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Did you think about them every day after separation? How long?



Did you think about them every day after separation? How long?

Old 06-13-2015, 05:57 PM
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Location: Vancouver, BC
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Did you think about them every day after separation? How long?

Hi everyone. I haven't been actively posting but I've been stopping by to read every few days. My apologies if this post drags on a bit.

Ever since my ex wife left me at the end of November, I haven't had a single day that I haven't thought about our relationship; I say that without exaggeration. Every single day since then, there's always been something that comes into my mind about what happened. Seeing couples walking down the street holding hands, and feeling resentful and bitter. Feeling crippling loneliness when I make myself go to the places that we used to go to together. A mall, a restaurant, a park, a beach, it all reminds me that we went there together once, and now it's just me. Going for a drive anywhere, feeling the empty presence in the passenger seat of my truck.

I've tried allowing the sadness to just come and go in its own time, but realistically there are limits as to how much one can allow themselves to be sad before it starts affecting their work. My work as a carpenter is dangerous and I can't allow myself to be distracted, and so I think about all the hurtful things my ex wife did and said that made me feel alienated and withdrawn. I tell myself that I tried the best that I could with the hand I was given, and that yes, I made mistakes too, but my mistakes were done with good intentions for the family. The sadness goes away, to be sure, but it just gets replaced by anger and I turn bitter and jaded... but the anger at least lets me focus better, and function well at work. If I just let my feelings run as they will, I feel as though I have to choose between wallowing in self pity or armoring myself with anger and hating the world around me.

The problem with the anger is that it dissuades me from trusting people, after everything that I went through in my marriage. If you can't trust your own family members, how can you bring yourself to trust anyone? So I don't trust. And I don't allow myself to get close to people to avoid the pain that comes from betrayal, or separation. Or I don't get close to people because they drink alcohol, and I see the same or similar personality traits come out that remind me of the previous alcoholics I've known in my life. Or I don't get close to people because I see the same codependent personality traits that I didn't realize I had, and it reminds me of how things played out for me. This all just turns into a big cycle of loneliness > sadness > anger > mistrust > repeat ad nauseum, and it perpetuates my daily thoughts about my failed marriage.

Did anybody else experience this, or am I just nuts?

Last edited by Thomas45; 06-13-2015 at 05:57 PM. Reason: Title issues
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Old 06-13-2015, 07:02 PM
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I just want to say I am sorry you are going through this.
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Old 06-13-2015, 07:05 PM
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This is completely normal. Do not be hard on yourself. November was not that long ago! It will get better with time, I promise you.
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Old 06-13-2015, 07:26 PM
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I'm sorry for your pain. It really, really stinks.

I did three things that helped me initially.

One- posted the serenity prayer on my bathroom mirror so I saw it brushing my teeth each morning and said it. Out loud.

Two- posted a gratitude list of ways my life was more peaceful and less chaotic. I recommend putting it right next to the prayer.

Three- I didn't do this, but it could help to post a list of the most painful things she did.

I was grateful for the ability to walk away from people drinking, from people acting in toxic ways, etc. The power to choose my space is something I gained.

I also joined some groups that interested me on a site called meetup. You can find groups in most cities with all types of interests you may have. I joined a bunch and met a lot of new people. You take or leave them...companionship at your fingertips, no strings attached. There was literally something almost every day I could have done. It helps get you out and chase away the lonelies.

Might not be for you...but a step out was a step forward for me.

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Old 06-13-2015, 07:27 PM
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You're not nuts!!!!
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Old 06-13-2015, 08:17 PM
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There is no easy way to go through a separation. Having said that, if you are anything like me, your own thoughts are your worst enemy. I found the best way to combat my own thoughts was to get out of my head. Journaling was one way to do that. Putting it all down on paper is not only cathartic, but it lessens the magnitude of it all somehow. Things get bigger and bigger the more times you turn them over in your brain. Getting them out of your brain and onto paper makes them smaller.

The other thing that saved me was therapy. Telling my stuff to someone who is educated and also wise to it was a great relief. She helped me to understand I was not alone in what I was feeling and there were ways not just to deal with it, but to actually get past it.

Anything you can do to externalize those things rather than internalize them will help a lot. Best wishes on your journey.

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Old 06-13-2015, 09:59 PM
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I do the exact same things. Some days I cannot even listen to the radio because I become too sad. My stbxah moved out last May. Our divorce is supposed to be finalized in September. I will go no contact after that. My A was also abusive. You would think that would make it easier for me to say goodbye and walk away. I don't have any advice for you. I just wanted to let you know there are a lot of us that go through the same things. You are not alone.
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Old 06-13-2015, 10:09 PM
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Im on an iphone sorry if this is choppy. It helped to read your thread. I too wondered how long does it take? I too was afraid to trust for all of the reasons you shared actually. Every 1 of them. I still am sometimes. Maybe that is why I am single 1.5 yrs later, having had very few dates. I needed time. About 6 months to get over the initial sting. 1 yr to go to "those places" and enjoy myself anyway. And 1.5 to even feel a desire to date someone new enough to try the trusting thing again, and not just say i am ready to trust but want it. I have contact with my Ex abf now but it took 1 solid yr to get over that anger and resentment too. I know even though you are sad, u have angry days. We all do mixed in. This is so hard!!! I think putting that serenity prayer on your fridge is a great idea. In fact, i am going to do it too. I also did make that list of all the things I DONT MISS about this person, the things they did to me b/c of their drinking. My life IS peaceful now. His toxicity cannot infiltrate my daily happiness. What you are going through now is bringing you eventually to that spot, even though you cannot imagine it so b/c the pain is SO bad. Give it time, and work on your remembering how her drinking made you feel so bad, up and down all the time. Hurt and alone and how now, you can just be. If she was here now, it would only be pain too. Stuck pain. This pain atleast pushes you to the next level of healing. Wishing you the best! Great thread.
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Old 06-14-2015, 04:34 AM
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I went through this with my Ex who was not an A just psychotic. He ruled my thoughts for about 9 months until I was sick of it and I found a therapist to work through it. My therapist very quickly pointed out that most of the anger I had was at myself for letting someone treat me that way, and for becoming a door mat to someone who was treating me horribly.

I suggest therapy its very effective. Some things I did - At home alone was when the thoughts raged (they did at work too but I could distract there somewhat). So when I found myself replaying the whole thing for the millionth time I would leave my house, take a walk, exercise, find a project and work on it (I ended up renovating my house which also helped because it no longer contained memories of him). I got rid of everything that reminded me of him, pictures thrown a way, gifts were donated, clothes were donated - I got rid of all of that.

Someone mentioned music - I stopped listening to anything that would trigger sadness, or any thought of him. Getting rid of all physical memories really, really helped me as did the music part (it would trigger a cry/anger episode).

As for trusting people I use a little logic there. I don't know how old you are - I was 43 at that time. In review of people that mattered those that had been untrustworthy were few. Truly one bad apple doesn't spoil the whole bunch. Make a list of people who have been good to you and trustworthy it will be a longer one that she on the other side.

Finally, forgiving myself was how I moved on completely. It happened, I screwed up. no time machines and no opportunity to go back and handle things as they should have been handled. Gotta let go of the past and deal with the present. Along the way I found SR and Al Anon and dealt with my codependency and tendency to seek out troubled souls to fix them. Today if I met that same guy and replayed our romance it would have ended a month in the first time I caught him on a sex website. I never felt that i couldn't trust anyone, but I did feel I would never have another relationship given my history and some shady men - it was too painful. Who I couldn't trust was myself because it was ME who CHOSE those people. There were many men along the way that I hadn't given the time of day to that were great guys, but if they weren't royally screwed up they weren't for me.
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Old 06-14-2015, 06:16 AM
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You're doing fine bro. It's all part of the process. And please be careful at work. I'm a chef and nearly slit my wrist with a oyster shucking knife when I got distracted and upset by a stupid text.

I still think about my ex too and it's been 8 months now. He lived across the hall so every time I walk out of my door, I see his. But now someone else is living there.
With every step out of the front door there is a memory. Where we ate, where we worked, the park where we used to sit and watch the swans while trying to memorize new menus.

We knew so many people in common. Sometimes I see people who say "hey! How's X?" I just say, "we're not together anymore, but I hear he's ok" then change the subject. People get the hint. There are so many songs that we both loved and we had "our" song Capital Cities, Safe and Sound. I still turn it off when it comes on the radio. It took me months to start watching what had been our favorite tv show again.

Bird is spot on about making that list of things that you don't miss. I also pass the bars where he got drunk and embarrassed me. I pass the pub where he bought his heroine. I walk past the guys he bought weed from and the liquor stores and the places he was fired from. I see his front door and remember how it was slammed in my face.

I just don't dwell on any of it positive or negative. I have a life to build. Had one before him and will have one after. I've also checked out the meet up groups site and there is some pretty fun stuff going on that I plan to get into. Make new memories. You're worth it!
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Old 06-14-2015, 09:59 AM
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It is totally normal. It is a grieving process, and moving from anger to sadness and then back again is also completely normal. The final stage of grief is always acceptance. There is no timeline. It only happens when you are ready.
There are so many good responses here.... I could only suggest that the acceptance part will have to do with forgiveness. Forgiving her for all the chaos her drinking caused, forgiving the broken promises and the broken dreams, and the big one, forgiving yourself. If you are working on codependency, it can really help the forgiveness process with yourself because you will be actively seeking how to not choose to date the same types of people again. It takes a lot of inner work.

I also see in your post a lot about trust. I too have gone through the extreme of not wanting to hang out or befriend anyone who is either an alcoholic or possible codependent. It seems that everyone around is in some form of that. So I choose to keep my distance where necessary in order to keep my own stability. However, I can also now accept all of these people for who they are without also feeling the need to "fix" them. And I also know that because we are the company we keep, as I progress in my growth, I will eventually learn to start relationships with people who share my affinity for health and kindness. I am open to allowing my HP to send those people to me when I am ready.... loosely holding on ;-)
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