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A year and a half and I still want my ex wife back


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Just found this forum and need some help. Warning long back story.

my ex wife(w) and I (c) got married in our early 20s. We separated for 2 years and have been divorced for 1.5 years in August. We had the most amazing chemistry for most of our relationship always going on adventures and we were very compatible and seemed to cover each others “weakness” really well. After we had our first child I got less of her attention but that was to be expected the. We had our second one while I tried going back to college and there were several complications but I ended up dropping the program because I didn’t have enough time with family. I felt like there was only mom and work W and no wife W and was resentful and felt abandoned. During the course of the marriage I can say I’d not handle my responsibilities well as far as our house went and I never improved for any significant time. COVID hit and what I thought was an awesome chance to spend a lot of time together turned into a currently 4 year long nightmare that I’m just beginning to move out of. I will say for myself due to poor decisions I had been objectifying W and not showing her the care I had before. She felt ignored and unloved. During our family beach trip in 2020 I had been up drinking with my brother and cousins and repeatedly asked her for sex. Not long after the trip she told me she had talked to an old, male, friend(X). It was someone I knew of and she had talked to before always telling me anytime a male friend had a conversation with her. I think I knew something was off before I really knew it was off and I was mad this time. In September we found out we were having another baby and I didn’t get excited enough for her, I think I tried to give her another to make her happy, while I was stressed about the small living space for 5 people and finding. Unfortunately we lost our child in early December. She came back from the doctor, I stayed with the kids because we didn’t want to drag the on 2 hour round trip, and she told me to get out and get them some food so they didn’t see her upset so I did. I thought she wanted a little space and some time but she came down yelling that it had been 2 hours, I didn’t realize it had been that long, and I hadn’t bothered to check on her. After that she kept saying she wanted to be alone and get a hote for the night. Later in December she approached me and said her and X had been sexting and had actually planned to hook up and that she was disappointed it fell through and felt awful because she knew it would hurt me. I told her to cut contact and she said ok. January I checked her phone and found it was still on going, to be fair the texts showed she was reluctant and he pressured her. After that it was stop and start with them until we separated in April 2021. We started counseling from in 2022-2023 when we got divorced I February. At no point did I want the separation or divorce, I still don’t. During that time I was reactive and unproductive and she would her about or discuss X because he wasn’t the real issue and I wouldn’t hear her because I was focused on X. Prior to separation there was also lots of yelling and fighting(not physical). She said that sex had felt like a chore and was painful and I just ignored her during it, which I did and I can’t figure out why I did something so out of place for me. Other than splitting a marriage our divorce went as well as could be expected with no need for court. We’ve worked in communicating and being coparent. We have done great even going to each others family functions and being flexible with the kids schedules and helping when needed. She has even commented how well it’s going and I am truly proud of us for that. She just told me that she has been seeing someone long enough for them to meet the kids. We agreed on 6 months. I told her my feelings shouldn’t matter to her future relationships. She responded that she still cares about me and how I feel and that we can be great friends. She’s shown she care by making sure I’m ok with my disability and I’ve returned that with some medical conditions she has always concerned for her. I told her that I don’t think being just friends is being fair to myself. I still love her and never wanted any of this so to pretend I’m ok with just being friends and hiding my feelings isn’t fair. She said she understood and would let me take the lead on that. I asked if there was any chance of us getting back together and she said right now no, she has a lot of hurt and anger to work through as well as trust being broken on both sides. I told her I understand and apologized for my pet and she apologized for hers. 

I know that was long winded but I’m at a loss right now. I’m happy for her a really am. I want to see her happy and enjoying her life. I am also absolutely devastated for me right now. I’ve made no secret of how I feel and I’ve made all the spiraling out control mistakes one can make when getting a divorce they don’t want. I still want to be the one she’s happy with and have a hard time letting go. Is there any chance? I haven’t done the no contact thing at any point either and am debating that in this new situation as well. All advice and support are appreciated and thank you in advance

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2 hours ago, CAM89 said:

I haven’t done the no contact thing at any point either and am debating that in this new situation as well.

My man, with kindess - you are way past the point of No Contact having any effect. You are divorced and she has a boyfriend. This is already long over. And anyway, how did you envision No Contact even working when you have children together? It's an unrealistic idea on just about every level, and it's like misting the dry ashes of a fire that has already been put out (ie. pointless) 

It's time to work on accepting that you two have reached the end of your story as a couple. You are now co-parents, and maybe you can be friends someday, but now isn't the time. Keep any contact to pertinent communication about your kids, Be kind to each other, but from a distance. You will never move on otherwise. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, CAM89 said:

She’s shown she care by making sure I’m ok with my disability and I’ve returned that with some medical conditions she has always concerned for her. I told her that I don’t think being just friends is being fair to myself. I still love her and never wanted any of this so to pretend I’m ok with just being friends and hiding my feelings isn’t fair. She said she understood and would let me take the lead on that. I asked if there was any chance of us getting back together and she said right now no, she has a lot of hurt and anger to work through as well as trust being broken on both sides.

These discussions about feelings between each other and helping each other with medical conditions are the very reasons you haven't been able to move on. Being friends with an ex and being friendly when having to communicate about child custody arrangements and issues involving the well-being of the children are two different things. 

It's not wise to be friends with an ex. That's for your own good. From now on, vow to communicate about the children only. I'd lessen the majority of outings to her family's functions. When she begins bringing her new man to those functions, that won't be fun for you. A child can have more than one birthday, with each parent having their own separate celebrations. Learning a new way of life and learning lessons from past mistakes will benefit you in moving forward.

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Thanks for your replies. I should have been more clear that I mean no friendly conversations only things to do with the kids. This is exactly what I expected to hear and hopefully it will sink in if I hear it enough. I’ve willfully ignored it to remain, stupidly, optimistic. I’m not a very social person so I tend to try and hold on to the people I do click with which is not helpful in this case. My whole family wants to run her down and be angry at the situation and as the mother of my children I still can’t allow people to be that disrespectful so now I’m dealing with that as well. I’ve thought we had been doing the right thing with the goal of minimizing the impact to the children as much and as long as we could by keeping up appearances as much as we could. It may not have been the best move for me but the kids deserve none of this and I’ll deal with my own *** after I know they are ok. With the new guy in the mix that’s just not feasible for us to do anymore. With as hard as we worked on or communication and coparenting I want to let her know why respectfully. There is also a part of me that is satisfied she has to deal with the consequences of her choice to leave now. It’s been a long road, I’ve gone from nonfunctional anxiety and depression and wanting to off myself and thanks to counseling, prayer and one great friend that’s answered an ungodly number of 3am calls for me I’ve got to a much better place where I can respond instead of react. I really just want everyone to be happy guys, all of us involved. Now we are at a point where I’m going to have to make myself the “bad guy” to protect my feelings.

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2 hours ago, CAM89 said:

here is also a part of me that is satisfied she has to deal with the consequences of her choice to leave now.

What consequences would those be? 

She has moved on and is dating someone else, so maybe I am missing something, but is she suffering in some way? 

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5 minutes ago, MissCanuck said:

What consequences would those be? 

She has moved on and is dating someone else, so maybe I am missing something, but is she suffering in some way? 

I mean that in I was never really gone we have remained close the entire time so she has had to deal with actually leaving me. A mistake on my part in hindsight. And to be clear I’m do not mean that with any ill intent. 

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1 minute ago, CAM89 said:

 And to be clear I’m do not mean that with any ill intent. 

No, I hadn't imagined so. 

But it seems to me that she was unhappy in the marriage for a long time, and it was best for her to leave. And in the end? It was probably best for you, too. It doesn't appear either of you really wanted the marriage anymore. 

As such, I wouldn't expect her to be dealing with the "consequences" of leaving you, but rather simply learning to adjust with you. However, if you didn't know she had been seeing someone and that they had already been together long enough that she is ready for the kids to meet him, how close have you really been to her?

 

 

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5 minutes ago, MissCanuck said:

No, I hadn't imagined so. 

But it seems to me that she was unhappy in the marriage for a long time, and it was best for her to leave. And in the end? It was probably best for you, too. It doesn't appear either of you really wanted the marriage anymore. 

As such, I wouldn't expect her to be dealing with the "consequences" of leaving you, but rather simply learning to adjust with you. However, if you didn't know she had been seeing someone and that they had already been together long enough that she is ready for the kids to meet him, how close have you really been to her?

 

 

This was written in hindsight. At the time it happened I thought it was fine and we would get through it then got blindsided with the series of events. While anll that was going on I anlso lost my Grandfather annd my Mom was in the hospital for COVID. I was trying to deal with all that and handled none of it well. I agree it was the best decision for both of us. She needed space and I needed a lot of growth. I still wanted to work on it but wasn’t in the headspace to make any actual gains in that direction. I’m sure she saw that and decided it wasn’t worth salvaging

I knew she had been talking to new people. I guess I hadn’t really prepared myself that it was going to lead to this point. Now that it has I’ve had to consider how I really feel about it. She’s picked someone else and I have to take care of me. We talk almost every day and spend a lot of time with family together. Although now that you ask, the vast majority wasn’t any meaningful conversation so not that close. 
 

I can’t let go of the hope that at some point we can work it out. In counseling, and out of it, we were both attacking the other instead of working together on a problem. That isn’t an option now and my hope blinded me to that until something made me acknowledge it.

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On 7/6/2024 at 7:41 AM, CAM89 said:

I’ve willfully ignored it to remain, stupidly, optimistic.

You are not being stupidly optimistic. You are being human. You have loved someone deeply for many years, through good times and bad, having multiple children together. That's not something that just goes away. That's not something you just forget or move on from. That's something that you carry with you forever. A part of you always will love her. A part of her will always love you. And somewhere deep down a part of you will always wonder if maybe you could have done something to stay together. That doesn't have to be a bad thing. It can be a bittersweet thought every know and then and still be okay,

The key is to not let it be the only thought. It shouldn't be the driving force that gets you through each day. It's learning to separate yourself from the marriage, having your own identity, goals, hobbies, etc away from it. That was a pivotal and beautiful part of your life. But it is not your whole life. Be happy with yourself, doing what you need to in order to be comfortable and secure on your own as the person you want to be.

That you can have such honest discussions about your feelings with her is what will make this all work out in the end. It is what will allow both people to feel comfortable enough to work on themselves, as there won't be the deep seated anger and bitterness that clogs people's perceptions and keep them trapped in a cycle of hate. You will feel better in time because you'll see that there is no bad guy here. There are simple two people who make better friends then lovers. There are two people who each made mistakes but who show the willingness to address themselves and the causes that made the mistakes. There are two people who, despite all that happened, still want the other to be okay and happy. 

Take the time to heal yourself. Just know that you will feel better. Keep the faith.

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You may want her back but she wanted out & she's out.   

You two share children.  You do not get the luxury of no contact.  You still have to co-parent with her but you would be well served to limited your interactions to discussions about what is best for the kids.  

You have to change your self talk & the way you view this.  She's not coming back.  You have to accept that.  Then you have to decide what you want your future to look like without her & take positive steps to make that happen.  

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ShySoul, thanks you for the kind words. 10 years together so 1/3 of my memories are all her. I get stuck on missing those a lot. I’m getting better at simply appreciating that I have them at all and trying to learn from the mistakes and that those mistakes don’t define either of us. She’s genuinely one of the best people I’ve ever known and I can understand why she made the choices she did and not be angry at them even if they still hurt. We’ve both said we do love, well she says cares about, the other. It is just going to be a different type now. She definitely set a high bar for future relationships while also adding some new criteria for them. most of my counseling has been on controlling my thinking to prevent just that. She admitted she still had a lot of anger and I still have some as well. Overall though we don’t direct that at each other. Again I think we both have an understanding why the mistakes were made and understanding breeds empathy.

TeeDee, I appreciate the direct honesty. I don’t mean cut her off just cut down on the family events some or all together and do our own things with the kids. We have a lot of flexibility there with a legal agreement to fall back on if we can’t get along. So other than benefitting the kids it helps the two of us adjust to life’s busy schedule and there is some give and take to it but we make it work. Now is a great time for that because other than 2-3 times a week for kids baseball, she’s the coach so we don’t interact much there, Thanksgiving would be the next family event so maybe I can take the time to adjust my thinking and see how that goes. I keep thinking I’ve accepted that she’s gone. Then we do some family events and still klick when we are together and that goes to *** for a few days. Coming from a time where I had nonfunctional anxiety/depression I call it a win and keep working on it. Only major thing I want now is a much better job so I can work towards a house. After suffering 2 injuries related to my disability I physically cant do a lot of what I would have to for the jobs I was looking at before so that brings its own mental/emotional toll to the mix. I’ve gone from never getting married again to I’ll entertain the idea so progress overall is great but slow. Other than that I’m making sure I take care of myself, didn’t do great for a while there, doing counseling, working out, and using meetup for events and even flying solo just to get out of the house.

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Well, I was just having a *** day with work and got home and started browsing Facebook. First thing is a notification from ex wife with her guy reacting to it. Sent me over the edge for the day. I had unfollowed her but it kept sending notifications anyway so I unfriended her. Also deleted the photo attached to her number. Going to try again tomorrow I guess. I feel like I’m catching on to what I should have done a little late here. 

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