Question: How do you stop obsessing about what your ex-husband is doing with his life? How do you detach from someone that you were literally linked to as “one flesh” for years and years?
The same way you spit out the elephant you’ve been eating for years…one bite at a time.
Okay, let’s get something straight. Becoming un-one is super hard, super sad, and will take a super long time, there’s just no getting around it.
God made you one. I’ve heard it said, think what happens when something is super-glued and then gets ripped apart…neither piece comes out unscathed, right? The same goes for a marriage that ends in divorce. When something happens that wasn’t supposed to happen – like a divorce – it sort of goes against the natural laws of physics or what-have-you, and that usually means you can count on extra amounts of healing being needed.
So first of all, please show yourself some grace. All the way up to divorce day, you were married. And you had a husband. And we are conditioned to think about our husbands, to care about them, to wonder what they’re doing, to be concerned about their choices. You don’t just turn that off overnight.
But you can, slowly, deprogram yourself, for lack of a better word. I think there are a few ways you can do this.
The first is to take your thoughts captive for Christ. When you find yourself wanting to text your ex-husband (about something non-essential or non-child-related) or you are wondering if he’s dating yet or you’re concerned about his drinking habits, you must stop yourself in your tracks. You can do this a couple ways. You can literally say “STOP” out loud. You can remind yourself right then and there that “he is no longer my responsibility because he is no longer my husband,” or whatever kind of mantra you want to slip in there. You can even pray for him and envision handing him over to God to take care of from now on. But then you need to be ready with a new thought. It can be a Scripture that you’re working on memorizing or even something silly that you’re looking forward to doing soon.
Secondly, borrowing a concept I’ve learned from author and counselor (and who I consider to be one of my spiritual fathers, though we’ve never met), John Eldredge, is to pray something along these lines: “God, I sever all spiritual, emotional, physical, relational, and mental ties I have with my ex-husband. Break all unholy and unhealthy heart, soul, mind and body ties between us. I bring the Cross of Christ between us. I send back everything that is his to him, in the power and authority of Jesus Christ.” And girl, you pray that over and over and over. To quote Aundie Kolber, author of Try Softer (a book I cannot recommend highly enough, by the way): “I return what is not mine to hold.”
And thirdly, another great way you can stop obsessing about your ex-husband’s life is to start living your best, fullest life possible. But Beth, you want to say, I’m sad and grieving and I lay in my pajamas all day every day. Yeah, I get that. I did that. (I sometimes still do that.) But there are so many things that you can fill your mind with other than your ex-husband. DVDs, books, praying for your kids and your friends, making yourself a healthy meal, looking into an online class, dusting off that old hobby of yours and starting it up again, going for walks, taking an exercise class, going out for tea with a friend, serving someone in your community who needs your help or company. In other words, as you fill up your life and your heart and your mind with good and beautiful things, you will have less time to wonder and worry and obsess over your ex. Trust me, the days when I’m even just running errands or meeting with a friend or leading a small group or writing like crazy are the days when I forget (okay, almost forget) that I even have an ex-husband, let alone what he’s up to.
Girls, it’s time to move on. It won’t be easy or overnight. But it all starts in your head and it all starts with you.
If this post encouraged you, you would benefit from some of my other divorce related resources:
Free Lies We Tell Ourselves webcast
Living Through Divorce as a Christian Woman e-book
Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage book
COURSE STARTING IN MARCH! Heartbreak to Hope e-course
You are invited to spend three months digging deep into your pain, processing your grief, feeling better and actually start thinking about your present and your future with more hope in my e-course, Heartbreak to Hope: https://elisabethklein.com/product/heartbreak-to-hope-coaching
But it’s still hard
My head knows everything you said is true
My head has accepted this over and over
Why on earth would I want to go back to a liar a cheater and a thief!!!?????
Except we have been married for over 33 years and as egotistical as he is …. This was supposed to be forever!
So my emotions still are out of whack!
Out of the blue I have a meltdown
I am perfectly aware that I couldn’t fix his sexual addiction
I am perfectly aware that our problems arose over my excessive working to pay the bills because he didn’t
Yes I am jealous that he gets to walk away with a clean slate and I am stuck with a houseful of stuff. That he can start a new relationship (and has) with no real guilt and ” move on” as he puts it … Like nothing ever happened.
I feel like he threw me away – just like an old sock!!
I know I am better off
I know life will be 10 times better
I know that men don’t get it and he will NEVER understand the pain he caused
But I still grieve
I still hurt
I still cry
I am just so sorry for your pain. I resonate with what you feel and my heart breaks for you. Please know you’re not alone…there are many others who know how you feel, but Jesus does too. He sees you. If you’re interested, I moderate a private Facebook group for women who are separated/divorced. Let me know. -Elisabeth
After 30 years, I still cry severely a lot because of divorce but also because of family not as it should be. And his new girlfriend has a lot to do with my grandchildren. I am 75, life is short, I have medical problems and I still cant get over it.
Can you send me the facebook that you have for divorced women?
Please send me your facebook information
I can understand your pain and can relate to much of it. I was only married 5 years to a liar, cheater, sexual addict who I think was also a sociopath. I am happy I did not waste anymore years on this man. I can not even imagine going through what your going through after spending 33 years with someone. Its only been about 3 months for me since our separation and are going through a divorce right now. Every day gets better and a have some strong Christian women friends that have been a true blessings in helping me get through this and I also have some weak barely Christian women friends that have helped me in a different way to get through this. I know in the end I am the winner in all of this because he really does not need to answer to me but to god for all he has done. If you would like to keep in touch with me I would be happy to share feelings and thoughts. my email is email@example.com god bless you
I am sorry for your loss and I understand the pain. Hopefully you have at least one or more strong Christian women friends that can be there for you. I do. It has really helped me to seek out old friends and try to make new friends. I have been visiting different churches. Most of which are the bigger, louder, full of life type church that I need to cheer me up. We have a couple of mega type churches here where I live and it really helps to go and be surrounded by lots of people and activity. I am also trying out different bible study groups. Make yourself get out of the house and do something. I have gone to a movie all by myself, I have sat at a bar counter having a glass of wine all by myself, I have gone to the park and thrown down a blanket and pillow and just read a book. There is lots of things to get yourself started to this new found freedom of not having to take care of a man and only think of yourself. As time goes by you will see the light and the joy of living on your own. God bless you and good luck
I am replying to the “N” person on 1/18/14. Finally, you are the one who hit the nail on the head!
I was married 13 1/2 years, together 15 1/2 years. He has 2 daughters, I have 1 son. Out of the blue, he asked me for a divorce the night of his daughters graduation party-this past July. (My son is 18-a -now senior in high school) I was devastated. I knew we were having problems, what couple doesn’t, I knew he was in a rut, but it just seemed like we would get through it, like we always did. I found out after we separated–no he didn’t want to see a counselor–1 1/2 weeks later he was out to dinner w/ his female ‘best friend of 27 years’. SHE told the waitress he wanted to kiss her. I confronted him and he said that he has had these feelings for her for a few months now. He also told me he hadn’t been happy for 4 years. 4 years! I don’t understand, this was never brought up before by him. We are both in our 40’s. Anyway, he is with his girlfriend now all the time, he lives with her. He only comes back to the house to change clothes and then goes right back over there.
–my head knows I won’t go back to him, but the heart aches with the pain of knowing that he promised he would love me forever, yes, 2 people make or break a marriage, but it still just stinks. Anything I wanted to do, I would ask him to do with me, his answer was always no-but now he is going out with her and being the knight in shining armor he promised he would be to me. He told me he would never be with her because he thought of her as a sister and she is very controlling, that was why he was happy to be with me, I would let him go out with his friends, I didn’t want to be the wife that said no he couldn’t go. I wanted him to go out w/ his friends so that he could tell me what fun he had, as I do with my friends. I trusted him 100%. I now look at our entire marriage as a lie.
— He is so happy now–he has no kids, no responsibilities, can come and go as he pleases, has a new ready made family (she left her husband, but she has 2 kids 13 YO Girl, 9 YO boy)
–his family has kicked me to the curb–all ignoring me–not one call to see how I am doing, or 1 text to say any word of kindness. His daughters-I haven’t talked to them in 2 months. Yes I have reached out to them, but they do not respond.
–I filed for the divorce because I knew he wouldn’t. I am glad that I did because I can’t stand the pain anymore. I am moving out of the house in a few weeks. I have my own place. SHE moved into a devlopment a 1/2 mile away from my new place (imagine that).
–I am excited to start my new life in my new place with my son and 2 dogs–Sometimes I wonder if my heart breaks because I am afraid to be alone, or if i am alone for so long, how will I react to a new relationship. I am giving myself time to heal, but I think for women, we want to feel desirable and beautiful.
–Tomorrow is our anniversary, 14 years married, 16 years together. I am strong, I will get through it, but it is on my mind constantly now. The good times and the bad that we had–especially this past year.
Your story fits my present situation perfectly. I am heartbroken, stuck, confused and I still want the loser back. I love him no matter what.
Thank you for sharing your story. It makes me feel less crazy about my own.
You’ve just described my torment in one post. So ready to get over this!!
Elisabeth thank you for letting the Lord use you and that you write for women who’s hearts have been broken. January 14th my husband abandoned me. We had been married for 9 years and dated for 10. He confessed a couple of months later that he was having an affair with his receptionist. Many traumatic things continued to happen. But the Lord was with me every step of the way. I too feel the frustration and deep rooted pain when I think about him, which is often. He has hurt so many people. I’m still in shock and it’s been a year! I want to know your private Facebook page please send it to me. I recognize I still need a lot of healing to do. In God’s Love, Carol.
This is my story. It was triggered for me to write after reading a blog from another firefighter friend about “Getting Help for firefighters” It sparked me to tell the other side of this lifetime experience. This is my healing. This was my life from 24 years old until the present 57 years. I read it to my ex husband today, one I was married to for 37 years. He gave me permission to post this after I read it to him. Closure must happen. This is not meant to point fingers in blame because we both were at fault. I am not perfect, him either, but this is the tragedy that happens when help is not sought or continued. Marriage is hard work.. I to retaliated with infidelities and vicious behavior. I am held accountable for my part in this marriage to God. I repented. This testimony is to reach out to others hiding with abuse to shamed to bring it up, or guilty because of their own behavior. This is meant to reach out to others that may be suffering in this situation; my life is an open book. Many of you know us personally, are our friends and family. Please do not take offense it is not about you. This is a walk of healing, closure and forgiveness. I am not casting blame but this is a true story. Validated and honored by my ex husband to tell. Thanks for listening.
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Sheryl Pantti McGeary • I was a firefighters wife. I lived the life in my husbands shadow, all the glory, the honor the prestige, the hero. We lived 2 lives, we had the first face that showed honor and dignity to fellow workers honored and respected for his position at the firehouse and in the community. Then we had the 2nd face the one nobody ever saw but those that lived with it on those days outside of the firehouse walls. First came the drinking, then the abuse, first physical, but when those left marks, psychological abuse, where only in ones heart could they be viewed if you wanted to dig that deep. The face kept smiling. You endured because you knew the stress he faced everyday, the tragedy he witnessed, you minimized your pain and his, you minimized the problem, you talked yourself into saying and believing its just the job. You made excuses for the behavior, yet you lived a hidden nightmare. Then you try to cope with, alcohol, pornography, to numb the pain, introduced to you through this union. You viewed love this way cause that’s all you knew. No tenderness all surface gratification. Feeling lost feeling alone, but you were the lucky firefighter wife. Anybody would trade you for your life. You married a hero. Nobody knew, but the shadow knew all to well. The pain and anguish of work related stress took its toll and the tool of the pain was us, his family. Behind closed doors the horror began. You cried to him to seek help, and there were a few times it was gotten but not with long-term change. It started again and again. You kept trying only to be told I don’t need help, I don’t need to change. You cried out to God. God where are you? You find yourself praying for death, you, of yourself, or more him. You feel the guilt and shame that surrounds it. If he would die, then I can get the benefits and keep my face without divulging the truth. that will work God right? Silence, or maybe you didn’t want to hear. You want to leave but can’ cause you are addicted to the money, the fame the fortune. So you hide and endure and minimize You were eventually told “its your fault why do you make me so angry? It must be you I get along great with everybody else. His birth family thinks he is the greatest, even when witnessing the abuse, and they sympathize with you but nothing more. I don’t blame them blood is thicker, I love them and they are not to blame. Your birth family steps in you tell them mind there own business nothing is wrong. They see but are powerless cause you won’t accept it and in delusion. You always keep smiling always pretending that life was great being a firefighter’s wife. Other women envied you and made no point to hide it, affairs!!!! Competition for your own husband. The attention was hard to resist for any man. You developed an eating disorder because you wanted to keep up with the competition only to still fight with your own worth. Then you give up get fat because you don’t care anymore and it keeps you safe from the sex you don’t want anymore because it lacks intimacy. This is not his fault it is both drowning in a sea of hurt and pain with no life preserver to rescue you. No help, No freedom. Your identity was being a firefighter wife, you may have had a career or JUST being a a stay at home mom, what a privilege that was, great income with great benefits that came with the job, you sowed all your retirement into his because he told you it would bring greater return when we retired. I was a RN . I believed what he said was true. You were the blessed firefighter wife. He was home more than he worked. Time to spend together with family we were blessed. so everybody thought and believed. We kept the faces, we kept the upper middle class lifestyle, he was honored and looked up to wherever we went. The shadow would always say .I am proud to be a firefighter wife. He even searched God, went to the Alter professed Christ. There was great hope in this, finally change we can work with. However, it is the parable of the seeds it did not last. He could not have the World and its pleasures as he knew them and serve Christ to, one of them had to go. So It, however, came to end one day after 37 years and in middle age getting ready to retire with all those good benefits you earned over the years were abruptly cut off with the words “I don’t love you anymore” I want a divorce” Your life as you know it is over and shattered. What? I am no longer the firefighter wife. You loose the home, the family (his side) some don’t speak to you anymore, the Christmas cards don’t come, the pictures of your nieces and nephew stop. , The benefits, the prestige, all you have worked for all your life. You had your retirement set then it was all changed. In midlife you are forced to start over, no guarantees, all your benefits depends if he lives or dies. He helps out with some things but you are left with the major expenses, you can’t work cause you had a major serious injury. The bills are piling up. You don’t want to ask for help. You are afraid. You use all the retirement funds in your account just to live. I was not the first, however, others came before me, you watched those wives leave, and you had pity for them, and false assurance. Glad, relieved that it wasn’t you. Your firefighter family was no longer your family. So much loss, so much pain. You feel abandoned, thrown and tossed aside. You find out there is a new woman, one younger. You pretend you don’t care but deep inside you are raging. LIFE IS UNFAIR GOD DO YOU EVEN HEAR> then the question comes after all the self-pity wears off. Is there Life after being a firefighter wife? Yes there is indeed, one day in the pain and the anguish, the loss, and the tears. God answers. He is here. He is with you. Take my hand he says. I will save you. I am the Way, The Truth, and The Life. God/Jesus is embraced and a love greater than ever experienced in a lifetime is revealed. Why now why in this brokenness? Cause, that’s where it must happen in our brokenness. I am moving on, I have found life outside of being a firefighter wife. I have found love again through eternal love In Christ. Still single. Still finding healing. I have found forgiveness. I have asked for forgiveness as all fault not lies with him. This is my story. The one you don’t hear told through all the whitewash of the Glory, honor, and heroism of this profession. I am a survivor and have found purpose in this life even as a shadow. I work with women suffering with domestic violence. My call to all, do not hide behind the door, the honor, the glory, the excuses, the minimizing, the job. There is help; marriages can be saved if so desired. Their pain can be released by other ways other than you. Reach out. Don’t stay hidden in this sin. Let people know. It happens in all economic and prestigious lives and the highest rate of abuse comes from firefighter families and police. I am a living testimony. I am free. I have 2 beautiful children and 5 grandchildren so there are no regrets. The regret is I did not get help sooner. But remember it’s never too late. God hates divorce but also hates abuse. Don’t be afraid to tell. I love you all. May God use this story to help others understand. I am not bitter. I am better. I am God’s child
I keep reading that it is better to write (or type) things out, so i figured i would share my story. If anything, maybe it will show someone that they are not alone. I have been married for almost 5 years but a divorce is coming in a couple months when we go to court. I just moved in to my new place a little over a month ago and it is still far away from being “home”. I have three boys and they live full time with me and my ex sees them once a month. He cheated on me and it still hurts everyday. i found out in October and they have now decided to move in together. I feel at times that i am obsessed with everything. I go to work and then drive the longest possible route home. I dont do much but think about why and how this could all transpire. Six months ago I was a happily married woman and I believed my husband to be happy. There was no huge fight or continuing problems. There was just a day that I found out about the affair. It is so hard not to call or text. It is even harder not to questions everything. What did I do wrong??? How did it all come to this? He is not honest about her living there or them being together. I have found everything out through other people and the kids. Everyone tells me “why would you want someone that is that cold and heartless” “why do you care for someone who clearly doesnt care for you” “how can you waste time on somone who does not even think about you”. It is not a simple answer as love, It is also confusion and burning questions. It is hard to accept and close the door. I know it can not be fixed and that he has moved on and so i need to do the same. I just feel like 100 bricks are on me and that i am stuck. If anyone reads this and includes me in their prayers, I would greatly appreciate it.
Wow Amanda — you sound just like what happened to me. We were together for 17 years, married for 11, and one day out of the blue 6 months ago I am blindsided by an affair with a younger co worker. He left the day after I found out and has never shown his face to me. He tells me he is not with her and that he did not leave me for another woman….yet I hear from others he is with her. Why continue the lies? I do not understand that. There is nothing more to lose we are not together and he does not want to reconcile so why not own up to it that you left me for her?? To make matters worse we were undergoing IVF and about to have a transfer of our embryos and then the affair was discovered. What kind of person allows their wife to undergo this treatment and have an affair behind their back? Does he really think he suddenly met someone he barely knows that is going to be the best thing in his life and he just cant pass it up? So much that he is willing to throw away his vows and perfectly good wife, our embryos and the rest of our future together? I guess so because that is what he did. All he can say is I am sorry, goodbye. 🙁 I pray everyday I will get over this hurt and the trauma and to find true happiness again. I would love the Facebook group information from whoever has it so we can all help each other through this trying times together.
Hey elisabeth I feel like my whole world is falling apart….my husband divorce me just because we had an arguement…I cryed & begged him not to…I asked him if a divorce would make him happy & he said yes.well we are divorce & no one in my family no about it I don’t have the heart to tell them….he call’s me every morning & every afternoom & he say we are going to get back together & for some reason I am waiting for that day…he blames me for every mistake in our marriage…
Mallisa, I am so very sorry for your pain. I moderate a private group on Facebook for women who are separated/divorced. If you’re interested in being a part of it for extra support, you can email me at Elisabeth@elisabethcorcoran.com. -Elisabeth
All these comments sound all too familiar. Together for 11 years I have 2 sons from a precious marriage and we have 1 daughter together. It all started about 2 months ago in December. We began fighting because he was supposed to be watching the children while I was at work. I had to work to pay the bills because his jobs were never stable. He said he was with his friends and I foolishly believed him. Really he was with this woman who only lives a street over. Anyhow he left in at the end of December and is now living with her. He did try and come back and said all types of horrible things about her. He even said she has hepatitis c. Gross!!! But after only 5 days he went back to her. He is keeping a job and giving her all his money paying all her bills and taking care of her bills. While he can’t do anything for his own kid. He is taking her out and even taking her to special places we went as a family. It’s horrible and it hurts so much and what makes it worse is he blames me and accepts no responsibility!
I’ve been with my husband for 24 years and married for 17. About a year or so ago my sons girlfriends mother (who is also my neighbor) started texting him and had him saved in her phone as His King. When I found out about this he said it was nothing, but I was able to see his text messages to her and he told her he loved her. Well at this revelation I decided to put him out. After a couple days he said he wanted to come home and try therapy. I never felt he was being honest in therapy and he was only saying what I or the therapist wanted to hear. We stopped going to therapy and tried to go back to life as usual. Well a few months later the text and calls started up again and I decided I had no more fight in me and put him out again. The same weekend he was put out his friends let her move in with them. It’s been six weeks and although I put him out, but I still have to see him everyday as he comes to pick her up after work or to wash his clothes and to take her back to the friends house. My son is affected by this because he has children with her daughter. The daughter doesn’t want the kids around them because they feel that they are disgusting. I feel they are extremely disrespectful and embarrassing to me, our children and grand children. I did everything for this man as they say behind a strong man is a strong woman, I feel I was that woman. I know these friends he’s with didn’t want us together for whatever reason, but he only knew them for a few years and known me for 24. I don’t know how he allowed them to manipulate his mind, but after his behavior I have no intentions of reconciliation. I guess I’m writing just to let some steam off, because my emotions are all over the place! This is all crazy to me and one would think I would just pick up and move on, but I can’t. I have prayed to forgive them and forgive me for allowing them to hurt me, but I’m still stuck in reliving their relationship as they drive off happily in front of me and my children to their friends house to live. If anyone reads this please include me in your prayers.
I sit here and read all your stories and I hate that we all have to go through this awful heartache. I was with my husband for 15 years. He came home one day said he hasn’t been happy for 2 years, when I questioned why he had no answers. I just got “I don’t know” He kicked me and our dogs out of our home a day later I found out he had been having an affair with a women from work for a few months. I heard that this is her 6 marriage she has destroyed. I’m trying to understand how men are so heartless to walk out after many years together and feel nothing for the hurt they cause. I tell myself that I’m going to be ok, but I just can’t get him out of my head. I just want him to feel my pain. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I’ve been to counseling, spend time with friends I have even started working out and running. But when it’s all quite and I’m alone I hurt so bad. I just want to heal I know that I am better off without him. I know the whole time we were together he lied, cheated and used me I did everything for this man. I guess love is blind. I hate that I gave him my heart just to rip it out and stomp on it.
I am sitting here close to tears with the all too familiar situations, I love my husband, but we are separated with the divorce papers started. it is hard because we live in a small town and his house is on the way to school, work and my Mom’s. I wish that could walk another way but my children love to see if he is home and I want them to have a relationship with their Dad, but it hurts lots of the time.I know that we cannot get back together, I know that we should no get back together, we still love each other but he is not willing to change and I cannot go through another affair I have much of the hurt that others expressed, but I also have much to be grateful for
I am grateful that we do not fight and can put the children’s best interest first now that the decision for divorce has been made by my husband
I am grateful that his family still cares for me and loves me. I know that this is a blessing that most women do not get, but it helps me remember that we are family and makes it easy for me to help my children to stay connected to both sides of their family
I am grateful for forgiveness,I did not know that I had it in me to be this hurt and violated but not have to bare the burden for hate and bitterness, I still have quite a ways to go but I am on the right path
I am grateful that my ex and I were money smart and that I don’t have a mound of debt to pay off and that I could stay in the place that I was renting so my children could have a bit more stability as they go through the divorce too
I am grateful that my family is respectful and keep the negative talk down, and never in front of the children
I am grateful for my job and education so that I can continue to provide for my children
I started writing this in tears and now I feel a lot better, I wish that I could have fixed our marriage and that he could be happy here with me and the children, but I know it is better to do this now that waiting and drawing it out, if a man dose not want to be with me, I wont make him wishing it wont be so. I tell my ex that I was happy with him and that I will be happy with out him because he was not the source of my happiness. I will continue to have sad days, but I had them before too. Thank you all for sharing your stories they have helped me in my grieving process. I pray for my heart to continue to heal.