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Thread: Normal to still love ex-wife after years of divorce?

  1. #1
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    Normal to still love ex-wife after years of divorce?

    Hi All,
    Very glad to find this site, and particularly this forum. Hope I find some wisdom here that will set me free. Heres my problem. I am a 43 yr old man, divorced about 4 years. I am the type of person who is very wary of love. Afraid to really love someone for fear of being hurt. I didn't fully give my heart to this lady for about seven years. We were married twelve.
    Divorce is long since over. I still experience a lot of heartache and hurt. I still love her so, and really miss living with my family.
    Is it normal to still love and hurt SO deeply? I find myself thinking something someday may click which would put us back together. Of course thinking those thoughts is painful. I just want my wife and family back.
    I tried counseling where I was advised to get over it. Why can't I?
    Or move on, find another mate. I've dated and two different ladies wanted to marry me. I was AFRAID to.
    We have children together so I go to her house regularly. I dont always see her when I go there. This is usually better because I STILL have that aching hole in my heart that began with the divorce. I see that people here reccomend no contact and that seems like sound advice to me. If I see her it can trigger the memories and pain.
    When I see our kids, I remember the dreams I had for them. I recall their pain from the divorce and see the effects divorce has had on their lives. There would be much more money for college and weddings if we weren't a broken family.
    My ex is still pretty attractive but doesn't date at all. She says she wants nothing to do with any man. She has a history of childhood abuse that really hurts her. I always tried to understand and encouraged her to find help for herself. Well she found "help" with a therapist, but this therapist reccomended to her to divorce. When she divorced me she had no grounds. In this state you don't need grounds, but I have always wanted to know WHY we had to divorce. She has never told me, and that seems to be a large part of the problem for me. People look at you kinda odd when you say you are divorced but don't know the reason why. Seems hard to believe for most people.
    Has anybody else experienced anything like this? How did you get on with it? I feel so hurt, so awful at times that it is disabling. I just sit, numb. Thanks for reading and for any help. Signed, Feels like a Fool

  2. #2
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    Welcome the enotalone, sksws!

    I would like to say that I think that it's not that abnormal to still have feelings for your ex, I don't think. As Nifty_Swifty1, a very wise man says, if love is really love, as it sounds like yor had for your wife, it never ends. (You can view his longer and more eloquent explanation here: http://www.enotalone.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=187357&highlight=#187357 )

    That being said I do think, while you won't necesarily stop loving her, you do need to be able to move on and gain closure in your own life. After four years, it seems very unlikely that you and she will end up getting back together. Allowing yourself to dwell on thuoghts about that will only hurt you and block any attempts you make at gaining closure.

    As to how exactly to go about the process of moving on, I'm afraid I don't really have much helpwith that, it's something I'm working on myself. I think you just need to realize that you've been more than fair to her and that this is all about you, your emotions, and your needs.

    Hope this was helpful!

    Balthamos
    "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."--Dr. Seuss

    "The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell." C.S. Lewis

  3. #3
    Member sonjam's Avatar
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    HI

    I was 17 when I first met my sweetheart, we were together for 7 years, and married for 3, then got divorced. That was 8 years ago. The reason for getting divorced was that he just could not stop cheating, I forgave him 3 x times (one night stands) but then we split. After that, I found out he was having an affair with my best friend for a year and a half into our marraige. Now, that I think is enough grounds to hate him and never want to see him again right? Well, you can never tell your heart what to do.

    Im happily married now with a fantastic man, and had my first child, and my ex is also married to a girl, and they have kids. I have not seen him in about 4 years, but my heart still aches for everything we had, and for what could have been. All my dreams were shattered, and it took me a long time to trust males again. I often feel sad, and wished it could have been different. Don't get me wrong, I would not give up my husband and child for ANYTHING in the world, but it could have been him?

    What Im trying to say, is some of us keep the hurt and the longing in our hearts and carry it with us for a long time, but it get's better, and it eventually feels like nostalgia. I would not recommend n/c since you have kids envolved in this, and the best thing to do is to stay friendly with your ex, for the sake of trying to give the kids a normal as possible home environment.

    Acceptance, is what you have to work on, and the best thing I would suggest you do, is become a good friend to her. NEVER metion getting back together, just build a friendship, and maybe one day she will see you are good together. BUT that can only come from her, never from you. having a friendship relationship, in the end is what happens anyway after years of maraige, you just have the companionship and warmth and closeness of the person too.

    Maybe you will find different advice here, but I hope you find what's right for you. I feel your pain and loging, and want to tell you to be strong. Don't be affraid to comit to somoene else, and if you do, give them everything, not all women will hurt you. It really took a long time for me too, to realise this. Don't deny yourself happiness, you can have it again.
    Good luck!
    About Kids...

    Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said.

    Kids need love the most when they're acting most unlovable.

    The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well? A common enemy...

  4. #4
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    sksws, my current fiance was in the same situation that you are.
    His wife cheated on him and he was devastated. She was very pretty and he was madly in love with her. He wanted to spend the restb of his life with her.
    He dated other women who wanted to marry him, but he broke their hearts. For a man it is very hard to admit that someone they love don't want them anymore. He did everything for that woman, gave her everything.
    He met me 6 years after she had left him. They never really divorced all that time. That was a red flag for me. He continously would go to her house to pick up his daughter, going inside, which started to piss me off.
    They still had intimate talks and she had enormous influence over him. Then she met me and became competitive, because she saw in me a threat to her power over him (she could always go to him for money). She started interfering with our relationship and gave me a lot of grief. He was kind of powerless because he still loved her.
    I was adamant: he was to limit his contact with her, they had to have a strict co-parental relationship and limit their contact to tallks about the daughter.
    I asked him not to go inside her house. I asked him to remove her picture from his living room. I set limits. It worked.
    He chose me. When she saw she had no power over him anymore, she met some guy and got married and moved out of state.
    Finally, without seeing or talking to her all the time, he got over her.
    Now he tells me he doens't love her anymore. We are planning our wedding.

    Hopefully you will meet a determined woman who will like you a lot and will not let you continue this sick dependant relationship. The less you see your ex, the better for you.

    There are many men in your situation, as more wives leave their husbands nowadays then the opposite. My ex-husband is still pining for me and I wish he found someone nice.

    A statement from a woman who found a man in your situation 6 years ago.

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  6. #5
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    Wow!
    Just want to say thanks. I am really impressed by the responses here. They have been full of wisdom, and deep feeling. Perhaps most importantly, I've genuinely been helped by you all. I am grateful to have stumbled upon you. Sksws

  7. #6
    Silver Member jenna-is-here's Avatar
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    Hello Sksws!

    When it comes to matters of the heart, I don't know if there is such a thing as a 'normal' !

    You situation is difficult because it sounds like you were blindsided by her decision to divorce. I know the feelings of sadness, doubt (about yourself) and guilt that follow such a loss. I was once stuck in a breakup rut (my ex fiancee)...it went on for years. I would cry by myself and not let anyone know because I was concerned people would think I'm crazy to still be upset. It took me a while to realize that I was stuck in "the sad"...part of the grieving process.

    I know she is still in your life because you share a child together but once I realized I had to mourn the relationship like a death, and go though the stages (denial, sadness, anger, acceptance), I was stuck in one phase. I felt I had no reason to be mad at my ex (to move to the next phase) because I thought of him like and angel. It wasn't until I realized, wait, he bailed on US! That is what got me to the anger phase- his lack of trying, his lack of explaining why he bailed, etc.

    I know it sounds strange but it sounds like you are stuck in the early phases of the grieving process, is there anything you can think of that makes you angry in your head 'at her'? If so, hang on to that and think of some more. And keep thinking of it until you are really mad (like a brother would be mad someone hurt you).

    It is hard to say for sure, but with her history of abuse you mentioned, I suspect her leaving had nothing to do directly with you. You got the short end of the stick.

    But I once was told by someone on this forum, if that relationship was great, it was because of you, you brought that love to your prior relationship and you will bring it to the next one and it will be amazing.

    I'm glad you reached out and I do hope you can find some peace in all this,
    Jenna

  8. #7

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    Well she found "help" with a therapist, but this therapist reccomended to her to divorce.
    WOW!
    What a great therapist, insisting the patient to divorce their partner....
    This post is of 2004 or so, but the fact that I am in a similar situation led me to this site...
    She divorced her husband because therapist adviced to do so???

    , what a therapist.
    A therapist should NEVER tell the patient what to do, he should lead the patient to the point where he/she can see what would be the best to do or not.

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