My D day was 2 1/2 years ago. I've been divorced almost 2 years. XWH left ASAP and was never remorseful. For those that don't know, one of our DS was diagnosed with a rare cancer the same month as D Day (he's doing well now), and XWH was not there at all for his son....just AWOL. That DS now won't speak to his dad.
Looking back, I can almost pinpoint when XWH "checked out" of the marriage. I remember when the boys graduated HS in 2011...XWH was a real jerk that day, just distant. A lot of other memories from the last 4-5 years of the marriage now make more sense. He tells me he just decided he was done one day, and was just going to "tough it out" in the marriage until one DS was done with college. He didn't tell me, of course. I don't believe he had any other relationship until OW. They work together, and now live together.
So, the marriage wasn't great the last few years of it, for several reasons. OW was in the picture for the last year or so of the marriage. I want to make clear that I DO NOT want XWH back. We are NC. I do not like who he is now. I do not miss the person he is now. But....here's an issue I've been struggling with, and I can't seem to find a solution....
We were together for 30 years, married 25. From age 19-49. We lived in Europe and all over the US. So many memories. I was talking to someone about Florida the other day, where we first moved to in the US. And flashing in my mind was my young WXH....and us so happy. I almost started crying right there. Or I remember when the boys were little, and he was such a GREAT dad. And I want to weep, because he is not that man today. I find myself wondering how much of it was real...and people tell me it WAS real....until he "checked out". I believe it....he was the most honest person I'd ever known.
I HATE getting so emotional at all the old memories....but there are just. So. Many. So many years of good times, happiness. And so many places that are almost spoiled for me now.....like Charleston, SC, where he finally gave me an engagement ring, five years after we married, because we had married in college when we were broke. Or Denver, where we got married. I just see his ghost everywhere when I think of these places. I thought this might get better with time, but it hasn't.
Maybe because I'm still so shocked that he changed so much? And he did. Everyone who knows him noticed how much he has changed....like a whole different person. My son thinks his dad has some brain damage (long story), and he may be right.
I know that go-to plan is to think of him as dead...and in a way, I do. But, he's not. And I will always talk to him about the boys when he wants.
So, my wise SI peeps and friends....how did/do you all deal with the memories? The good ones, from long ago. The pain from remembering those good, loving times, just derails me sometimes. I'm not able to take who he is now....an unrepentant, lying cheat who abandoned his sick son...and paint his/our entire past with that brush. I know some people condemn every memory based on the cheating, I can't seem to do it.
I welcome everyone's perspective on this, and advice on how those of you who did not automatically condemn every memory have handled it. I know some of us might not have had those good memories, or realized that that IS who their spouse was all along. Hope this makes sense. I just want to have those memories without hurting. After all, it was 30 of my 52 years....a lifetime. If I put those memories away in a drawer, then what do I have left of my life? He was in every inch of my life for all those years.
[This message edited by Grace and Flowers at 10:23 PM, May 15th (Thursday)]
"A good man with good intentions has no reason to lie" - somer222
I know it has already been two and a half years so I hate to say time--but of those thirty, probably what, twenty were really good? As you say, a lot of life. It doesn't just disappear and you shouldn't have to give up the memories but can't yet quite deal with the contrast. I know it's hard to deal with that sadness but it doesn't sound abnormal or wrong. I think the timeline makes sense. You are over wanting to be with him now...but the memories are different, because he was different during them. I think as you reclaim some of the places with new memories, it will become easier to remember before, because more water will be under the bridge. And I think you are right to not want to jettison your appreciation of the past. Maybe try, when the triggers come, to tell yourself: This hurts to think about, but I was happy at the time, and I don't need to fight acknowledging that happiness; but I'm also happier now than I would be if he were still with me today. Both acknowledging the validity of your fond feelings and pain over the past while also acknowledging that it is better for you that your ex is not a big part of your present and future. And build up as many of those good new memories as you can.
I think LosferWords was saying recently that the last pieces of healing are the slowest. It's normal. You are on track and it will get easier. Don't blame yourself for struggling with this, and be kind to yourself about this lingering sore spot.
And thanks for the hug, Moo! I think part of my funk is that I haven't been able to dance much! I went out and saw a fantastic swing band last weekend and did a little dancing! Instantly felt 20 years younger! Maybe just more dance therapy will help!
Although living separate for 3 years now in different continents and seeing WH (not yet divorced) maybe 3x per year when he comes to see the children I also have many days when I just feel "stuck" in the past with memories of so many years together, travelling half the world together and it just makes me so sad.
I hardly cry anymore but inwardly I am sad, tthough I have a wonderful new man in my life, live with him and my two kids and feel so much better about most aspects of my life in comparison to my last 3 years of marriage before DDday.
I also don`t want WH back, don`t miss him in my life and yet I remember the years when we were 20 years younger, so optimistic about life and so full of enthusiasm about our future together.
We had so many good years together, were in some ways a very good team and I still cannot believe that he led a double life almost throughout our entire marriage.
For me especially the memories of the cocoon of my lovely in-laws (the best you can imagine) are very painful.
Not because they have excludeded me now, they still consider me their daughter and don`t even acknowledge OW , but because of the geographical distance that is now between us and makes every visit a logistical and financial challenge.
I miss my life within his extended family and would have loved to raise my children in the environment we lived during our marriage, with big family gaterhings, cousin sleepovers etc.
My kids are in touch with their cousins and spend every summer with his family so this is not about them but about me- I miss all that so much.
But my therapist has clearly told me that mourning is OK and doesn`t have to end with the beginning of a another relationship and and I should not suppress these feelings.
Now I deal with these moments like tidal waves , I let them overwhelm me but at the end I am still on board.
I try to see these memories as positive as possible, my life as it was as exciting, full of good and crazy moments - I try to cherish the old times while creating new memories with my new partner and my kids.
Sending you hugs !!
For me what happened ten, twenty years in the future doesn't change what happened then.
I have great memories and while I don't dwell on them, if something prompts a thought of times past, I enjoy it. Kind of like when I look at chubby little baby photos of my teenage children, and wonder where the time went,there is that melancholy realisation that no matter what I do, I can never have that incredible feeling of breast feeding again, or kissing my baby on the top of it's soft head, makes me a little sad but I don't dismiss the memory at all. I kind of mind hug it and be thankful I got to experience it when I did.
I guess I've reached that point where I can look back and I'm completely at peace with myself.
Not to say I like my ex now, he's an idiot
It's just the way it is. I let the memories come up, recede, and get on with creating new ones to cherish by living my life as fully as I can.
I can honestly tell you that I simply don't think about them. When one pops into my head, I "shoo" it away. I don't dwell on the things that went well, because…right now I have a very different life. Kinda like I accepted they happened, but I don't go back and revisit the memories.
My problem with these memories is that they are so disconnected from how things were at the end. The contrast is impossible to resolve, and I try to accept that. There is a lot of good advice above that I really appreciated reading. But here's how I handle them:
I let myself feel and experience the memories. I try to acknowledge them as what is/was. Everything just IS. It's an unstable concept to hold on to, but it seems to be the only thing that works for me. Like you, I can't just throw away everything because of the betrayal.
And I really agree with InnerLight. I make new good memories whenever I can so that the old ones get further and further back in the file cabinet, and not as easy to get to.
During our 25 year marriage, there were many good times. I can look back at them and enjoy them as long as I keep them separate from today. That's what memories are....the past. They are part of your history, the story of your life. Like many books, there are ups and downs, twists and turns that occur within the story line.
I think it's possible to appreciate all the individual chapters (memories) and work towards a happy ending.
It's hard to see the road ahead if you're always looking in the rear view mirror.
I also agree that my focus should be on making new memories, and I do actively try to do that! That's why it's so weird, and sad, when an old memory knocks me sideways. Sigh. It's always something, ain't it?