How I Made Peace With My Ex After He Abandoned Me

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By Audrey Cade, Featured DM Blogger - May 23, 2016

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You can’t control your ex’s actions, but you can try to control your reaction to those actions. The longer you allow yourself to remain connected and reactive to what he says or does, the harder it will be for you to heal and begin moving forward.

 

No one that I know has entered into a marriage thinking to themselves “oh well, if this doesn’t work out, we can just get divorced!” Divorce is the last resort and the “if all else fails” measure that none of us ever wanted to engage in. As any divorcee’ can attest, divorce is incredibly emotional, stressful, and akin to experiencing a death.

If your divorce was prompted by your ex abandoning you in some form, the feelings may be even more intense and raw because you also have to contend with sensations of betrayal. Abandonment may take many forms, physical or emotional; but, for the sake of discussion we will say that one partner was seemingly still involved and interested in carrying on with the marriage while the other acted in such a way as to sever those ties.

The following strategies were how I overcame my abandonment and healed. I hope that they may help bring you peace.

Your story is certainly unique, and while some of my experience may echo your own, each of us approached our situations and encountered abandonment in our personal way. I married my first husband when I was way too young. I met him while still in high school when he was just starting college at a nearby military academy. For reasons that I do not yet understand, my mother was an immense force in pushing the two of us together.
I believe that she saw something amazing in him and used our experience to live out some of her own dormant dreams. I was smitten with this handsome young man and enjoyed his company; but, I am certain that I was nowhere near ready to exchange vows as an 18-year-old. We dated for three years before marrying, then were together as a married couple for seven years. I think we were reasonably happy for most of that time, at least as far as either of us knew how to be happy or function as a married couple when we both had so much growing up to do.

He experienced some major career and personal disappointments about four years into our marriage, and I don’t believe that he was ever able to overcome the depression that he entered. One typical summer day he approached me to have a talk and flatly announced to me that he was no longer happy being married. He wanted to be single, to live alone, and to pretty much do a 180 on every aspect of his current life.
A wife no longer fit into his vision for his life. I was stunned, but somehow his words shook me to the reality that I was, somehow, not terribly surprised. My gut reaction was to seek counseling for him and for us to try to “fix” our problem. He had already made up his mind. He was beyond counseling of any sort. He was afraid that the military would find out that he sought mental health services for himself, and he was unwilling to work on our marriage without first finding his own happiness.

I’m not sure how I managed to find my strength, but a calm voice of reason filled me from within. I cried, but I never begged. I knew it was over. I knew that our marriage had no hope if he had no desire or intention for us to get help as a couple. I recognized that it would take every bit of effort from both of us if we were to survive and that just wasn’t happening!

I am very thankful that I was able to make this realization so quickly. I have seen so many others go through a divorce who are unable to see the writing on the wall. One of my biggest pieces of advice that I have for you is that if your spouse won’t go to counseling, won’t try to talk about it, and won’t make any effort to re-connect, then you need to walk away.

You can do so with your head held high because at least you did what you could, or at least you were willing to. You can’t allow yourself to become bogged down in shame because of the actions of another, nor wait on them endlessly when they may never come around.

Although I was able to accept that my marriage was over, I was still hurt and angry. I had moved around the country with him, supported him in his career, made sacrifices for him in an attempt to be a good wife, and now he was just done with me!

I decided that the healthiest thing for me to do was make a conscious decision that although he owned ten years of my life, I would not let him take one more day from me! It is critically important to loosen the grip your ex has on your emotions and ability to be happy. As difficult as it is to untwine the knot of your marriage and feelings for one another, you must regain control over your emotions and not let yourself be affected by their actions.

You can’t control your ex’s actions, but you can try to control your reaction to those actions. The longer you allow yourself to remain connected and reactive to what he says or does, the harder it will be for you to heal and begin moving forward.

I was terribly ashamed and disappointed to find myself going through a divorce. Like anyone else, I envisioned being married to my spouse forever. I was embarrassed to tell everyone I knew and I felt like a gigantic failure. I think most of us have some of these feelings. What made me finally step out of the shadow of shame was the decision to forgive myself – and him.

I had to come to terms with the fact that I had some responsibility in the demise of our relationship…maybe I wasn’t attentive enough, maybe I didn’t encourage him to get help sooner, maybe I got too wrapped up in my own interests? Whatever it was, I needed to give myself a reprieve from beating myself up about it. I am human, humans make mistakes, and if nothing else, I could take what I learned from this experience to grow and do better in the future.

Even though I never had the chance to apologize to his face, I made the effort to recognize what I believed to be my shortcomings, then forgive him, as best that I could, for hurting me and abandoning me. He, too, is a human who made mistakes. I couldn’t completely understand his motivations or condone them, but I could release the negative feelings, pity him, and set my love for him free because he was no longer mine. Forgiving him didn’t mean that I accepted his actions, nor did it mean I had to “like” him, it simply meant that I refused to allow hate, sadness, or despair to eat me alive. What he did was not okay but it was worth it to be a bigger person and separate with dignity.

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