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Is it possible to truly get over divorce?

(39 Posts)
Couragedoesntroar Wed 10-Oct-12 21:05:22

I've been separated for a year, starting divorce proceedings against an increasingly angry husband. The kids are fine so far. Mostly I'm happier, I couldn't have stayed married, I was emotionally dying. My friends are great and I have felt absolutely supported & in good company. But I long to be physically touched & life is harder. I do doubt whether I will ever feel at ease in the world again & I wonder if I will ever be touched sexually by someone I love again. Is it that it is just early days at a year in or is life now just about adapting to an unsatisfactory compromise?

peppapigpants Wed 10-Oct-12 21:09:47

My life got immeasurably better when my marriage ended. There was a period of grieving for the life I had wanted and didn't get, but I got past that and later met a wonderful man and we now live together with my DDs (and his DD for part of school hols). I am happier than I have ever been. Even if I hadn't met DP, I would still be miles happier than when with my exH.

I met DP when aged 42, so don't give up hope.

Couragedoesntroar Wed 10-Oct-12 21:15:25

Thanks Peppa. I'm 37, so hope for me yet then! I have a taste for what I've been missing over 13 years of marriage & a sudden longing combined with grief is a potent combination. I do feel better mostly & I imagine I'd be certain it was all good if I was advising someone else in my shoes. I'm not lonely per se but my body is iyswim.

deleted203 Wed 10-Oct-12 21:20:38

It is early days still, and you are doing well. I think you need a period of grieving/adjustment after the end of a marriage, and time to work out who YOU are now and what you want out of life. My life is incredibly better than it was during 14 years of marriage to a selfish, moody man. I was left in my early 30s with 3 children under 6 and after 18months on my own met a wonderful man (now DH) who loved me and adored my children. 12 years later we are still very, very happy together and have 2 more children. He treats all 5 DCs as his own (although eldest ones still see their dad) and life is good. As my partner took on 3 children aged 7, 5 and 3 there is definitely hope out there for you. Do not compromise. (And also, DH is better in bed than the ex wink)...

ANewDoll Wed 10-Oct-12 21:26:44

Courage, I filed for divorce in 2010 after 40 years together due to XH's inappropriate relationship with OW (she was 20 years younger than me!).

I too went through a lot of grieving and was at times in the depths of darkest despair, even contemplating ending it all because it all seemed so hopeless.

I have been "stepping out" with a lovely man in the last 9 months and have come to realise how loveless and empty the latter part of my marriage had been. Things will get better (I never thought I would say that in the dark days of 2010) and you will find yourself again.

I enjoy life now with my new partner - he is caring, loving, funny, adores me and treats me like a princess!

Look after yourself.

startlife Wed 10-Oct-12 21:30:01

I recall being told it takes between 2-4 years to recover from a divorce. For me it was probably closer to the 4 years. It's not that I was unhappy for that period but I was still adjusting - slowly I found I was happier, I was laughing more, I was feeling positive.I don't understand how some people can go straight into another relationship - I think it's natural to let one door close and allow the feelings of loss to heal before be able to love again.

It will happen for you - do consider counselling if you feel 'stuck'. I wish I went earlier as I think it can be a great investment in yourself.

Couragedoesntroar Wed 10-Oct-12 21:41:09

Thanks soworn, anew and start. Anew your message gave me that ache knowing now what I long for. I'm shocked because I so poohed-poohed romantic notions and settled for a fairly unemotional man before I discovered I longed for passion. Start that helps too, I have been thinking lately it may be nearer 4 for me (the poet David Whyte says change takes that long, he calls it 'the arc of transformation'). I'm not unhappy, I actually feel a lot of joy, but I know I'm still wounded. I have a wonderfully wise therapist who's been separated with DCs herself. If I trust I will get there (whatever that is) I'm ok, but I don't want to feel so wounded forever. Do the wounds heal properly?

peppapigpants Wed 10-Oct-12 22:11:48

I think my wounds have healed...I still kick myself for making such a poor choice in marrying the twat in the first place though!

However, things happen for a reason and my experiences have created two wonderful children and shaped the person I am today.

There's a PSHE topic at school called 'Good to be me'...and you know what, it is! Believe in yourself (and be kind to yourself too).

Couragedoesntroar Wed 10-Oct-12 22:15:41

Yes peppa I kick myself too although really I understand exactly why I did marry him. And my 2 DC are just gorgeous and the biggest delight of my life! I am glad you feel your wounds have healed. Sometimes I feel fine and sometimes, a year on, the pain and despair is still hard to take.

deleted203 Thu 11-Oct-12 04:05:34

The wounds do heal. When I see my ex now I barely recognise him as someone I once loved. There is no feeling there apart from a vague relief that I am no longer married to him and a faint feeling of surprise when I realise that I don't actually know him. He is a stranger to me. Thinking of us when we were in our early 20s perhaps is a little like remembering the boy you had a crush on at school. And even the awful, heartbreaking things times are so long ago that they no longer hurt. You will get better.

Couragedoesntroar Thu 11-Oct-12 05:34:17

I hope you're right so. My other question to all is is it really possible to be happy whilst single? Assuming this is the way I'll be for the foreseeable future, possibly forever.

Anniegetyourgun Thu 11-Oct-12 09:07:52

Possible to be happy? Being single is better by far, for all sorts of reasons. Probably not better than having a loving, supportive partner who shares the burden of running the household, contributes a fair whack to the family finances, pulls in the same direction with child-rearing, and is fun and easy to talk to (not to mention good, consensual sex on tap!). But then, if we'd had one of those we wouldn't have got divorced, would we?

Couragedoesntroar Thu 11-Oct-12 09:35:59

<<laughs>> yes Annie, we wouldn't be getting divorced if we had had that! I'm not sure many people do have that.

Maybe when my divorce is final I'll have closure. Does it help? I'm not really unhappy & I fail to see what exactly my problem is with my rather great life. Could it be that it's simply that I'm still wounded and grieving what turned out to be a pretty emotionally disappointing marriage?

Why is it that being single is seen as stigmatising? I think some of my discomfort might be due to that perception.

PostBellumBugsy Thu 11-Oct-12 09:46:36

I got divorced in 2005 & yes, I think you do get over it. Your life will never be quite the same though. My biggest regret is that I don't have a co-parent - I basically do it all by myself. Most of the time that is fine, but everynow & then it would be great to have someone to share the burden with - particularly someone who should be just as interested in their well-being as I am!

AnastasiaSteele Thu 11-Oct-12 10:07:12

I haven't personal experience of this but my dad didn't think he would recover from the end of his 16 year marriage. He was single for 4 years following his divorce, met a lovely woman one night and 13 years later, they are still together.

As a family, we are all much happier, though if you'd told us that at the time, we'd have never believed you. Now it is unthinkable that our families (his partner has two children from a previous relationship) could never have crossed paths and we don't like the thought of that! As an outsider, he seems more fulfilled in this relationship than his marriage, but it's difficult to compare because the relationships are vastly different.

A year in is early and I wish you all the luck in the world entering this next chapter.

Couragedoesntroar Thu 11-Oct-12 20:14:34

post and anastasia that's helpful, it sort of reminds me that there is no outcome that is all good or all bad. You know like you anastasia wouldn't have the new family members without separation, but there's the loss there too. Today I have been thinking that, that there are gains and losses both. Maybe I have to navigate as best I can and accept my disappointments as best I can. It hurts such a lot, the pain, severity & duration, has shocked me.

PostBellumBugsy Fri 12-Oct-12 09:39:50

courage, I can promise you the pain does subside. It gets so much less raw, turns into a dull ache & then it just slowly disappears.

I think one of the things with divorce, is that no one behaves any better. All the issues that you had when you were married don't go away - you just don't have to live with them anymore. However, when you have DCs, you still have to interact with your ex & they are not suddenly going to become a different or better person. They are just as annoying / bolshy / lazy / stupid (take your pick of what works best) and now they have even less incentive to try and behave.

nicholarseparsons Sat 13-Oct-12 07:47:49

In my experience courage the pain comes and goes over time. There are situations which make you realise you are overall better off in many ways, and there are those which bring regret and disappointment. Whilst you can do things to bolster your resilience (new interests etc) there are those times, such as now, when it all seems very hard to get through. This is the grieving process.

I am 18 months down the line. This week my ex FINALLY signed the consent order which will bring to an end the haggling over money which was all he had left to hurt and control me with. Initially I was overjoyed - I couldn't believe he was finally ready to let it go. However I am now in the pit of despair because it really does mark the end….there are no right and wrongs to how you feel, you just do.

The mistake I made was to get into a new relationship before I was ready. Don't let the longing for closeness with another pull you into something which may not be right for you at the moment. As other's have said, they found happiness when the time was right and ideally, I guess, it's when you aren't looking for someone who won't do 'what the ex did', don't find yourself making comparisons, don't idealise the NP, can trust in yourself, have made a life which is not based on recovery from the old one.

nicholarseparsons Sat 13-Oct-12 07:50:04

Oh and I absolutely second what postbellum has said - if anything the issues get played out AND THEN SOME but the context is different that's all.

50shadesofgreyhair Sat 13-Oct-12 09:26:47

nicholarseparsons - totally know how you feel. My ex stalled and stalled on the divorce and it totally got me down, yet when it finally came through (after 18 months too), I felt completely floored. I didn't anticipate that, I thought I'd feel elated and relieved. But I think that this ties in with the excellent observation postbellum made, the context changes, that's all - the issues, people and hurt are still there. In one way, things have changed hugely; in another way, nothing has changed at all.

I think that the day I kicked twunt out, after finally realising I'd have a breakdown if I didn't after all the lies, deceit and emotional abuse, was when I really got divorced. The piece of paper that followed after 18 months of haggling and spending a fortune on a messy divorce, seemed like the final nail in the coffin on our marriage - that's why it hurt so much.

Take care, I understand how you feel.
Saffysmum x

nicholarseparsons Sat 13-Oct-12 10:45:21

Saffysmum - it's me - Wisey.

So we got there and the timings of our respective experiences is staggering really.

I hope you are well and happy, if not now, then very soon. smile

50shadesofgreyhair Sat 13-Oct-12 10:56:48

Yes, of course it's you! I should have realised it when your post resonated so much with how I feel. I wish you all the happiness in the world hun, and will always be grateful for your wonderful support when I needed it most.

Couragedoesntroar Sat 13-Oct-12 18:52:35

I'm glad you both spotted each other (!) and got through it nicholarse and 50. Support is so important.

As you say, the wrangling over money is getting me down and the confusion over who is causing the breakdown of the post-separation attempt at being amicable. I am forcing him to disclose (I posted about it under another name) which feels right at one level, but he's acting so wronged and furious.

I have my weekend without the kids and I just hurt. It is good to have the quiet, but every part of me feels sensitive to everything (I can't face watching even flipping Sliding Doors on iPlayer because even that hits nerves). I feel an ache in my chest and like my skin is tingling. I had felt deadened in my marriage so perhaps this aliveness is to be celebrated (it has been commented on by people), but the hurt just goes on and on. Maybe like Anastasia says a year is early, but hell, it's a long time to be in emotional pain and not know what 'normal' is anymore. Maybe this is how my life will be forever, ducking out of watching chickflicks that aggravate my discomfort.

I'm sorry you feel despair nicholarse. The endless solicitors bills and legal wrangling really don't help do they? Sometimes I wish I hadn't gone that route, but I still hope we will feel more protected when we come out of the other end.

The whole process is just horrible.

memorylapse Sat 13-Oct-12 19:38:20

I am two years into the discovery of my H's Emotional affair and now six months into life on my own..
I have just started divorce proceedings and recently feel that I have turned a corner in that I look at H now and feel much less..the love has gone..I find it hard to believe that I loved this man so much..he is like a stranger to me..
I went through the grieving process which really surprised me as I knew that moving out was the best days work I ever did..but I grieved for the life I thought I would have and all the shattered dreams, I know that being alone is preferable to being so miserable with him
I think you need time to find yourself..and time alone is important to rediscover YOU..I rushed into the dating scene to try and ease the was a mistake and Im now happier alone for the time being

Couragedoesntroar Sat 13-Oct-12 19:43:11

I can't imagine being with someone else, I tried internet dating too but found it depressing. Sometimes I like being on my own and free to see my great set of friends. I think I feel clearer, as you memory, that I did not love STBXH and I don't like him. The clarity is comfortable in a way but terribly sad. Do you feel unkind by starting divorce proceedings? I find I do although I desperately want closure.

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