Divorce – Guilt, loss and dealing with being on the outside

I am writing this blog because I wish I had read it 5 years ago. It is written to all, but I am writing it as a man and it will probably be male biased for a few reasons, who are finding separation and divorce difficult. The sharing is perhaps carthatic for me, and I do hope one day my children read it to perhaps gain some insight into what it’s like being on the outside of a family I was once in.

The pain I have felt at times has been hard to bear. I mean hard. Sleepless nights of tears pouring down my face, self loathing, guilt, shame, loneliness and one or two occasions driven to despair. I would never consider myself suicidal, because I love myself, my children, my family and friends but I have come about as close to it as I ever want to get. I understand why men (and women) see no other way out. I would say if you are reading this, don’t. Call someone, call me, call the doctor, the Samaritans, call the bloody first girl you dated, the milkman, your best mate, anyone….just CALL! Things do get better but you HAVE to share your pain until it passes.

I am not here to talk about my relationship. Marriages and relationships end and sometimes it’s actually the best course of action. Nobody wishes that, especially with children, so show some love and kindness to your ex. My truth is we reached the end of the line and the trust, friendship and love became bitterness, frustration and a complete lack of communication. I realise now after 5 years of self development and some therapy that I carried around of lot of hurt and unresolved issues relating my childhood. That is not for now,  but I would describe myself as lacking in self love, not knowing who I was, what kind of man and father I wanted to be and unable to control my emotions when I was rejected and this fuelled deep insecurities in me and a degree of co-dependency. I was unable to talk and communicate about my feelings and needs and the marriage spiralled down. My ex wife is a wonderful mother and I am eternally grateful for her sacrifices to nurture two simply wonderful children. Tell your partner this regardless.  All I can say is I’m sorry we didn’t have the tools to survive and I send you love, despite all the challenging times. We did the best we could.

That is done, but if you are in that situation now try the following

  • Therapy, Therapy, Therapy (Together and alone)
  • Talk regularly but ARRANGE to talk. Set an hour aside twice a week
  • Say positive things to each other, remembering what’s good about your partner even if you can’t stand them. That act alone helps respect and kindness
  • Express how you FEEL and what you NEED to change.
  • When your partner says the same HEAR them and acknowledge to them you have HEARD them and agree what you are going to change
  • BE HONEST – If you are carrying issues express them, doubts, fears, pain, unfulfilled desires, all of it. Get it out! 

” What’s better? Uncomfortable Truths or Comfortable Lies” – Mark Groves

What if things don’t improve?

Set some timelines to make the effort to communicate and discuss the what-ifs with regard to separation, the dog, the kids, money, logistics etc. Accept that after a while the relationship may need to end. However hard it is the main consideration is to think of the wellbeing of the children, not what your ego demands. Don’t force them to jump between houses because you don’t want to lose the battle. Decide between you what is best for all of you and try and COMPROMISE. There is clearly nothing wrong with splitting childcare but let’s be frank, some people can’t physically be home at 3pm to collect the kids from school. One of you will need to make sacrifices and that will be reflected in the time you see your kids and financial settlements and that is fair. It also needs to be acknowledged in your mind. However, hurt and aggrieved you feel I am sure your partner feels the same, even for reasons you can’t fathom.

The main thing I wanted to say is this. You become a different person after divorce. The pain of it, the loss of dreams and the concern for your children change you both. I hope and think I am a better person and father in the last 5 years than I ever was. It is a wonderful chance to reinvent yourself and grow. Sure, I have made mistakes and made poor choices, but at the centre of all of it is to not let my children down, I am there when I am meant to be there and to talk and listen to them. Your relationship and the love you can develop even outside a marriage can be just, if not more, a wonderful reflection of the powerful bond between parents and children, that is probably the most meaningful thing in life. You can earn £1,000,000 a year, drive a Porsche and date models, if you mess up being an authentic parent it will burn you eventually.  Being divorced is not a failing, kids don’t judge you, if you are honest, you show up, you say sorry and you action your love to them and yourself.

Regardless of how you ended up here be the most amazing parent you can be for them, but also for yourself. Let love do the talking and build your life around who you can be not what you left behind

Live with integrity, forgiveness and compassion as it’s your values that you live with everyday you go home from work and your values you will take to your grave. Your legacy drives a constant in your behaviour so centre on what you do for others not around your own self. It’s a powerful way to try and live.

Good luck and I am here to help as needed

With love,

Ed

USEFUL LINKS

The Samaritans

Relate Marriage Guidance

Find a UK councellor

 


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