I never knew about this thread until it was mentioned in the Divorce and Separation thread.
I've been here for almost 2.5 years, and I still struggle with having one foot in the past and one in the present.
We were together 23 years unmarried, with 3 young adult kids, a house and a business. He had an affair with a woman younger than our grown children. I had 2 kids when we met, he had one, which are all grown. We then had 3 together.
I found out about that particular woman on Christmas day, followed by a second separate one on my birthday 6 weeks later.
The same lips that he told me he still loved me with, and wanted to reconcile were the same lips that he kissed her with. I found out about her on my birthday and ended our relationship. He flew to Vegas with her and married her 8 days later. They only knew each other 14 days. I found out by a misplaced phone call from Vegas asking me about my "marriage" ceremony.
I can say I felt I was the closest to death I've ever been, and it was a dark time for me. I wasn't a risk to harm myself, but the pain was so deep I felt as though I could die. To say I was devastated was a gross understatement. I couldn't wrap my head around being so disposable, the abandonment, and the fact it was inconceivable that he could discard me without a care. I doubted my existence, my value, and my life seemed to entirely be a lie. They traveled, and had fun while I held everything else together.
I struggled with this, as well as being left with two young adult children that have profound depression and one with significant medical issues. I had no career having given up work 18 years prior to raise children and help with his business. I was 55 at the time, with no real social security built up, with no job and no ability to work and take care of the mental health needs of our kids simultaneously. We live in a rural area 14 miles from town, and our daughter had an alternative school with no bus. Our son never graduated high school. Their father helped with nothing and was dining, traveling, enjoying life with his new wife. He took zero responsibility, and lived 2 hours away.
I couldn't fall apart, but I barely existed. I was a shell of a human being, going through the motions of life, barely sleeping, constantly haunted by feeling as though I never mattered. I cried thousands of tears, raged inside, and was filled with bitterness toward them.
This was my life for sometime, until the days turned into months, and the months turned into years. I got better at realizing this was not in my control. I survived. I came to a place where I decided I needed to forgive him in order to not dwell in bitterness forever. This happened when we finished our divorce settlement. He then tried to sue me after our settlement for millions of dollars. He lost, but that took a tole on me again. He has been filled with anger toward me, lashes out, and his life is in chaos. He is still with her.
I had rough moments. The mention of her in certain circumstances still brings an emotional trigger for some things. I struggled the most with all the things he did for her that he never did for me, the traveling, and the loss of the "illusion" I had of him. He was exactly what he showed me he was. He's not different for her, he just got better at masking it.
In time out of necessity she and I began to communicate by email. He has payments he is obligated to make to me for another 2.5 years. She was the lesser of two evils, as the divorce settlement and the lawsuit were very contentious. I originally refused to ever communicate with her, but over time it became the path of least resistance.
I've never spoken to her on the phone, but she has described a life with him that is less than pleasant. He does the same things to her that he did to me, with some small exceptions. She's a type A personality, married 5+ times. He's a type A personality, and a narcissist. She is exasperated with his behaviors, but now she's tied to him financially. I can tell it's not a fairy tale come true.
He will never admit he's not happy, and I suspect she will not leave unless it financially benefits her. She is now his CFO in his business, and controls nearly everything.
He calls me to randomly "talk" and half the time he's distant, the other times he drifts to conversations he really didn't need to call about, and I think he's lonely. He has taken several walks down memory lane, talking about his regrets, but is careful how he phrases things. Always finds a way to leave me feeling as though he just told me again that I wasn't enough, I'm defective in some way, but he misses all the opportunities he didn't take with me.
Very odd dynamic, but I don't subscribe to his dialog anymore. I won't have any contact with him when his financial obligations to me end. I'm forced to deal with him until then. He never pays on time, but not late enough that I can take him to court.
He's opted out of his kids life for the most part. I call him a "Hallmark" dad. He sends cards on Christmas and their birthdays, but other than an occasional phone call he's not really present in their lives. His adult biological daughter has completely cut him off and won't speak to him. He stopped having any communication with my daughter that he knew for almost her entire life. Zero, he cut her off as though she never existed.
He has since moved across the US to live with his wife. She had some custody issues with her son, and was forced to return to where he lives to keep joint custody. For the first 2 years of their relationship they lived on opposite ends of the US, and commuted once a month to see each other. Now he's thousands of miles from his kids and still has about 3 years before they can move. He hates it there, he's said as much in phone calls, and that resentment will fester over time.
Life will work out fine. It's all about adjusting your view on it. I'm lonely but happy. I'm not healed but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. SI has been instrumental in bridging the gap. I see myself in other's posts, and see hope in ones further along than I am. I've decided its now "me" time. I can either let this define me or use it as an opportunity to live life my way. I might now have all the money in the world, but I can be as happy as I want, doing what I want, and the chapters in my life are now mine to write. I plan to make them good ones, whether I'm single or eventually with someone I deserve.