Letters to Linda – Marriage is Over but Why do I Feel this Way?

Linda Simpson

Linda Simpson
Divorce and Parenting Consultant
Writer and Speaker

I am currently separated from my husband of 25 yrs.

We have four children together ranging from 28-16. We were married young, after knowing each other for only a couple of months I became pregnant and we married 3 months later.

I realized about 4 yrs into the marriage that things weren’t right and I wasn’t happy. However I then became pregnant with my second child and figured this was the direction my life was supposed to go.

I had dropped out of college to get a full time job, with benefits, when I became pregnant with my first child and since my husband was on scholarship he needed to graduate on time.

I was a stay at home mom which allowed my husband to work and travel as needed. Over the 25 yrs he had several different jobs. Some he left some he was fired from.

Along the way I lost respect for him. He for me as well. He is a very controlling and condescending man. We have not been intimate in years, I feel nothing for him. We had four children together so I stayed. I know this sounds cliche’ but I stayed for my children.

My marriage sucked but I LOVED being a mom.

They are the best thing I’ve ever done. We have been in marriage counseling many times and I have also seen a personal counselor to help me figure out why my husband has no desire for me, why I felt like a child around him, why I allowed him to boss me around, I knew I didn’t like being treated that way but I felt powerless, stuck.

My question is, why is it so hard for me to actually say ‘it’s over’?

I want to move forward and discover what life is like making my own decisions but I’m terrified. What if my children hate me?

I feel emotionally scarred by some of the things my husband has said to me over the years. About 3 months ago I moved out into a little rental near my kids. My husband refused to leave and said I was the one with the problem not him. I feel sick to my stomach when he calls me and just the sound of his voice makes me feel awful.

Why do I feel this way? Why am I having such a hard time telling him how I feel. He’s all I know. I was married at 21. Will it ever go away? I’m so sorry, I feel like I’m rambling on. This is the hardest and most painful moments in my life. I’d appreciate any feedback. Thank you! 

 

Linda Says

Fading away

The acute pain you are feeling right now will fade.

One of the truly unfortunate aspects of separation and divorce is that often we are hardest on ourselves.

Appreciate that you have made many choices in life that show you have considerable emotional strength. Staying in a marriage that was not satisfying to benefit your children was one way you have proven your strength.

The many attempts at counseling show commitment and perseverance.

Right now you need to channel all of those attributes toward your own personal growth. We only feel powerless if we choose to feel that way. Every single day you can and will make choices that benefit you.

A traumatic event like separation and divorce has emotional as well as physical effects.  That nauseous feeling is part of your body’s reaction to the stress.

You left the home and that is the first step on a path forward. There are many unanswered questions right now and some of them can be answered by a divorce solicitor. It is a scary step to make the appointment.

It’s a place we thought we’d never be in life. However, good advice from a solicitor will go a long way to easing some of the worry about the future.

You have indicated there was some form of emotional abuse with put downs and criticisms. Those are only his words and not who you are.

I know personally that when we are in the midst of an abusive relationship, reality is hard to find. We believe what is being said about us because this is our primary partner. What he says must be true. But –it isn’t! Those words have one motive- to hurt you and diminish you.

It is an abuse of his power in the relationship. Love and care do not exist in abusive criticism and put downs. Rejection of any intimacy is yet another example of his negative power and control. It is only when we step away from the abuse that we begin to feel ourselves again. Seek out counseling if you feel it will help. I know it did for me.

For now, limit contact with your husband. Unless it is child related, you can control how much interaction with him takes place. You are living apart and he does not have control over you. Given the age of your children most family issues can be dealt with on a weekly basis. You decide how often there will be contact.

Perhaps for right now, concentrate on your own healing and wait for a later date to explain yourself to your husband when you are less raw emotionally.  Do not let his negative words or pressure affect your choices. Do what feels best for you and do not make any permanent decisions until speaking with a mediator or solicitor.

When you see your children avoid talking about your husband and try to be as positive as possible about the future. Be honest. Separation and divorce are not easy but you will all get through it. It was a decision you had to make. Don’t over share or let your children become go betweens.

Find out how they are doing and how they are feeling. Make any meetings together about them. No matter what, you will love your children and there will always be a place for them in your life. Your love for them is evident. Show them how strong you can be.

Try to restore some order to your life. See your children regularly.  Your children are feeling a great deal of uncertainty right now. What they need is stability and you do too. Regular visits and regular chats on the phone will help them feel that even though their future has changed, you will be a part of it.

Keep a journal as a way of tracking your emotional growth. A journal never gets tired of hearing the same thing over and over again. It is a constant friend in times of stress. Your future will emerge on those pages as each day brings you closer to a future of your choosing.

I know how it feels to end a long marriage with the only person you’ve ever known. I felt very alone and scared. Eventually my new life took shape because the future became one of my choosing just like it will for you.

You have already proven enormous strength and resilience. The acute pain you are feeling right now will fade.

Believe in yourself and see each day as moving closer to the life you want. You can do it!!

If you are in need of a place to seek some advice on a way forward during separation and divorce please write to letterstolinda@thedivorcemagazine.co.uk –  Reaching out is the first step. 

MORE LETTERS TO LINDA 

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ABOUT LINDA SIMPSON

“I take strength from your calm, your honesty, and the hope you give me for my future.” Cheryl 

Linda is a fresh voice in the divorce advice world. She offers a pragmatic, common sense approach to life after divorce issues based on over twenty years surviving and thriving following a very traumatic divorce.

As a single parent, her sons are an enormous source of joy in her life. She is a loving mother and grandmother to four delightful grandchildren.

She holds a degree from the University of Waterloo with concentrations in sociology and philosophy and guidance counselling certification from Queen’s University.

She is an accredited trainer for The Peace Education Foundation, a leader in conflict resolution training. The institute is ‘dedicated to educating children and adults in the dynamics of conflict resolution and promoting peacemaking skills in home, schools, and community.’

In a long and successful teaching career, she also served as a counsellor and workshop facilitator for SEL (social emotional learning) programming and The Peace Education Foundation throughout her school and school district and was a frequent conference presenter for SUNY Potsdam Faculty of Education USA.

She writes for The Divorce Magazine UK and her blog is seen regularly on Huffington Post Canada where the focus is life after divorce and parenting issues.

She is a writer and poet and is presently at work on a book based on her divorce experience.

Photo by meriç tuna on Unsplash

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