She wanted to know how she could move on after her 19-year marriage ended when her husband left to be with someone from his past. The marriage hadn’t been a good one for quite a few years but it took her a long time to decide that she’d rather be out of it than deal with all of its dysfunction. What she was having trouble with was moving past the memories.

Here’s what I said:

You’re going through the same thing that every divorced person goes through… it just seems different because it’s your life.

Nineteen years of marriage is a very long time. You have at least a year, maybe several years, before you’ll get your emotional balance back. You have a lot of anger to disperse in the meantime.

It is demeaning to be married to someone who would rather be married to someone else. That’s how you have no doubt felt at times during your marriage… and now it all comes to reality as he returns to her. As they delight in each other’s company, you feel betrayed once again. Yes, it is cause for tremendous anger.

Couples grow apart. Some more than others. Maybe the two of you did share the same goals and dreams in the very beginning, maybe not. If not, you know the marriage shouldn’t have happened. I’m curious, if you knew all along, why you went ahead with something that you suspected would cause you the heartache you’re experiencing now.

You’re going to have to work through this and focus on healing yourself. All of those 19 years of marriage, all of those dreams that no longer exist, for you and for him, are in the past.

Your anger at him and at her do you no good. It does not make you an attractive or interesting individual. It robs your “today” — giving more of your current life to him and her than you might want to give.

It takes time. It takes wanting to move on. It takes forgiving yourself, him, and her.

And it takes believing that for every action there is a reason. Once you get completely past this, you will learn the reason. It may be as simple as meeting a man who has been living his life looking for you.

© Pat Gaudette. All rights reserved.