My ex-husband and I were married for 20 years and divorced 5 years ago. We have grown children and since our divorce, he has remarried and I have had a few relationships, but have not found anyone yet that I really click long term with. I divorced my husband years ago because I was unhappy and stopped loving him. However, I have just recently found out that he was cheating on me during the end of our marriage with his now wife, and this discovery threw me into a tailspin with so much anger and confusion.
I was so bothered by this, and at such a loss as to why I even cared 5 years after our divorce??? This fixation was controlling me and I couldn’t understand why I became obsessed with trying to figure out all the details and timeline on his infidelity.
The best thing I did for myself was go back to therapy to try and find a place for my thoughts. My therapist was incredibly insightful… she was there for me through the end of my marriage so she really understood the situation I was in back then, and could help me process my current thoughts and anger.
We came to the conclusion that the real problem for me was that the narrative of the way our marriage ended has now changed which has made it extremely difficult for me. The shift, even though years later, is now that of a betrayed wife, as opposed to an unhappy one. My anger was focused on mistrust, as I truly didn’t suspect that my husband was cheating.
For the most part, my ex always avoided and tried to escape any form of conflict in our marriage, where I was the one always trying to communicate and work through our problems. So instead of confronting our marital issues that we must have both been feeling at the time, I believe he chose to escape into an affair. But the truth is, at the end I fell out of love and felt unfilled by him, and that piece of the story has never changed. I think the big take away that my therapist helped me to understand was realizing how we must have both dealt differently with unhappiness.
His affair must have been his way of dealing with his dissatisfaction. In the end we had 2 different ways of dealing with an unhappy marriage. And in fact, we always had different ways of dealing with any issue as they arose, which is why I wasn’t happy.
Thanks to my therapist, I am not focusing on my ex and his infidelity, but refocusing on the fact that I had the strength to end our marriage in a respectful and healthy way and move forward in my life.