I wrote a blog post called “’Can’t Get Over My Ex Wife,’ Says Divorced Man,” and here is a comment I got from a newly separated man. I want to offer him some divorce advice I think will help him:
My wife keeps telling me how I put her through ten torturous years of marriage, and how me finally moving out was the best day of her life, and how she is so much happier now. She can’t seem to remember a single positive thing about our marriage.
I keep hoping that she’ll take me back, remember many happy moments. She, who got rid of me, needs to justify it by painting me as a no good husband who only made her miserable.
She keeps telling the kids, “We are all going to be happier now”, but I keep thinking that only she is. Three people have to become unhappy for her to gain her happiness.
What you might not realize is that when a man or woman wants a divorce, the day their soon-to-be ex moves out is a day of tremendous relief. It feels like a million pounds was just lifted off of their back, just because they have wanted this for so long. So, when she says it was “the best day of her life,” she is expressing the immense relief she is feeling and nothing more. I promise, it wasn’t the best day of her life.
From what I am reading here, your soon-to-be ex sounds like she is holding a tremendous amount of resentment towards you, which could stem from the fact that she kept it to herself all those years. Did she? Or, did she ever express unhappiness for years, and you didn’t take her seriously? There’s a big difference here. If she kept her immense unhappiness to herself all those years, then shame on her. If she tried to talk to you about it and you didn’t want to listen and/or acknowledge that there were issues that weren’t working for her, you need to take accountability. My guess is that it was somewhere in between, as is the case for most couples, in my opinion.
Your wife says she can’t remember a single positive thing because her amount of resentment is so large and she sounds angry. That will fade and with you out of the house, having space and reflection, she will start to remember good things about your marriage. BUT, she probably won’t communicate that to you. So, just know that there were good things in your marriage. You will just never hear them from her.
Lastly, I want to address, “I keep hoping she’ll take me back.” Please prepare yourself that she might not. You can definitely sit her down and try talking her into a second chance for the marriage, but she might say no. What that means for you is accepting the divorce and moving on. It isn’t easy. It’s gut-wrenchingly sad and awful and devastating, but the reality is, you can’t sit around and wait for her to change her mind. To me, it sounds like she has checked out. I hope I’m wrong.
Remember that as time goes on, memories become more and more clear cut—both the bad ones and the good ones. Whatever ends up happening in your marriage or your divorce, time will help you make more sense of things, which is always a good thing, and maybe what went wrong won’t seem like such an enigma. Best wishes.