Monday, 15 December 2014

Moving on - how and when??

I have had good intentions of writing a number of happy posts about stuff I've been up to or pictures I've taken. I'm really conscious that all things considered I have a lot to be thankful for and I do try to look at things in a positive light. But I just haven't managed to engender enough enthusiasm to write things down lately. 

Three years ago, my ailing marriage of 25 years fell apart. Spectacularly quickly in the end. No rows, no major drama, lots of tears and sadness. I moved out to give us breathing space and time to think and that was that. Its not that there is anything to regret really - we met very young and had some great years growing up together and enjoying seeing three wonderful sons turn into capable, caring men. So how is it, that three years on the odd thing can still completely floor me? Today, I inadvertently wrote his name in a Christmas card. I guess its habit of a lifetime, best part of 30 years as a 'unit' when I always wrote all the cards. Now I don't know how to sign them - just me, me and the boys, me and the youngest who is still living at home? When do you stop adding everyone's names? I put it off as long as I can each year and then the conventional part of me kicks in, spurred by the looming 'last posting date'. What struck me today was how ridiculous it is that every year I write cards to people I haven't seen for years (but feel connected to because we shared friendship at some stage and I still want to maintain that connection - I still like to hear what they're doing) and yet the man that I lived with for all those years and who, despite divorce (and all the anguish that brings), I will always be connected to because we have children (they're still our kids, even grown up) I can't speak to, or see at all or even send a Christmas card to.

He, of course, is completely entitled to move on in whichever way he feels best and if (as is the case) he wishes to have no contact with me at all that's his prerogative. We forgot how to care for each other in the last few years together and I'm not sure we could make each other happy any longer. From what the boys say he is much happier now - he's living a life he never wanted to do when he was with me and I'm glad he's been able to do that. But I can't shake off this feeling that it should be possible to be on friendly terms. How can you want to pretend half your life never happened? I value those years - even the tricky ones - we learned about life together, we share special memories of our children that no-one else can quite relate to in the same way, we became the people we are at least in part because of each other. I wish we were still able to enjoy sharing things the boys are doing.

Mostly, I feel ok about life. I keep busy, probably too busy, and things tick along. But I think I'm just treading water. I don't know how make forward progress. And just now and again, like today, I think I'm drowning. 


  1. I was left with a 3 year old after 5 years of marriage. It is twenty years later and it still makes me feel sad sometimes. It upset me terribly for years, it is a massive adjustment and bereavement to lose a marriage. When someone dies, everything is intact, with the good memories still happy ones, but when you divorce, things are denied, things become as if they are lies and memories are spoilt. I have not married or had another serious partner since. Bringing up children limits you as regards relationships but yet I am glad for this as my daughter was and is my life's highlight and always will be.

    To have to readjust after 25 years must be incredibly difficult. Sometimes our ex's have a way of showing/telling us that the past memories which are dear to us are just expendable to them which is very hurtful. It can be done on purpose or it can be unintentional. Both hurt! Incidentally I would sign your cards either just from yourself or until they have all grown up, maybe put 'the boys'?

    Sometimes I still cry about the leaving, about being left. I don't mind so much that he left me and rejected me, so much as I feel mindful that I was rejected at all, and most of all I mind the rejection of our child which I do not forgive him for. Life is hard sometimes and although mostly I am very glad to be alone, just occasionally I do feel sad and yes sorry for myself.

    I think you have a lot of adjustments to make, of how you view the past (probably the hardest of all), how to think of your present and of course how to look at the future without it seeming frightening or empty. I take heart from people I know who seem happy, who have long been alone and have perhaps never married. They don't have children. They all seem happy, with social lives and friends, doing things that they like to do and arranging life so even if they sometimes don't feel like it, they keep themselves on their toes doing things. It seems to work as they are positive independent happy people. My own future looking at it, is one of insecurity, poverty and aloneness once my daughter is moved away permanently which will happen in the next year. Sometimes I feel dismal about this - I have nowhere secure to live and that frightens me, but I mostly try and trust that all will be well. So far, mostly it is. I hope it will be for you too.

    Time heals, and yes lots of it. It's still early days. Be kind to yourself and understand that you have bad days. You deserve some sympathy and tlc so give some to yourself. Tomorrow you can keep on keeping on, but today you need a hug. Consider yourself hugged! All my best wishes.

  2. Hi Sandra, I'm a new reader, just having found your blog a couple of weeks ago. I don't have any advice, but please know I'm thinking of you. Take care.

  3. Such a poignant post. I have been married for 26 years and, although he can drive me insane at times, I imagine that if he wasn't around, it would feel as if I had had something amputated. We also met young and grew up together and you're right, you do have a history and memories that no-one else could possibly share. It's sad that your ex doesn't feel able to maintain contact, but I feel it is him who is missing out. As for the cards, I would probably continue to go with you and the boys, if that's OK with them. I hope you're feeling less like you're drowning very soon. x

  4. Oh my, this is an ironic read for me as Christmas is a particularly testing time in our ailing marriage (32 years and 3 still at home kids). It makes me feel that I don't like Christmas although I really do, and that I don't get to do the things I would like (going to church for instance). When I write the cards I just put from myself and 'family' and only add in toh name on his family cards as I write them all myself.
    Right now, he is wanting to "be involved" and "be included" (because he is now 60, semi-retired with back problems) when in the past he was always running away from us, day and night, living his own life, looking for excitement elsewhere. and not interested in the boring everyday stuff like bedtime stories and heart operations.
    I look at the future with dread, witnessing his mother trapped in caring for his father until her death, and constantly thinking of the past as, unlike yourself, the happy memories are few.
    I desperately want out, but stay for our fragile teenage girl. My boys know the situation and sympathise, one boy will move out soon and the other would come with me but I have no job, no money and no parents to help and so I can only dream of living a life without him in it.
    Interestingly within the last week or so his sister is complaining that we don't keep in touch but she wasn't interested in us whilst their parents and other sister (who hated me) was alive. Just as he is now interested in our family now that he has stopped looking for other people to spend his quality time and money with.
    I am sorry I may have rambled a bit there.
    I hope you spend Christmas with your boys and have a lovely time and maybe connect with the names on the cards your are sending in real life next year. The feelings you have now may be a 'time of life' situation, and hopefully will pass when new things appear on the horizon, there is a lot to look forward too, son's relationships and and eventually grandchildren, think how exciting and wonderful Christmases will be then.
    Best wishes to you
    Susan x

  5. My thoughts are with you. I've had a marriage break up then a partners death but am now very happily married again, so there can be light at the end of these dark tunnels. Hugs Suzy xo

  6. Same thing happened to me after 30 years. It took 10 years, but my ex and I speak on friendly terms now and then, and give small holiday gifts to each other. Give it some time - take a breath and call your girlfriends if you need a boost. Girlfriends always come through for you.

  7. Sorry to hear you've been feeling so sad Sandra, but hopefully writing it all down may in some way prove cathartic. You are right to value those years, you should cherish happy memories.
    I am the complete opposite having never been married or had kids, I have spent the majority of my life alone apart from the odd boyfriend, so I am more used to it but it isn't always easy.
    Just keep going and hopefully one day soon things will start to become easier. x


  8. Hello Sandra, so so sorry you are struggling right now. I don't know what to say except take care of yourself and remember your boys will always love you.
    Jacquie xxx

  9. Sandra, I'm so sorry you are feeling bereft at the moment, christmas is such a funny time of year I think it's because of all the traditions and memories that we cherish which can make us feel happy and sad all at the same time. I love the fact that despite the heartache of your divorce ( I can't quite believe if has been three years as I remember when you first write about moving out) you still look back on your marriage and can see the positives as well as the negatives. A facebook acquaintance wrote on facebook today about how wonderful her new life is (new man etc) and how awful her old married life had been and I felt quite sad for her because I would think that her and her ex did experience some magical moments and they did have three boys together. I hope that the comments we have left on your blog make you realise that you aren't alone and if you ever what to chat then just send me a message xx sending you a big hug xx


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