply (or not) to his text messages.
Do what your heart says.
For the fact that you said "here's my struggle", tells me that you still feel and care for him.
Having a physical presence without emotional availability.....
Thank you Scopes, and Seen-Thru!!!
I do still care about him. He's a good man, amazing father, and was a dear friend.
That said: I just found some new information about something he's done. No infidelity, but a betrayal nonetheless. So, I do still care about him, but I'm now going to choose to do that from a distance. He's self destructing, and he won't talk to anyone. He's in complete denial and it's excruciating to watch.
The only choice I'm being given is to let him go, all the way. So I did that last night. I tracked him down, gave us both the chance to clear the air for good, and told him he can call if he ever wants to actually talk) which simply won't happen) but that we no longer need to try and stay in touch outside of necessary communication.
That was the harder to decide and follow through with than saying I wanted a divorce. He was stunned. Which again proves what strangers we've become. He had nothing to say, not even goodbye. I don't get it, but now I finally realize it's not my concern. Can't help someone that refuses to help themselves. Heartbreaking to see it come to this, but...
Sounds all too familiar MAMABEAR. I won't elaborate as Soulmate may visit here and scold me. Sometimes a heartbreak needs a hug.
Like I said, do what your heart says...
Do still care about him.
Good man, amazing father, was a dear friend.
He's self destructing, won't talk to anyone, complete denial
Excruciating to watch.
And you said...Only choice, let him go all the way
but you track him down.
You haven't let go.
There's no right or wrong in life.
Blessings of courage, wisdom and serenity.
(Beg your pardon, Scopes - scold you for what?)
@soulmate's last post
(No offence intended)
You say it's not infidelity. What do you think is happening?
Mid-life crisis? Financial betrayal? Drugs? Depression? did he push you away in order for you to make the first move (file for divorce?)
He won't talk to you (you aren't a therapist, but a VERY interested party) but would he talk to a male counselor? How about a male friend?
How did you jump to divorce? Where there "steps" in between? Couseling? even fights to clear the air?
You really sound like you have left the door open for him, but he's not even looking your way. (Guilt? Ashamed? Has he always been so emotionally cut off/unavailable?
Sadly, Susiedqq you nailed the betrayals. He's done or is still doing all of those. Alcohol instead of drugs, but the rest of the list is spot on.
We've basically been separated for 3 years. So the split was a long time coming. I tried literally everything to save the marriage. I've been talking to a counselor, and my whole support network. He's still refusing to talk to anyone, about anything. Not a word to anyone in his life, or anyone else. I feel bad for him, but... Is what it is. Over.
I'm officially done trying to be his friend. I tracked him down to clear the air and make it clear I'm no longer available. He doesn't get cell service where he's currently working and living. He had nothing real to say, and only tried talking me out of it. So I let him know what I found out and called him out on all of it. Knowing that would kill what little friendship we had left. And it did. He doesn't keep people that challenge him around. And I'm at peace with it now.
I'm currently only requiring one thing from the people in my life: transparency. He has no clue how to even be available, let alone transparent, and that's no longer any of my concern. And I'm so relieved I *almost* feel guilty. Almost.
Thank you for all the advice everyone. It really helped me keep my head straight. I'm back on track and almost done with divorce paperwork.
Dear Mamabear <3
You've made your choice...
Don't look back, don't do the lesson all over again.
March forth! With courage!
Peace and love.
You know Soulmate, that same old story from months ago.
Thank you SO much, Seen-Thru!! I'm feeling much more sure about my next steps, and they all lead forward. No sense looking back. I'm not headed that direction anymore.
Taking my hard-won lessons and moving on. I've earned it.
Thanks again! <3
I'm so proud of you!!!
You are your own person
Life is, but experiences and lessons.
You aced this one.
More down the road...
With an opened mind, they'll be pleasant
There's no right or wrong in life.
All the best, with love,
And hugs <3
(Scopes, the 'couple of months ago' incident wasn't a scolding, but just a gentle pre-reminder to avoid ever mutineering someone else's thread. (Trust me, you'd know if I were in actual bum-spanking mode!
) Again, that doesn't mean you can't mention any experience of yours that relates somehow to the OP or his/her situation. But you shouldn't go into too much detail or inordinate length unless the OP clearly demonstrates they're interested in hearing it.
I think the safest thing to do (everyone) is to simply ASK if the OP (original poster) concerned would like to hear about it in case it contains anything of use, or of comfort (as in, not the only one or happy ending).........and then, if they say yes, to drone on and on until they yell "submit!" (joke).)
"He doesn't keep people that challenge him around."
Oh, doesn't he, indeed. Interestink. Well, then, maybe he should think about permanently peeling his face off? You know - the one that's going to be 'Jimminy Cricket-ing' him every morning and night in the bathroom mirror (or so one would hope if he has a conscience)?
Well done for having completed running your gauntlet! It's an oft overlooked, little-known rite of passage as earns you - via a massive self-esteem boost in tandem with Fate's show of approval for your new-found emotional maturity and self-regard - the real deal, finally: a massive upgrade of a man ("phwooar!" inside as well as out). So, once you've finished grieving (so as to avoid a rebound relationship) - watch that space!
Sorry - forgot to add at the end, there...
Thanks for the kind words and for the advice about moving forward. I'm guessing most people look for a new relationship right away, so that's why you assumed that's what I'm going to do? But no need to worry: that's not the case here. I've realized I'm happier being single, and NOT dating. I've become so content and happy doing my own thing, someone would have to be extraordinarily authentic, interested, and emotionally healthy that I'd WANT to make room for them in my life. If I ever meet someone I want to have a true partnership with? Cool. If not? Cool. I've got me now, and I'm plenty good with that. So no worries about a rebound. I'm aware that's a trap many fall into, and I've seen the damage that can do. No thanks. Not going to do that to myself or anyone else just to take a shortcut to moving on. I'll do the work I need to and avoid any shortcuts that hurt my heart, or anyone else's.
As for him and his "face"? I'm not going to judge him for how he lives his life. His emotional well being is his responsibility and none of my business anymore. I feel pity for him, but not much else.... which makes me sad sometimes, but it's just the truth...
Bloody impressive attitude you've got there, missus! Don't touch that dial!