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A couple of years on

(74 Posts)
Hessen Sat 30-May-15 11:03:59

I'm a 33 year old man, and divorce has just gone through from my school sweetheart. After 15 years together, we separated 2.5 years ago when I left because she didn't love me any more and I felt that I deserved more.

It was a very weird separation, she has never said or shown remotely that she's missed me, we never cheated on each other, we never shouted or argued, she just stopped loving me and I didn't want our daughter to grow up seeing loveless behaviour from her mum as the norm. It also hurt me on a daily basis because I did, and still do, love her very much.

Although we are both much happier in new relationships, I still find it hard regularly because we interact daily to discuss our daughter, and I automatically care and want her approval and love, but she very much sees me as a distant ex. I love very deeply, and thought she did too, so it's very hard to accept that she can so easily dismiss 15 years, a marriage, having a child together, growing up together and all of the memories that we had.

No idea what to do to cope, I focus a lot of time and energy on my daughter, my career, my new partner, but it isn't enough to stop my heartache when she is so cold towards me, or my regular thoughts thinking back about the relationship and not wanting to regret the time.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Sat 30-May-15 11:46:50

I can imagine after fifteen years there is plenty to look back on. You don't heal overnight. But I am a little confused because when the marriage failed, you were the one to instigate the break up and took steps because it had become intolerable. It was no longer working. Whatever went wrong your wife wasn't going to fight for her marriage and you recognised that.

It is understandable still to have deep feelings and regrets but more than two years' on you seem unable to fully detach. As you have a child together it is an uncomfortable truth you have to have contact for some years to come. Otoh this should be brief and factual. Is daily communication really necessary? Won't a weekly email suffice? Your ex isn't likely to miss you if there's so much interaction.

You say you are in a new relationship, isn't it like short changing that person if you dwell so much on the ex?

Hessen Sat 30-May-15 12:25:34

Thank you for your response.
Talking daily is absolutely necessary for me, if we were still together I would be talking to her daily about our daughter, that doesn't change because we are apart. Being a parent is a daily job that I love and want and need to be a part of.

AmyElliotDunne Sat 30-May-15 12:34:43

From your new DP's PoV I think you are being unfair. Your feelings for your ex are still to strong for you to be with anyone else.

Fwiw, I have always been cold and business like with my ex because when emotions are allowed in, the old feelings of being hurt and let down come to the surface. It took a long time but now I am able to be warmer towards him because there is no danger of it falling back into that pattern.

After 3 years of being separated we both have new partners, but he has said that I know him better than anyone and I have offered him support through tough times when his gf couldn't/wouldn't. To me, that says she is not the right person for him. I am happy to be a friend to him now, but the number one person whose approval and warmth you're seeking should be your current DP. An amicable relationship with the ex is a bonus, but when it interferes with your new relationship it has gone too far.

AmyElliotDunne Sat 30-May-15 12:34:58

Too strong

Lovingfreedom Sat 30-May-15 12:37:14

You don't need to talk to her every day. It's probably stopping you from moving on. You don't sound very into your new partner. Not surprising if you are still so hung up on your ex

Hessen Sat 30-May-15 12:52:04

I'm very into my new partner. She gets me more than my ex ever did and we have lots more in common and a happier relationship. I just can't write off feelings for old relationships as others are able to do. And that's hard.

Inexperiencedchick Sat 30-May-15 12:55:32

I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

Please try to detach and live fulfilled life with your current DP.
It might be difficult but don't live in the past.

If you constantly think about previous times you are more than likely to miss out what's in front of you.
Don't do it to yourself no to your current DP. Life is too short.

Take care of yourself.

Paddlingduck Sat 30-May-15 12:59:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lovingfreedom Sat 30-May-15 13:07:33

I think you're taking a big risk with your new partner. No one likes being with someone who is still hankering after someone else. How does your ex feel? Does she want to get back together with you?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Sat 30-May-15 13:09:57

I do see you want to be a presence in your daughter(DD)'s life but your exW is not going to be out of your head if you're engaging in dialogue every day. Without revealing too much about them on a public board are they living in the same city? Is there a possibility of Skype contact, how old is DD? Are you having her to stay on a regular basis?

Hessen Sat 30-May-15 13:21:27

I don't hanker after my ex. I don't want to be with her, we didn't work as a couple and it was best for all that we split. I've been with new partner for over a year now and we are very much in love. She knows the situation and that I still care about my ex, the simple fact is I tried so hard to get attention and live from my ex for so long, that I still crave it now. And I can't logic myself out of the feelings.

Rebecca2014 Sat 30-May-15 13:21:31

What you are feeling is normal but you are making this situation much harder for yourself, there is no need to be speaking to your ex every day. Email or text each other updates on your daughter and speak on the phone once a week. You need to create some emotional distance from her.

Also if your ex did suddenly warm up to you and said she wanted you back, I bet you would be shocked and horrified. You wouldn't leave your girlfriend for your ex wife would you? I think part of this is sadness and hurt that she stopped wanting you and that she just doesn't care.

Seriously though, stop the daily contact. I don't know any separated parents that speak to their ex daily.

Hessen Sat 30-May-15 13:37:17

I don't know why separated couples who do either. But that's because the bloke barely gives a shit about the kids. I want to know every day what my child has been up to and how they are doing and what the future holds for them. The kind of parenting decisions that would be done each day if we were still together.

Anniegetyourgun Sat 30-May-15 13:49:38

How old is your daughter? Is she getting to the stage where she can phone or Skype you herself? I don't think anyone would ever suggest you should be less involved in her life, but when she is with one parent it shouldn't be necessary for the other one to know every little detail or consult on every decision. Long chats with your ex every day about your shared child will inevitably make it harder to detach from the old relationship. You're co-parents now, nothing else. It is pretty refreshing though to read about co-parents who are able to work closely together at one of their most important responsibilities. But... too closely is hurting you.

Hessen Sat 30-May-15 14:19:53

She's 4, nearly 5. It'll be a lot easier when she gets a bit older and I can talk to her directly about how her day has been.

Me and ex only talk by text each day about my daughter.

I honestly don't think the frequency of communication makes that much of a difference. She was my first love, I took my marriage vows very seriously and dedicated years to looking after her, growing up together, getting married, deciding to have a child and spend our lives together. I'd be angry with myself if I didn't always have some loving feelings for her as she was a very big part of my life for the majority of my life.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Sat 30-May-15 14:52:36

It's not easy switching off emotions is it?

It is commendable that you make every effort to get on with the ex for your daughter's sake- but Hessen your post wasn't just about a loving non-resident father keeping in touch with his child. It is unusual to crave approval (your word) from someone who apparently stopped loving you a long time ago. It struck me too heartache connected with your ex was a strong word from a man who states he is currently in a happy fulfilled relationship.

You miss the woman who was around for half your life. If you both extend respect to each other co-parenting will go smoothly. That's really the most she can offer, she has someone else in her life now. Her 'coldness' will be setting boundaries and staying civil.

Ouchbloodyouch Sat 30-May-15 14:53:01

The thing is she may have 'checked out' of your relationship well before you split up which is why she does see you as a dim and distant ex.

PushingThru Sat 30-May-15 14:59:22

Sometimes barriers & boundaries need to go up to protect yourself & your own heart & move on with life. What do you want her to do? You both sound like nice people. If she's your school sweetheart, you've probably never been through an important break up before. This is how decent people do things. You've moved on, so has she. You need to let it go.

JeanneDeMontbaston Sat 30-May-15 15:00:57

I am sorry you're feeling so bad, and I can believe after so long, it must be hard.

But I think you are making it harder for yourself. Can you restrict texts to twice a week, or even once, and save up all the practical questions about your DD for that? It is much harder to stop feeling emotionally dependent on someone if you are in constant contact, even if it seems quite necessary and pragmatic kind of talk.

It sounds as if you are still wanting the emotional bond with her, even if you're happy in the romantic/sexual side of your new partnership. And of course some people have close friends who give them emotional support, and it's not unhealthy in itself. But because she is your ex, I don't think you can have that kind of relationship.

It sounds as if you'd almost find this easier if you'd had a blazing row, or some big event that 'finished' the relationship. And I can see how that would be hard. But I think because you didn't, you have to make a real effort to step away and put up boundaries.

Hessen Sat 30-May-15 15:00:58

Yeah she definitely did, which is why I left/we agreed to separate. She never once fought for me to stay, or has hinted that she's missed me or anything. It actually makes it harder to logically process, because there was no reason for it other than just growing up and her not feeling the same any more.

We are polite and courteous and we always put daughter first. It would just be nice if someone who meant so much to me, and so say I meant so much to her, could at least tell me I'm a good dad now and again, or anything remotely positive about me having been in her life. But it's all just nothingy to her and distant past.

JeanneDeMontbaston Sat 30-May-15 15:02:17

She might also not want to be telling you positive things in case you misinterpret them as her wanting to get back together?

It'd be nice if she complimented you on being a good dad, obviously, but I can see she might want to be clear she isn't giving you hope.

PushingThru Sat 30-May-15 15:05:47

I'm sorry you're going through this, by the way. Most of us know how much it hurts. You're not over her & it's ok to accept that.

PushingThru Sat 30-May-15 15:07:47

Has she ever asked you to cut down on daily contact? Do you instigate it?

Ouchbloodyouch Sat 30-May-15 15:09:30

I guess its your version of never forgetting your first love! Most people don't marry theirs. Its not a bad thing. Are you over thinking it maybe?

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