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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

The Day the Marriage Died

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Up until now, everything I have posted has been recently written, almost 3 years since the end of my marriage.  I recently went back and visited some of my earlier writings, drafted in the weeks and months after he left.  I’ve decided to share some of that, to expose the raw underbelly of divorce.  Please be aware that this writing has a different tone.  The emotions and language are harsh as they capture my reaction on the day the marriage died.

Choosing: painting by first husband, George Fr...

Wellness is not measured by the amount of broccoli you eat or the number of miles you can run.  It is not found in the number of punches on your yoga membership card or the double digits of your sit-up count.  Wellness is not indicated by the reading of the blood pressure cuff or the size indicated on the label of your jeans.

I used to think I was well; I had all of the above mastered.  My lean, muscled body spoke of the intense workouts it was subjected to along with the strict vegetarian diet that was used to fuel the exercise sessions.  I awoke before dawn to ensure that I could fit a workout into my hectic schedule as a middle school teacher.  I fit long runs in on open evenings or on the weekends.  I watched everything I ate, avoiding meat and keeping a careful eye on the amount of fat consumed.  My favorite way to spend the weekends was working in my extensive garden or going on long hikes in the nearby North Georgia mountains.

I used to think I was well.  But, I wasn’t.  All it took to strip away all of physical manifestations of health was a few short sentences.  A text, sent across the country on a sunny Saturday afternoon, arriving unexpectedly on my phone.

July 11, 2009  12:38 p.m.

I’m sorry to be such a coward leaving you this way.  I am leaving. Please reach out to someone let the dogs out as I am leaving the state.  The code for the garage is 5914.  I’m truly sorry but I can’t do this anymore.   Please give me some time to come to terms with my decision.  I will call you in a few days.  I am sorry that I have failed you.

Lesson One

When two become ones, you are able to see yourself clearly.

Fear gripped.  Legs collapsed.  Brain stuttered.  Lungs heaved. Gut clenched. Body trembled.  World shattered.  Visceral.  Violent.

My father’s arms engulfed me as I lay shaking on the floor, my body and brain rebelling from my new reality.

“What can I do for you?  Do you want me to call mom?” my dad offered, seeking for a way to comfort his only child.

“Yes, please,” I responded, forcing the words out through my locked lungs.

He reluctantly left me in a heap on the hallway floor in my aunt and uncle’s house as he moved to the dining room to make the call to my mother in Texas, whom he had divorced decades earlier.

My brain barely registered his soft, yet strained voice in conversation several feet away from me.  My hands gripped my phone with urgency, willing it to send another message.  Wanting this to be a mistake.  A joke.  Anything but real.  A little anger pushed through the initial shock, enough for me to summon the courage to flip open the phone, using muscle memory trained over years to scroll down twelve names to Mr. T, the nickname he used to put himself in the phone he bought for me years before.

“Hello.  You’ve reached T of MMS.  I cannot come to the phone right now, but please leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.”

I took a deep breath and left a message, almost unintelligible through my tears, my shaking, and my heaving chest.

“T.  I don’t understand.  What is this?  A text message?  Sixteen years and a text message? Please don’t do this.  Not like this.  Call me.  Please.”

I closed the phone, severing the connection.

It sat there silent.  Taunting me.  I opened it again, this time to send a text message.

What about the dogs?  Are the dogs okay?  Call me.

It remained silent, the screen dark.

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208 thoughts on “The Day the Marriage Died

  1. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing this. My husband of 23 years left me 2 weeks ago — via email. We, however, had been having severe problems for the past 4 months. Still, I can’t believe the sheer cowardice, cruelty and tackiness of informing me he was moving out by email. Three kids, two cats, a mortgage, a minivan and perimenopause. I am comforted that you had so many of the same thoughts I did re: suicide (which, let’s face it, might’ve been easier). I hope that I can muster the strength and grace you have and learn to redefine myself. Thank you.

    1. First, let me say that I am so sorry to hear that you are going through this. Yes, to leave that way is showing cowardice and cruelty. I looked at at it with mine that he revealed his true self and that made me glad he was gone. Maybe you can try a similar perspective? Please keep in mind that two weeks in is very early and everything is still so visceral. Stay with it; it does get easier.

    2. I only discovered this piece now, and wish I had seen it two weeks after my ex-husband dropped this bombshell. How much happier are we now?? Thanks to those cowards! What a favour they did us. But, that doesn’t take away from the absolute, undiluted horror and inhumanity. We will forever be scarred by that. I have had to think long and hard about what forgiveness really means and who we should do it for. I hope you have found peace and happiness.

  2. Again, so very thought provoking and heart felt.
    I thought I had immunity to a fatal marriage via a verbal agreement to not file for divorce so long as we were in marriage counselling. That was not the case though. On our regular night of meeting with the counselor she informed me that she had filed earlier that day. It seemed beyond belief.
    Yes, guys are not exempt from being blindsided and we go through much the same as women in many cases. Unfortunately being open about the effects of divorce does not come easy for most men or at least not for me until it came to self-preservation vs. self-destruction.

    1. I am glad that you have learned to talk about divorce. I am finding that any men are more comfortable opening up in the virtual world. I hope that it can help many of them from turning to self-destructive habits. Thank you for sharing:)

  3. OMG!!!!!! I am reading an excerpt of how my life changed 5 years ago. It’s surreal, but very true.

  4. Liars don’t really make sense. They are not logical. And that’s really all I can say or this reply will turn into a book. 😀

  5. Very moving! When I left my wife I couldn’t do so without being totally honest with her, she deserved it. I could never have lived with myself if I’d just communicated my intention by text or a letter. Marriage should start as it began, two people telling each other how they feel, not say what they think the other wants to hear.

    Very personal and moving account, thanks!!!

      1. Great comments from all of you. Thank you for the perspective you’ve given me. It’s been quite a week. 😀

  6. I probably should take comfort in knowing that I am not alone on this path of divorce. For some reason, I am not comforted. I am deeply saddened.

    In November 2011, my wife told me she was having an online affair. I had never felt pain like that and saw the only to end the pain, was to end my life. Obviously, I was rescued in time.

    We started seeing a counsellor but it turns out, I was the only one doing and work on our marriage. The first week of April, she told me that she had an extended business trip coming up. It was extended because she was going stay an extra night to f*ck her NEW online boyfriend. Needless to say, we are done and our marriage is over.

    Your ex sounds a bit like my soon-to-be… Lousy communicators. There is so much we could have done over the past few years to avoid where we are now. But, she couldn’t express herself and I never picked up her subtle hints.

    What makes our case a little unusual is that we have two daughters (9 & 12) and she is the sole breadwinner in the home. While we may be broken as a couple, we are very good parents and want to co-parent our girls. It’s going to be a challenge but we totally owe it to them to try. I am thankful that in Ontario, we have a form of family law called collaborative family law. Both of our lawyers are trained mediators and we both agree (via contract) to not take the other to court. WE decide on spousal/child support, custody of the girls, division of property etc. not some judge. Our lawyers/mediators help us do this. We’ve only barely begun this process but it sounds like a civilized way to do things.

    I am glad I found your blog. I already feel there is much for me to learn here.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. Wow, Steve; my heart aches for you. It is sad that so many of us have similar stories, but there can be comfort in knowing that others understand and have made it through. It is not an easy path, but it is doable and you do not have to take the journey alone.

  7. I relate to many of your feelings – the turn of my events are different, but to this very day he never had the decency to share a conversation, a word or even an e-mail with me to discuss divorce… All I know is that I need to get myself and my teens through this. Sadly many people go through this, but they come out the other side… somehow.

    1. We can certainly come out the other side, stronger and more beautiful. The one who initiated the journey does not get to dictate the path or the destination. We can control our own journeys:)

  8. Wow! I cannot believe there are so many cowardly spouses out there who just email/text their spouses that the marriage is over. I thought I was the only one to have met such a one. I don’t know whether to be happy that others are going through this heart-wrenching sorrow with me, and I can find support and healing through all your stories, or to be sad that there still exist spouses for whom marriage is a joke! Regardless, I am glad I found your blog.

    1. Until I stumbled on Lisa’s posts, I thought I was the only one to be told her marriage was over by text message. Almost 5 years since that message, it is still hard to believe anyone thinks it is an appropriate way to end what could have been a life-long partnership. We have not spoken since that message except to sort out our belongings by email.

  9. I found this blog because you posted a link to it in a comment you made about a NY Times artlcle today. Your circumstances are extremely unfortunate and I wish you luck in healing. I’ve had the unique disadvantage of encountering many men who behave this way. Men have done worse, they’ll continue to do worse. Women too. You seem to have a good support network which is really important. Consider yourself lucky to have not spent another minute with him. Nothing lasts forever. Not love and not pain. You’ll be just fine 🙂 Cheers.

    1. Thank you for your support. It is sad that some people act this way, but luckily, it’s a minority. I’m now three years out from the day the marriage died and there is beauty in life again:)

  10. I came across this blog while doing “research” because I’m in a place where I think I’m almost done with my marriage. That said, I cannot fathom how a man (or woman) could be so cowardly as to leave someone via any method other than face-to-face. Yes, ending a relationship is heartbreaking and painful. But, wow, a text? Even if my closest friend did that to his wife I’d probably punch him in the face. Hard. You just don’t do that.

    Sorry you went through this, but I’m sure you’re coming out of this as a stronger person.

    1. I am sorry to hear that you are at the end of your marriage, but I am glad to hear that you are not planning on doing it via text. Otherwise, your best friend may have to punch you in the face:) Divorce is never easy, but there are certainly choices that can make it a little easier. I wish you the best.

  11. well that letter is almost identical to mine, except mine asked for forgiveness, and pity and he never called himself a coward. ( which he is)
    the realisation that he had planned this out for some time while faking love, hit me so hard that I developed a heart condition.
    As to the letter, mine also promised to look after me financially etc etc.
    Except he used work transfer, as an excuse for his departure, when actually he hadnt even told them we we married, thereby depriving me if any right to pension insurance etc, shld he have died. Not illegal in this country to lie to tax department.
    He led his family to believe he asked me to go with to USA and I refused. thereby cutting me off from the only support I had in a foreign country. I found this out much later.

    We had been together 10 years, and married for two. He left in the middle of my citizenship application thereby intentionally leaving me stateless, unable to apply, work at a fixed job, and ill, with no family, in a foreign country. my family is 10,00 miles away, including my two children of 27 and 30. who he never even said goodbye to. they loved him as much as I had.
    He never left actually, he just pretended to be on a work assigment in USA, to keep me from finding out about his infidelity and diseases he infected me with. Telling me subsequently, in a letter that Im his soulmate and the most wonderful person. Sadly I belived him. he asked for forgiveness, I gave it, from afar with no explanation,

    the debts came to light, I had no money to go home, and now he has filed for divorce using his ex sister in law to drag me through the courts again with no money and no recourse to legal aid. The lies and filth he presented on the divorce document were his last and final proof of his inhumanity.
    I will fight back, I have discovered a double life too hard to believe, I had email conversations to try to get closure from him, I never got it.
    the last mail, He told me he hated me, the reason?? because i had discoverd who he truely was. A psychopath will never let you go after that.
    i can relate to every word you said, in your post, but as I have discovered, there is always someone worse off than you. you had your parents, your civil rights, a house and a job, I had none of those.

    I will face him in court this year, with the truth on my side. I dont carry his shame anymore, its all his.
    The law will never protect you thats what ive discovered. Your friends and family will search for reasons and signs, but you know there are none. They discard you like a piece if used toilet paper, and they dont lose a wink of sleep.
    thankyou for sharing this I too am writing my journey. xx A

    1. Sometimes I think there’s some horrific template out there where these kind of spouses get the framework for their correspondence – the words are often so similar. There is one way we were both lucky. We escaped with our lives. My heart goes out to you as you face the showdown in court. I found that the courts were not equipped to deal with the dishonesty, manipulation, and lack of cooperation by my husband, but many of the people who work in the “system” immediately saw through him and his lies. That validation was priceless.

      I am so glad to hear that you are writing your story. Give yourself a happy ending:)

      1. During my divorce months in 2009, I was stunned to hear my STBX use the exact same words and phrases that my wife before her had used many years before.

        Stunned. I thought, “Is there some sort of playbook that they both are reading from?” They had never met, never talked with each other, they were raised in different parts of the world, etc.

        However, they were both badly abused while growing up. (Yes, I know; I have learned.) So, I hear what y’all are saying.

        It is amazing. I had not realized the commonality that we have.

  12. thanks for the encouragement. I havent read the part in divorce court with the showdown with the law, have you posted that. cos id like to read it. A xx

  13. I would like to extend my sympathy for the pain you have suffered, and thank you for sharing. I read your Blog and the subsequent comments thoroughly, paying particular attention to the emotion and feeling of the words. I found your Blog via the Huffington Post after reading another divorce related article. Lately I find myself reading all I can on the subject of divorce because like your ex-husband, I have been unhappy for many years now and desperately want a new start. I know exactly how he was feeling. The disappointment with his life trajectory; the feeling of stagnation; the inability to articulate the complex needs, emotions and feelings he required to make married life tolerable or even happy and the desperate need for autonomy. Freedom=Not having to explain yourself or every move you make, (ie. where are you going?, why did you do that?, and this is what you should do…). I have had the divorce talk several times during our 25 year marriage and she is well aware that I am not happy. Her refusal to acknowlege my feelings and to heed what I have told her only strengthens my resolve. During the course of family life the dutiful husband becomes more of a fixture in the family structure rather than a human being with emotions, needs and weaknesses. Somehow, talk of divorce gets smoothed over or becomes less of a priority in favor of one event or crisis after the next, especially where our children are involved. So, while I cannot speak for your ex, these feelings become repressed and buried for the sake of continuity. You see..Like your husband, I was planning a well written email or letter and I had not completely ruled out a text message. Yes I am a coward, but I also want to avoid the fighting, screaming, begging, and her demeaning herself that would surely ensue. I know this from prior attempts to be courageous. I don’t like to see her that way and I have always been a sucker for tears, to say nothing of what the children would witness due to her unpredictable behavior. I haven’t spoke to her lately about my “selfish”, desire for freedom, hopefully her attitude toward me has changed and she will forego any counter-productive theatrics and talk to me in a civilized manner, which may be more than I deserve, but does not change the fact that either way this marriage will end. This is not something I am proud of nor take pleasure in, It will be the most difficult thing I have ever done.
    Why am I telling you this ? Well, like you writing is sort of a therapy for me. I cannot talk to my children, my wife is aware, but oblivious and I don’t have friends that I trust enough to divulge such personal information. So, writing on your blog seemeed the logical choice and while you did not mention children, (pets do not count), I thought you or your adoring fans could offer some objective insight or advice.
    Please, I think your first reaction will be to lambast me for my cowardice, but remember every relationship is unique, there is no standard by which they can be measured. I cannot detail every nuance of our 25 year marriage except to say neither of us is innocent. I hope this post is well received, looking forward to any comments suggestions or words of advice, encouragement and even negativity.
    Thank You for reading


    Not sure if this matters, but I am a Black Man Married to A White Woman and I love her regardless of our status

    1. I am not going to lambast you, but I’m not going to be easy on you, either. First, I applaud you for thinking through this and seeking opinions before you act. That takes courage. What I see in your response is a lack of responsibility. You discuss feeling disappointed and stuck. You allow yourself to feel that way. That has nothing to do with the marriage. It is not selfish (a word you use frequently) to seek happiness, but it is selfish to act in without regard for those around you. I am not making a judgment about the quality of the marriage or if you should stay or go, but I am going to address HOW you choose to go, if you do.

      By delivering the news in a text message, you are avoiding discomfort you anticipate for yourself while not allowing your wife a chance to listen or be heard. That is not fair. However you leave your wife, is the way you leave your children too. Do you want them to feel like they were only worth a letter or a text? Additionally, you are sending the message to your children that it is acceptable to act in a way that hurts others for your own benefit. You say your wife is aware and unreasonable. If you are afraid or uncomfortable with her potential reactions, then deliver the news with a counselor or pastor present. But give her, your children, and the marriage the respect of your presence.

      Freedom and happiness are found within yourself. They do not come as part of a package with a divorce decree. I hope that you can find them and can do so in a way that doesn’t leave a path of destruction behind you.

      (FYI – I am not sure what you have read about my situation, but my husband told me how much he loved me up until hours before the text, stole untold thousands of dollars, lied and manipulated the court system, had (an) affair(s), had problems with alcohol, committed felony bigamy, and attempted suicide. Is this really a man you want to compare yourself to?)

    2. I was the recipient of an “I’m moving out” email four months ago from my husband of 23 years, father of our three kids. By all means, if you never want a relationship with your kids, send an email. My kids were taken almost completely by surprise at their father’s leaving; they were pissed that he sent an email and left without saying good-bye. No matter how you try to explain (or justify) it later, your kids will remember how you left. The only time an email/text/letter is appropriate is if you are in physical danger, which I assume you aren’t since you’re leaving the kids with your wife? Doing the hard thing now in person may make maintaining your relationship with your kids more likely. And please google how to tell your kids you’re leaving, so you can explain the choice in a way they can understand.

      1. Thank you for sharing how your kids responded. I’m in complete agreement with you. The only time an email/text/letter is the appropriate way to end a marriage is if there is abuse and physical danger.

    3. Bro why are you concerned about this writers opinion of you? You already have one woman you seemingly have to “explain yourself too” on a regular basis…why are you trying to “gain the approval” of another woman you don’t even know?

      Secondly, don’t leave her via anything but face to face convo. She sounds like a borderline personality disorder narcissist (constantly needing you to explain yourself…a constant requirement of this with a superiority complex) so she might use a few “womanly” tactics when she realizes you are serious about leaving and that her grip on you is loosening. She may call the police and make up a lie about abuse (call the police before the talk and explain the situation to circumvent this strategy) or she may talk down about you to your children (you can’t do much about this but they will eventually see her for what she is as they mature and grow into adulthood). These are just s few of the tastes of what you may experience.

      Either way you must have your ducks in a row before you leave because she will be a few steps ahead of you each time (borderline personalities are strong in this).

      Thirdly, do what makes you happy and respect yourself. Stop trying to always win approval from women because it’s like trying to reach for the stars without a rocket. Also the more you respect yourself and stop being the victim, the more females will respect you.

      Trust me, this will always haunt you and you will be plagued with feelings of cowardice for the rest of your life if you don’t confront her and leave this situation with integrity. If you love yourself then do this for yourself.

      PS. Also, don’t buy into this anti-fatherhood bs that if you leave your wife then you are leaving your children too. This is not correct since the courts might give YOU custody of the kids and you are equally as important and valuable as a parent as she is…even if she is the mother and you are JUST the “dad”…lol.

  14. I was quite simply raging for you after I read this. How dare he opt out! He obviously planned leaving and had been thinking about it for some time, so why not discuss it with you? Because he was a selfish, a coward and many other things that would be inappropriate to list. He may have had a million reasons for leaving but there is no excuse for how he did it.
    You are obviously a very strong and courageous woman to have been able to move on with your life. I wish you continued healing and happiness.

    1. Thanks for the support:) It was a cowardly way of ending it, but it also had its benefits. It was a clean cut, a sudden amputation with no anesthesia. I fell out of love in first sight of the text, rather than having months or years of living in the gray area. As far as moving on, he took 16 years from me, I’ll be damned if I give him more!

  15. Wow! You certainly know how it feels to be blindsided the way I was! Amazing how much a person can surprise us in the worst ways!! sorry you went through this, but happy to know you made it out the other side stronger and happier 🙂

      1. I just read that one and shared it to my fb wall…eerie. So true. I am lucky to now know so much happiness that I can be grateful for my personal tsunami though 🙂

        1. It is not as common as a “typical” divorce and it is very misunderstood. I’m so glad that you have found beauty through your tsunami:) I have too and I am trying to help others find their way.

  16. Thank you so much for sharing your story. My coward, I meant to say, HUSBAND of 18 years didn’t even bother to leave a note. He just packed a few things on the sly and left home as he would normally do on a work day. Then he immediately moved in with his girlfriend and THEIR CHILDREN. He was in my bed that morning and in hers that night. No explanations, no apologies. As a matter of fact, he just totally forgot that he had a wife or a family with me. Your story has only served to solidify my resolve to live and live WELL. Seeing past the pain gets a little easier every day because of people like you. Your honesty and blunt recanting of your initial emotions and question after that text message spoke to me and reminded me that I’m not the only woman in the world who is going through or has gone this and SURVIVED. Today, you’re my hero!

    1. I’m glad my story can help you. One of the reasons I chose to share my tale is that I couldn’t find anyone writing “from the other side” of a tsunami divorce. I want people to feel that others share their pain and that there is life beyond the trauma.

  17. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your story is very sad but I am soooo glad you were brave enough to share it. Maybe you don’t fully realize it but your are helping a lot of people. Men can get burned just as badly but the lack of shoulders to cry on is depressing. I am currently married with 2 beautiful daughters (14&12). Two years ago I discovered that my wife had been having a 6 month affair with an ex-boyfriend she dated from high school. We’ve been together for 15 years, married for 9. At the time of the affair our marriage was great (her words as well as mine). But the shock you described when your husband sent the text was the same shock I felt when I was going through our cellular bill and discovered the infidelity. I was numb, out of breathe and trembling. To make matters worse I was out of town on a work assignment so the initial conversation with my wife occurred over the phone. For the last 2 years we’ve been living in a pure hell. The loss of trust, shame, embarassment and guilt has consumed us. I love this woman very much but am slowly discovering that I have fallen out of love with her. I have also discovered that she is a very poor communicator so talking is non-existent. We talked all the time before the affair but not so much now. The hardest part of this journey for me has been the constant thoughts of “what did I do wrong” or “what didn’t I do right”. She swears to me that I did nothing wrong. That I was doing “my job” (her words). She says that it is her fault, that she made the worst mistake of her life. She wants it to all just go away but I am left picking up the pieces of my heart and our marriage all alone. I’ve read every book, article, and even been to counseling but the pain will not go away. I had never thought I would get a divorce because of my Christian beliefs but our marriage is like a slow death. I have been more than willing to reconcile but her idea of that is to not discuss anything. Divorce sucks for everyone (especially the children) but for men with children it is a nightmare. Maybe I would feel worse if I were responsible for the damage done to my marriage (I doubt it) but to walk away at all feels like too much to bear.

    1. I am so sorry to hear of your situation. That sounds heartbreaking with no “good” solution. I wish you the best as you navigate your path. And, you are so right, men can definitely be the ones burned. I am encouraged by the number of men sharing their stories online. It helps us all.

      It’s funny – I no longer think of my story as sad. It was the worst pain I have ever felt and I still mourn the loss of the man I loved, but I have gained perspective now (3 years on) that has allowed me to celebrate the gifts embedded within the trauma.

  18. “He had become fully enmeshed in my existence; teasing the strings of him out of me would take time and a patient hand. I needed to find where he ends and I begin.” That sounds exactly like me right now.

    1. Sorry to hear you’re in that place. I have been successful in teasing him out of my existence. I know it seems impossible, but you can get to a point where the strings of him will leave only a vague imprint on your heart. It’s scary, but also strangely exciting.

      1. I know I will get there. Even after a month and a half though I’m still at the “Where are you? and, Why aren’t you responding to my texts?” phase. I know I will soon have to cut the cord in order to move on. But it’s so hard to accept, as you know. I want to take what he did and smash it into his face, to destroy him still. But it doesn’t seem to matter to him. None of this ever mattered. I have yet to come to terms with that. I’m still a bleeding mess.

        1. It sounds to me like you are exactly where you should be. It’s natural to scream at the lack of response and to want to punish him. Hell, I didn’t let go of the latter for about two years. The most important thing to realize is that you will get there. Your reality right now will not be your reality forever.


          1. Thanks for the kind words. I feel like one of those guys in a fire suit, you know the magicians or stuntmen who set themselves on fire on TV and walk around? That’s how consuming my rage is. I thought I’d have some clarity after a couple months but truthfully I have none. I just know that’s I’m very, very angry. I suspect I’ll never get over it. And I’ll keep putting off a reunion, month after month, till eventually I’ll realize I’ve already let go. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get back on a plane to see him again. I’m consumed with hatred.

            1. What a great analogy. Do you have an outlet for your rage? I found that it helped for me to physically exhaust myself (mainly through running). It seemed to dampen the flames a bit so that I could breathe.

              1. I’ve been working out too. Joined a gym. I’ve had a hard time eating so it’s been tough to work out more than three times a week. I’ve managed four on a couple occasions. But I also find I feel anxious during the class and have to step out to catch my breath. I used to workout to be attractive to my husband. Now …?

                  1. Yes. You are right. I’ve lived too long — eight years — trying to convince someone else to love me. It will be a huge crazy change to start living for myself.

  19. I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story. Even the replies are comforting to me during this horrific time I am going through right now. I’m not alone!! Just knowing that other people have experienced a similar heartbreak like me and have come out the other side healthier, stronger and happier gives me hope. Thank you thank you thank you!

    1. I am so sorry to hear of your situation. I am glad to hear that you find comfort in knowing that you are not alone. There are many others that are further along on this journey that can offer support and understanding. Hugs:)

  20. Hi. I just came across your blog because you liked one of my posts recently. Reading how your husband left you left me speechless. I was never married, but the man I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with left me with a simple “You don’t belong here. You need to go back to Chicago.” I never got a real explanation. Instead he ignored me whenever I tried to get answers. I can’t understand why someone can be so cruel. Ending a relationship in such a cold manner. Text message, email, an unexplained reason…they’re all the same. They all hurt in the same way.

  21. It has been six years since my divorce after 20 years of marriage. The similarities in our stories are sooooo similar. It was such a revelation to read your experiences. One difference which makes moving forward and away from my marriage is the fact that our two daughters (now 24 and 16) and two grandchildren make it necessary to be in contact and I must hear about his new life with a new wife, new baby and wonderful vacations. I look forward to reading more of your blogs.

  22. A warning to any men reading this blog (which is very good by the way) beware of the restraining order. My ex wanted to get a leg up in the upcoming separation and divorce and obtained a restraining order on bogus medical grounds. I learnt to late Judges are very very quick to sign them against men without any evidence. I had to leave the home in 15 minutes and take what I could carry, leaving my then 11 year old Daughter behind. After six long years I’m firmly on my feet and my Daughter, after sorting this all out for herself (as kids are wont to do) consented legally to live with me and now at 17 without any influence from me (honestly) refuses to have anything to do with her Mother. My Daughter is heading into her senior year and we are having a great time choosing colleges.
    I am obliged to keep in touch with her Mother until she’s 18. But she is a shell of her former rampaging self and is a broken woman over her Daughter’s decision. I am not one to gloat, life is way to short for that nonsense , but she fell on her own sword.
    I’m reminded of a familiar Chinese proverb – “those who laugh last, laugh the longest.”

  23. My now ex-husband left me in a very similar manner. We’d known each other for 16 years, been married for almost 4 and I was two weeks from delivering our first child together – his fifth, my second. He went to work normally that morning and, at 4 or 5PM, I got a phone call from him, “I’m not coming home.” Assuming he meant he was working late or had to go somewhere for work, I asked when he would be home… and I got the answer that will forever be engraved in my soul, “No. I mean I’m not ever coming home. I’m done. I don’t want to be a husband or a father anymore. I’ll be by to pick up some stuff later this week.” In just those few words, he destroyed my entire life. I learned later that he’d been dating this woman who worked in a store next to his office – all the late nights in the office, the missed kids’ events, the working on weekends – all lies to cover his affair, which started in my 3rd trimester of pregnancy… because I’d become “boring” – I didn’t go out and party and go dancing and go to bars. Never mind that I worked a full time job forty-four hours a week, was heavily pregnant, and spent what little “free time” I had caring for my son and the two of his children who we had primary custody of – children who were literally dumped on their mother in just as short a phone call: “Don’t send the kids back. Keep them.” (This was two days after Christmas and the kids were visiting their mother half a country away). I lost my husband, my best friend, the father of my unborn child, and my stepchildren in one day. My stepchildren and son were devastated – they lost their siblings, half their parents, their friends, and all their belongings – two days after Christmas. He never even explained anything to them, didn’t want to speak to them. He left my son, age ten at the time, a voicemail message telling him to be good. A less than acceptable goodbye from a man who coached his extracurricular sports and was “dad” for five years. My son still harbors a great deal of hate for his former stepfather all these years later.
    I was devastated, but went on – first, it was just going through the motions, in shock, then I went into labor and called him – he took me to the hospital, stayed for one night, for the birth… and then he left. He left again and left me alone in the hospital, with our newborn and my older son, with false promises he’d be back soon to take us all home. He never came back. It was just enough to tear open all the wounds fresh.
    It’s ten years later and he has abandoned all five of his children – some of them repeatedly. Three of the five are adults – mine and his second youngest don’t even know him. His new wife made it clear many years ago – it was her or his kids. It was never even a contest, he simply shucked his children as he did his marriage and his whole life, without so much as a look back or a care. From time to time, I hear stories from his family of domestic violence between them and drama and, while at first, it was a source of bitter amusement to me, I no longer care. They deserve each other (yes, she knew he had a 9 months pregnant wife at home and children when she started the affair with him).
    I made the decision to not just survive the tsunami he created, but to thrive and so I have. I’d almost like to thank his now wife for freeing me from a life that, while satisfying and acceptable, certainly pales in comparison to the fully and delicious life I live now. I doubt I could ever bring myself to thank him, as I still have to deal with the fall out from a now ten year old son who has already asked me why his “real dad” abandoned him and his older siblings and why his “other” brothers and sister live so far away and why he can’t see them more – how to explain such a tender subject to an innocent child without maligning half of his genetic code is quite the challenge, but my partner (my son’s REAL dad as opposed to the genetic donor) and I are definitely up to the challenge, which we take day by day by day… and I must say, WE have raised a fantastic son together for the past six years.

    1. What a story. I am so sorry to hear about the impact on the kids but I am also thrilled to hear that you are thriving and, in that, teaching the kids the power of perseverance and hope.

      I like that you wrote about how “perfect” his public personae was. I think that is one of the parts that’s the hardest to come to terms with (and also makes the one left behind subject to questioning about what we did to trigger the tsunami).

      Best to you:)

    2. My own father left a marriage of 25 years to marry his girlfriend of about 10 years. The great thing about it (and I do not mean this in a good way) she was a family “friend”. Her kids were the same as my sister and I. Our families had grown up together. I wish it had been a stranger. Somehow that is more palatable than the betrayal he left behind for us to muddle through wondering how we didn’t see it. I knew something was really wrong at home, just couldn’t put my finger on it for a few more years. Until I got “it” at the age of 20 and my sister at 18. I had this theory he waited until my sister was 18 so he wouldn’t have to pay child support. It is exactly the type of thing he would do.

      It is hard to explain to kids where their Dad is. Mine was absent most of the time. I once answered the phone, and it was his mother asking for him. I said, he is not home, I know he’s not out of the country. I said, Philadelphia, maybe. I had no idea where my own father was. That’s not just a sad commentary on his character, it is wrong for your children to not know where their father is. I specifically use the word “father” because he sure wasn’t a Dad.

      I really commend you for not letting it get to you, and in fact, turning it around. I hope I can do that. No more men like my father. I want a partner to walk through life with; with the good, the bad, the ugly, and the uglier.

      1. I have only been married 4 years and filed for divorce one week after our fourth anniversary. I am hesitantly hopeful about the future as I am no longer in my 20’s……it’s different when you it your 40’s somehow.

        1. You are not alone. Many are facing that same reality in their 40s. You may not have frivolity of youth on your side, but you carry the wisdom and experience of 40+ years. Something tells me that’s worth more than wrinkle-free skin.

          Best to you:)

  24. Three years ago, you were exactly where I am today. My marriage has been dying a slow, bleeding out type death for about 2 years. I have known it, but somehow, it surprised when I awoke one morning after the “deal breaker” fight; the one where he threatens me physically. What was the point? He had already nearly driven me into the ground with his comments and lack of affection. I was in a very abusive, very toxic marriage. My heart did not want to hear what my eyes and brain already saw, and that was the ship sinking. Even rats have the sense to flee a sinking ship, but I was having a huge mind-heart disconnect. For 2 years. That, I think falls into the realm of self-torture or magical thinking. I truly believed him when he said he would change. I have never thought of myself as naive, but I guess when you love someone, all of Newton’s and Einstein’s Theories are thrown out the window.

    I am a little nervous but excited about moving. Unfortunately, we are still living under one roof, and the reality has hit with gale force winds. I am thinking no dating, no “friends with benefits,” no men, just me and my cat licking our collective wounds. If he would just keep his mouth shut today, I would never ask for another thing again. Ever.

    I am never doing this again. Breaking up sucks bad enough, but throw legalese into the mix, and it becomes warfare. You just sit there and wonder. You don’t even know what you are wondering. Maybe, wondering how it got to the point where it is hard to be civil to someone you once shared your life with.

  25. I don’t know what hurts more, the sudden death of a marriage, or watching its gradual decay and being unable to revive it. In my case, it was being chipped away, one blown-off anniversary, one disappointment, one flimsy excuse at a time. I finally reached a point where I expected nothing from him because it hurt far less than to expect something…anything…and get nothing. Little by little I built up a wall of self-preservation and when he realized he was on the wrong side of it, suddenly our marriage became a priority. It had become inconvenient to him, so it suddenly became very important. But by then it was too little too late. I was numb. My parents urged me to forgive him and save my marriage, but I had nothing left to give. I looked within the depths of my heart for any shred of something that I could hold onto, but there was simply nothing there. I’m never one to say hurtful things to anyone, but I was forced to admit to him that I was happier when he wasn’t around. He claims he never saw it coming, but I had tried to talk to him about our marriage many times over the years. Every time his response was, “I think things are fine,” and that was the end of the conversation. Eventually, I just stopped trying. It took me a very long time to work up the nerve to seek divorce, but it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve found myself again. I’m happier than I’ve been in a very long time, and people have noticed. Before my divorce, a friend of mine told me I was in danger of losing my spirit. But now, I’ve been told I look ‘lighter,’ like a huge load has been lifted off my shoulders. Divorce is never easy, no matter what ultimately leads to it, but it’s comforting to know we’re not alone, isn’t it? Even though our situations are very different, I felt your anguish. Thank you for sharing your story.

  26. Wow I just can’t imagine..a text. I’ve been married for 18 years, well 18 years next month and we have been together for 20. We were both young me being 24 and she 21 when we married. Times really does go so fast I guess when you get into that life with work, kids and those things. Perhaps if I had listened to my heart all those years ago we could have worked on things sooner but how do you survive when things go bad early on in the marriage and a dozen years later or more you still have not resolved them? How to you last that long with unresolved issues.

    Our issues are lack of emotional support, anger, lack of communication and feelings of sadness. There’s no fighting or drama like that but then again I guess those things might have been not so bad and an indicator of some type of passion.

    Here I am not 42 with four kids ages 11-15 and getting a divorce from the person I love. I love her but I have been so sad for so long from the lack of feeling loved. We both now this is the right path to take but it sure has hell doesn’t make it any better. What will happen when I move out and how will I handle not going to bed in the same house as my wife and kids? I don’t know but I feel like my world has ended. The pain I feel now is unlike anything I have ever felt before and I wonder if I will one day see some hint of happiness.

    Thank you for sharing my blog and sorry for this long comment.

  27. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I relate to this post. I am glad that you are sharing these experiences of what it feels like when divorce strikes and how each person deals with it. Keep it up and thanks for liking and following my blog as well! We’ll get through this 🙂

  28. I am so glad I have found this blog. I am 29 years old and have been seperated for 3.5 months now from my highschool sweetheart. We were together 12 years, married 3 of those. This is without a doubt the most painful experience I have had so far…it feels neverending. The situation is so very similar to what happened to me…and reading other comments it’s unfortunately seems to be familiar to so many. Thank you so much for writing about this…it can be such an isolating experience and it does help ease the pain a bit knowing that others have been in the same position and it does give hope that someone can find happiness after such pain.

  29. I discovered your blog just yesterday after you discovered mine. The term ‘tsunami divorce’ applies to me too. I couldn’t read all your story – it’s still too painful for me, I’m only just starting to write again about my experiences, 14 months after my ex husband first walked out. But it’s always affirming to meet someone who’s gone through something similar. So thank you for sharing.

  30. I have never felt more validated! I knew I was not the only one in my situation but it sure did feel like it! Since this is where you place your beginning so will I.
    My ex husband and I were high school sweethearts. We started dating our senior year after a friendship of about 6 months. He was my first boyfriend, I was deeply smitten with him but I was terrified of screwing things up so we took things very slow. We gradually became more intimate and I knew we were in love. From that point on it was magic. We were, like you, inseparable.
    We were together 3 years when we decided that we wanted to get married. Unfortunately (at that time) we were surprised with a pregnancy, and we ended up marrying 1 year before our planned time.Needless to say we were happy. Even with the pregnancy to me our relationship blossomed. I had never felt more connected to him.
    We welcomed our daughter and began family life. Even still, I still felt like we were in the honeymoon phase. On our 1 year wedding anniversary he proposed to me again and got me (in his words) a proper engagement experience. We planned to have a ceremony when our daughter was old enough to walk in the procession.
    Obviously NO MARRIAGE is perfect. But at that point we hadnt had any HUGE problems, until my husband lost his job. He began playing computer games alot more and taking refuge in his PC (he was always a gamer) I equated this with possible depression OVEE losing his status as provider. I questioned him to ensure that WE were fine and on multiple occasions he assured me he was happy with US. About six months later we became pregnant again. And we were surprised but welcomed the new addition.
    Things to me were great, stressful as is life, but happy. Soon my husband found a better job, and about 4 months into our second pregnancy he left for training.
    We were in constant contact and we talked about our plans together and our love. As well as his excitement to come back to his girls. But suddenly in February of this year (while on training) he stopped calling and texting the way he did. And I equated it to stress or workload. Until one day he emailed me that we were no longer compatible and that he no longer loved me. I was in utter shock. There I was pregnant and content awaiting my husbands return.
    For me time stood still, I could hear my own heart beat, I could feel the pain encroaching my body. I had to call for my parents to help me with the children. I was gripped with fear and pain for I too couldn’t envision a life without him. Who would i share my stories with, who would laugh at my not so funny jokes. Who would love me the way only he could? That day a piece of me died.
    My parents tried to comfort me, perhaps I was wrong? Perhaps I had misinterpreted something? And soon my ex called to placate my concerns. Because everyone was blowing up his phone.
    He apologized and said he was stressed and had had a bad day. Although shaken i tried to move one. But things got worse. Finally in may he ended it. He emailed me yet again and said he was sorry but he doesnt love me and never has. That he was unhappy for months and. That our entire relationship he had misconstrued “friendship” for ” love”. He explained that our bond was never bbased on love and that he was ending it before we formed a life together where he would feel unhappy. He said he didn’t want to work on the marriage because he was POSITIVE that we would NEVER work out. He was only capable of loving me like a friend.
    I couldn’t believe it. I spiraled into a crushing depression. For weeks my sister in law had to come and care for our 1 year old. I couldnt eat, sleep or function.
    Something told me to research the only for thing I had no access to. Which was the phone bill. See we were on a family plan with his brother and his wife. So I NEVER viewed the bill, I would pay his brother our portion of the bill. His brother gave me the password to the account and I found a number he called more than any other. It belonged to a female coworker.
    I questioned him and he became infuriated. He said they met on his job training and that she is married and only a FRIEND. AGAINST my intuition I believed him and contiued to beg him to work with me. I reasoned that we could regain spark. But nevertheless he filed for the divorce in November and it was finalize the first week in December.
    This year has been agonizing! And I couldn’t understand why! How! How could he! I questioned my worth as a wife, a lover. What was wrong with me! I have been aching with pain from this sudden unwanted divorce.
    Until this past week. He returned home, and with his new girlfriend. And yes, it was the woman from the phone records. She was there next to him, guiltily shifting her focus off of my judging gaze. He wanted to see the girls and with HER.
    FOR the first time in months i could breathe, for the first time i felt something other than pain. And it was anger mixed with freedom. For the first time i realized i wasnt the sole cause of this divorce. I was not blameless nor perfect, but i did my damned best to love him. He had a responsibility to communicate with me. Instead HE WALKED AWAY from our marriage. For the first time i felt free. And it has given me the strength to begin moving on. Is it easy? No. Does it still hurt? You betcha! But for once i feel strong and capable. And you know what? I WILL BE JUST FINE

    1. Thank you for sharing. I am so glad that you can feel that you are not alone – that is my intention in sharing my story. I, too, found that anger helped with moving forward. It is a fuel for sure. Reading your words, I have no doubt that you will be more than okay. You got this! 🙂

  31. WOW. . My husband left in the middle of the night on November15th 2011. Moved in with his parents. We were married 18 years. We have two children 13 and 17 at the time. Reading your story goes beyond familiar. Who the hell are these weak narcissistic men that we choose to have in our lives?? I don’t recall him starting out that way??
    I never got an apology or acknowledgement that he was a coward. He asked for a divorce and I gave him one. He was and is a non communicator passive aggressive and the ending of my marriage to him almost killed me. In the past two years I have lost my money, my marriage, most of my friends, some of my family, my career, my business, my house and part of myself…. but I am still here. I am still here.
    Thank you so much for writing this. Now I need to get your book. I don’t feel so alone anymore.

  32. I found out my decade+ marriage was over via phone call when I was out of town visiting my family on the first anniversary of my mum’s death. I can’t tell you how much your story resonated with me. I look forward to reading about your journey as I continue my own.

      1. A little over five years ago. Thought I was over it all, but evidently there are still moments when it rankles. One of the reasons I decided to blog about it all. Must root out the bitterness before it has a chance to grow further.
        The community of people who have had similar experiences is a great help in gaining some insight and perspective. Thank you for sharing yours.

        1. I hope that you find writing as healing as I have. Writing was key to my healing, both from a personal “therapy” standpoint and in making some good come from the pain through sharing my experiences (which was something I needed to let go of the anger and unfairness of the whole thing). When you’re ready for a challenge, check out my Radical Gratitude post. It is a very difficult exercise but can help you reframe your past.

  33. Thank you so much for your post. I recently received a phone call from my partner of 5 years ending our relationship. No explanations, no background issues, no anything, in three sentences he informed me of my new status. This came two months after my mother’s death and while he was in a foreign country.

    He had just been with me two weeks prior to the incident and acted like everything was perfectly fine, we had been trying to get pregnant for a few months and nearly bought a condo together. Later on I learned that he had started a relationship that same week with a much younger woman, almost half his age (he is 40). I find it tremendously insulting that men can treat women as objects that can be discarded when we are no longer “wanted”.

    The feelings that you describe in your earlier posts are exactly the ones I am feeling today. His lack of honesty but specially the way he left, rendered me unable to sleep, gave me nightmares and panic attacks. I feel so disoriented I no longer know what is true from what is a lie.

    I’m just beginning in this path to recovery. It’s so great to have found companionship and solidarity through this blog.

    1. I am so sorry. The pain of betrayal is so deep and piercing and the discovery of the lies makes everything feel so uncertain. There is nothing I can say that will lessen the pain but please know you are not alone.

  34. Wow. I related to so much here! I love the term: “tsunami divorce”. I must read your book. I must find out what happened. My husband of almost 20 years walked out. Two weeks prior to him leaving we had been cuddling and he said “this….now this is perfect!” When he left he said he hadn’t loved me in years. I was beyond confused.

    “Tsunami divorce”. That’s a perfect visual. Thank you for sharing.

  35. This is awful but I can completely relate. I was dumped to my face, in a relationship counsellor’s office. She asked what we wanted from our partner- he said “freedom.” He then dumped myself and our 4 year old, moving back to his home town 2 weeks later, which forced us to move back across the atlantic to live with my parents, as he was the breadwinner, and left us penniless. I have no idea why he did it, even now… I think some guys are just immature. My ex had unfulfilled dreams, and maybe this is what drove him to reject the idea of family… in his mind staying with us was settling. Devastating for the person on the other end… I was soo in love with him, but I know now he wasn’t capable of reciprocating in real life.

  36. I am still trying to get over that within this text–which is a coward’s way out–he also was thinking at the very practical level, giving you the garage code. The garage code? That’s like saying–“Maa’m, your child just died–and oh, by the way, I brought in your garbage cans from the curb.” Wow. You dodged a bullet on him, didn’t you?

    1. Interesting observation and analogy. I gotta admit- I have never really thought about that detail. Even stranger, I knew the code and he knew that I did. I wonder if he sent it in case I couldn’t give it or if he was distancing himself. Weird.

  37. I’ve lost hope in the institution of marriage and the idea of love. Sadly these stories and more like them confirm it every day. You deserved a face to face discussion every single time there was a concern of unhappiness and definitely one for the final “let’s end it” decision. My ex husband was a selfish coward too. I’m beginning to think they all are.

    1. It is so hard to pick up the pieces and build again after heartbreak. In many cases, however, the loss clears the way for something better. I know that’s been the case for me. After several hard years of facing the fallout, I’m now happier than I ever been and, perhaps even more importantly, more grateful than ever before. Loss is always accompanied by opportunity.

      1. Can you quantify several?? I have been divorced since July 18th 2012. We were married for 18 years. Two children. He is already remarried to someone he met barely a year ago. (yes, i am certain they werent having an affair) The entire story is to stunning to be believed. I keep wondering, who am I that I can’t just GET OVER this, “we were married” thing like he did and just move on with my life? It is stunning to me that men can just hop from one to the other with out breaking a sweat. Am I a freak?

        1. I’m at 5 years now. The first year was the hardest. I would say it took 3+ to feel pretty much okay. The hard thing is that healing doesn’t speak calendar. Also, we are often told to “get over it” when better advice would be to “learn from it.” You cannot change your past but you certainly can learn from it.

          So, no, not a freak:) Just a person in pain.

  38. Wow… or otherwise…it isn’t any easier to deal with the loss or betrayal. My marriage of 33 years was in trouble in 2012, thought I would let her take it easy, give her space and we would be OK…instead, as the oldest child moved on to college in 2013, she pushed for a divorce, never telling me she had at least mentally moved on, but never took any initiative…I had hope. Then, upon returning from a trip to visit my daughter in late 2013, I snooped and found thousands of emails, texts, photos, etc… and from my wife and her lover. Learned of trips were they met, plans they made, erotic fantasies they had (he lives in a different state and his “happily married”…so he led my wife whom he has known since Jr. High…on with promises of a future), but when she got serious, he pushed her to date others…although keeping his options open for further meetings and claiming to “love” her)…and also found she was dating other men locally (which she shared with her lover and he claimed made him “jealous”)….it had been going on under my nose for over a year. At the time I found all of this, she had moved out from the home a few weeks before, and I went to confront her with some emails and photos of her body parts. At her new home, she denied everything, despite the actual photos of herself, etc……she then got an emergency restraining order against me claiming I was “emotionally abusive” and harassing her (i never laid a finger on her despite the shear pain of the betrayal…never have, never will…so it was eventually dropped)…..simply amazing.
    So my email wasn’t to me…..but the discovery was simply devastating…I can fully understand all that you have gone thru….and I still loved her and wanted to work things out despite visions in my head about what went on under my nose (yep, women do it too)….but she finally filed for divorce..served me….and has since dragged her feet on getting it finalized, while she dates and does whatever, and refusing any contact whatsoever with me, despite ongoing joint debts and children (and her atty. is of little use on trying to keep debts updated and credit safe)….I for one would welcome and am working on closure and finalizing. AND….absolutely agree with you…..if one more person, including my ex says, “get over it”….I just don’t know what I will do….fortunately I have supportive kids, family and friends….and hoping for a bright and happier future.

    1. The discovery and realization is hard no matter how it happens. It’s always sad when a marriage ends and even sadder when one person wants to make it work. I like your attitude. My crystal ball says you’ll be just fine:)

  39. Thanks for sharing your story. I won’t go into too long of a description but after dating for 7 1/2 years, being engaged for 1 and married for 8 months, my wife cheated on me, got herself pregnant, and abandoned working to salvage what we had in favor of being a single mom. The ‘nice married man’ who I was assured was her friend turned out to be the father. He stayed with his wife. Difficult to swallow. Like you, I had to pry the information from my wife, she had no intent on sharing her feelings or concerns about our marriage or even going to therapy to try and find a way to work things through. Working on finding happiness and realizing that my life is not over, about to go thru-hike the PCT.

  40. Reading your story above has sent me into the same awful gut wrenching mode I was in when my own tsunami happened two months ago. I returned after a weekend visit with my college daughter to a half emptied house and a note that read:
    “Jen, There is something you should know. I always loved you. I made lots of mistakes but I never stopped loving you. Love much, live well, laugh often…..I’m sorry I was a disappointment in the end. I miss you …..yes, I miss you already. You are my best friend! I just need peace.

    When I arrived home my house was in “order” too. He had folded my laundry, ran the dishwasher, made the bed. He did leave the dog alone for the weekend as it appeared. But that’s it…gone.
    I have since received emails explaining the “why” to me…and in that email he suggest he doesn’t love me, and that he had to force a “switch” on…..

    To much! Doesn’t make sense…doesn’t comply…..
    My life has since spiraled on a downward whirlwind of losing clients and debt coming in at a high speed race.

    Life is crazy! Even with my panic stricken-ed chest I still am managing to stay positive….most of the time!

    Thank you for your posts! They help me get through!

    1. Sorry that you relate and sorry to re-wrench your gut:(

      The whole situation is so crazy-making, isn’t it? Nothing seems to make sense. One of the things that got me through the early months were “reality anchors,” physical evidence that I wasn’t crazy. For example, I carried a copy of his mugshot in my purse for months. Every time he would say something nuts to the lawyer, I would look at the picture as a reminder that nuts was his MO.

      Thinking of you. It does get better. I promise.

  41. Wow, reading this reminded me of my own relationship ending. He too ended our relationship after 16 years with a text message. Mine went like this. “Stop texting me. I love her. And she is up here with me.” It is kind of funny, how I can remember exactly what he said almost a year late. Will I always remember this or will it eventually fade away?

    1. You’ll probably always remember those words. I know the ones that I received are etched into my brain. But, and this is an important distinction, I no longer feel the pain associated with those words. One year is still early. Keep working on healing and allow time to apply its balm. It gets better. I promise:)

  42. My husband of twelve years did the same thing. He said he loved me everyday, said glowing things about me to family and friends, we were glued at the hip until….his radiology tech (he’s a surgeon) poached him. Suddenly he was out every night, pushed me aside for months, then broke the news that he hadn’t ever loved me, said I’d ruined his life, rambled on about every little thing I’d ever done to annoy him. Meanwhile (I later found out) he’d booked trips for him and the woman and her children (Rome, Disney World), and had forged my signature on a $150,000 line of credit to support her. I’ve been single for almost three years and have never been happier. I moved to another state, bought a ranch, and have started a new life. “Runaway Husbands” is another good read on this subject of spineless men who abandon their wives and families without guilt. It’s an epidemic with surgeons, as their egos soak up the attention from females after their money. These men compare notes in the surgery lounge. My husband was tutored by another surgeon who did exactly the same thing to his devoted wife of 30 years. She is now one of my best friends.

    1. It’s so sad when people throw their families away so quickly and deceptively. I’m happy to hear that you’re in a better place now:) I love that we can a turn a divorce we never wanted into the best gift we ever received.

    2. Wow “runaway husbands”? That’s intense. Also very interesting considering 70% of divorces are initiated by women. Sorry you had to deal with that though…it’s unfortunate that in this day we are fed the lie that marriages are meant to always get our needs met and not built on the idea that it’s meant to fill the needs of the other. If this were more of a reality then most marriages would be sustained because of both parties getting their needs met. I hope you have moved on and are doing better.

  43. I’m just reading this now. I once did that to a boy but we were 19 and dated for a year. Nana’ve been together for 8 years and I spent months talking the break up/divorce with her. I cheated and she doesn’t know. When she okayed tha separation, I believed we would work slowly to help each other through this. It’s been 3 weeks, she has a new girlfriend and hasn’t been home for 2 days. You think you know people and then. You are very brave and to be where you are now. I know it will all be okay in the end if we try very hard for ourselves. It was good to read this. Thank you.

  44. Thank you for writing, as I was just tsunami dumped a few days ago and found your site. He and I had been together for 10 years (from college on). I’ve been feeling like it’s all my fault, as if I only did this or that better, we’d still be together. He said that he was unhappy for 5 years, and that he felt un-cared for. He said that he did everything to make me happy, and he realized he wasn’t happy and just ended things a week before we were supposed to move into a new place. Now I’m back at my parent’s and trying to navigate having a life that’s totally different than what I was planning for, when just a week or two ago I thought things were fine.

    And now I’m here, 31 and thinking that I’ll never find another person like that again….how can I find someone else since this is the only man I’ve ever been with and loved? All these “spinster” like thoughts…Ah, it’s so hard.

    Him saying that he was unhappy for years and not cared for….that’s what gets me in the gut. I hope I can rebuild and find new social connections–most of mine are couple-related.

    I think I will spend a lot of time reading through your site–it’s comforting knowing that you and others have been through similar things. Thank you so much for writing!

    1. I am so sorry.

      I know what you mean about those words piercing the gut. Please realize they’re just words. He is trying to shift the responsibility of his choices to you. And you are not responsible for his happiness; he is. Right now, try to let those claims flow off you. Later, when you’re not quite as raw, sift through them to see if there is any truth you can learn from. Use that to grow and then discard the rest.

      I was older than you when my tsunami happened and my ex was the only man I had loved. And even though I have a cat, I am far from spinster:) There’s a lot of life left for you. It may not be the life you planned, but it be even better than one you expected. Be open to possibilities.

      1. Thank you for the kind words, it’s just been a week, but we need to communicate to split our belongings and move out of our place–he tells me that he doesn’t want to end contact with me–that he hates to think that we won’t be able to keep in touch. Then he sends me a nice text message this morning. I’ve been feeling so desperate and low–I just want him to get back with me, and I know I can’t depend on it to happen.

        I just don’t know how long this will take for me to get over, and the thought of dating now terrifies me. How will I be able to find such a great guy again? We met in college, how can I find someone with all his qualities. I go up and down. I hope things can get better soon.

        Thanks so much again.

        1. Things WILL get better but it takes time. Stay with it.

          I used to feel the same way about my ex. He was a great guy (as far as I knew) and I adored his qualities. In time (and after some dates), I realized aspects of his personality that were maladaptive and other areas where I no longer wanted the same thing.

          You CAN find love again. It will be different. But different can be better.

          1. I am not sure if you all still reading this…

            I am 34 years old and this is happening to me now… we have lived in different country for few years but he was always supporting me.

            We’ve been together since 2005, got married in 2013. Live in different country from 2015….

            He is been struggling with his business and I supported him, invested in his projects… we even went for a holiday last December.

            When my mom had surgery last year, he came to support me. And this year my mom had another surgery again. He supported me by calming me down… helped me book airplane tickets etc. as I brought my mom to have the surgery in the country I live.

            Once I brought her back to our home country.. my husband picked us up… however when it’s time for me to leave… he parked his car at the airport, he told me that he is thinking for letting me go. He still has not decided and he said he will decide by end of this year.

            I’ve been trying to understand why and tried to fix “us”. And then at around 3am today… I couldn’t reach him anymore.

            He blocked me in all the messaging apps and social media. I am just really hurt and had been suicidal… I feel like he is a totally different person now and I don’t know him anymore…

            1. I am so sorry that you’re dealing with this. The sudden refusal to communicate is SO painful and confusing. Right now, your priority has to be on taking care of you (leave worrying about what happened to him until later). What kind of support system do you have? I’m worried about you.


              1. I want to say NO MAN and I mean NO MAN is ever worth taking your life for. You do that and he has won knowing how much power he held over you. DO NOT LET HIM WIN!!!!!

                Things look bad right now but your life is worth much more than anything he could do to you.

                I would never give anyone the satisfaction of knowing they had enough power over you to cause suicide.

                Please value yourself more than you do him.

  45. Mine was a tsunami divorce too. I feel so much pain when I read this post because I know exactly what it feels like to be crumbled on the floor. Just last week I was there actually, in a closet, crying. It’s a year later, and I hope my divorce might be settled soon, but my life is still so scary. Like you I have the love and support of my family, but the healing process is just so slow for me. I just want to feel like a human being again.
    Your blog is wonderful, I love how honest about your emotions you are.

    1. It is so scary, so unsettling when the world you knew to be true proves to be nothing but a mirage. It takes time to allow the disorientation to fade and the building of the new to provide shelter from the void. Give yourself time and there’s nothing wrong with occasionally seeking refuge in the closet. Here’s to feeling human again soon!

  46. Unbelievable story! So heartbreaking and devastating beyond anything imaginable. I’m so sorry. This is beautifully written and i’d love to read your book to find out the rest of the story. Thank you for being sotransparent and raw. I pray you’ve found healing and are on the other side of this horrific tsunami.

  47. So much of this is so familiar. It really is comforting, if only for a few minutes, to be able to relate to another’s story. Thank you again.

    …by the way, this is very well written. I really felt many of the moments with you. I hope to be able to write as well as this someday.

    1. The main reason I share is so that people know that they’re not alone.

      And thanks for the complement:) It means a lot to someone who still doesn’t think of herself as a “real” writer.

  48. I never had a chance to read the full break up story until now. It sounds identical to what my husband did to me. Tsunami divorce. Spot on. Thank you for sharing.

  49. Thanks for sharing your personal story with us. I know it feels a whole lot better to write it down instead of keeping it to yourself. I’m doing the same thing. Last but not least, I wanna say good everything, life as a whole.
    Ps. very beautiful story written, I was hooked on!

  50. Thank you for sharing this story; it’s scary to see how similar the letter he left you was to the email my sent me when he was trying to explain his cowardly behaviour. It was almost identical and that just shows how text book some of this sadly is.
    I really like what you wrote about nurturing your relationship; unfortunately if these people valued loyalty and love a bit more, and were not so weak, they would understand no relationship is perfect and you just have to work at it.

  51. Wow, this is crazy. I am sorry to hear you went through this. I am in a very similar situation me and my ex were together her 12 years started dating when I was 15 and then was married when I was 19. I also did not know life without him. Instead of a text message it was a phone conversation while I was in Disney World! (Yeah the happiest place on earth quickly became the most miserable place) and we also have two little girls. Now the finances are very different from your situation, but the pain was (and still is) at times unbearable. When you described how you were on the floor sobbing I know how that feels, it was me just 7 weeks ago. My husband (soon to be ex) just says that he is not meant for a relationship that he was miserable in our marriage but he still cares for me (kind of hard to wrap my head around). Anyway I know today you are doing worlds better and that is so nice to see. It was also nice to hear another story similar to mine.

    1. Yes, you will! You have no idea the fun that awaits you when that dark cloud starts to lift and your heart heals a bit. It is slow and it is a pain that few understand. But, when you come out of it on the other side, you will be so grateful for your lessons learnt and for being free of someone that was obviously not completely honest.

  52. You said that you were upset that he hadn’t told you that he felt you had been drifting apart for years. This is often not true. This is often known as rewriting the marriage history. When that happens, the spouse who decides to leave starts looking back at all the events of the marriage and emphasizes the bad things and ignores the good things; this makes it possible to leave the spouse – to make the spouse repulsive in his or her eyes.

    There is probably mental illness in your spouse, if he left in this way. This is certainly more than cowardly.

    To one up you, my wife handed me the divorce filing when we were downtown, left to go home, spent 15 minutes with the two kids telling them she was divorcing me and never coming back to the area that they grew up in, and left in an absolute rage, telling me that she never wanted to see her again and to deal only with her lawyer. This was three hours after handing me the divorce paperwork. She was moving in with her mother, brother and sister, 5 hours away. She tried to leave me with a note, but I got back from my downtown doctor’s appointment too early; the kids threw the note away.

    My wife is still holding on to the inane concept that our daughter who died four years ago was murdered. Over the last three years of our marriage, she kept telling me that she was my least favorite child, and kept coming up with isolated incidents to prove her case, such as a time – once – when I didn’t say hello to our daughter. She never mentioned all of the good times I had with the daughter, and our nightly silly hug ritual. This is another example of rewriting, and of course, really hurt. My wife also exploded at me whenever I told her any of the details of the funeral that I had to put together, and I finally learned not to mention our deceased daughter’s name to avoid getting yelled at. A trauma specialist told me that she invented the murderer to assuage her guilt, and her treatment of me was a way of blaming me for our daughter’s death.

    She won’t visit or call our kids, and although they are old enough to drive, they’ve driven to see her only twice, for a few days each, in the 14 months since she left.

    She’s mentally ill, and so is your husband, I bet.

    It’s still crappy.

    1. Crappy indeed. So sorry for the loss of your daughter and how it was compounded by your wife. And my heart hurts for your kids; I can’t imagine what it’s like to come to terms with a parent like that.

      Mental illness? Possibly. Probably. Not my place to diagnose. I’m just glad he’s in the past now.

  53. I want to say how sorry I am but you have grown leaps and bounds since that fateful text and besides, no words of sympathy could reach back to the depth of your pain. Kudos (kudos, kudos) for having come out the other side. He doesn’t have to rob you of your future.


  54. wow, all these years and the post still resonates
    my marriage ended tonight and i feel like death, i can’t survive this, i am tired of holding it together, tired of being strong, i feel like screaming, i a, losing my mind

  55. OMG….I just came across this TODAY. My husband of 6 years kissed me by to go to work one day and decided he didn’t want to come back…no note no text.I found out from his boss. This is exactly what I needed. I am still battling the hurt and the needing answers …but you give me hope. I didn’t realize it was years ago that this was written until after I read it. You are truly a blessing. The hurt gets better right???? ‹3…

  56. I am in the first few weeks of this. My husband of 15 years said he’s not sure he wants to be married anymore & he’s felt like this for a long time. It’s too late to start over. He sees his single guy friends and is jealous. Tells me he slept w/ an old high school friend 2 months ago. (We lost our 17 yr old daughter in a car wreck 7 yrs ago) I’ve been sad and angry for awhile so & I make appointment to see a Counselor for the first time to help change me. He agreed to try “us” again w/ a kiss and a hard hug. Meanwhile he continues to see her & I’m getting evidence. I think he’s trying not to hurt me by saying he will try. Now I’m lied to. Counselor says I show signs of depression and OCD. HE NEVER communicated his unhappiness. I told him I felt like a roommate 6 mths ago, but he said nothing. I guess I was suppose to notice he wasn’t getting his emotions met while I was depressed. Says I’m not fun anymore and he’d like to go be a stuntman at 46. So i have my unresolved grief, his leaving & betrayal and lies and my mom has cancer. It’s too much. All I he same month. Will it get better? How long? Are there any good single men over 40 remaining?????

    1. Your last question is easy- yes, there are good men out there. You’ll find one in time. Take care of you first.

      The rest is harder. You have already faced more loss than anyone should ever have to. I am so sorry. It’s not fair. And yet it’s still yours to bear.

      It sounds like your husband is already out and is stringing you along. It may be time to cut the string. Painful? Yes. But often less so than the pain of being lied to, disrespected and ignored. Stay with him if you want to be with him, not because you don’t want to be alone.

      Better does happen with time and adaptation. Life will be different. And different is scary, but not necessarily bad. But that will take time. Right now, surround yourself with the best support system you can, spend time with your mom, get to know you again and take it one day at a time.

      Those good over-40 men will still be there when you’re ready. There’s no hurry.

      Sending you hugs and strength.

  57. I completely agree with what you wrote to Lynn. There is no hurry. Healing takes time. The shock and feelings of rejection after my husband left our 20 year marriage led me to a year-long rebound from hell. It’s been 15 years since the divorce, but your story brings back sharp memories of sitting on the hardwood floor in my hallway and wailing (after the shock wore off and when the kids were at their dad’s.) Life is amazingly better now, better than I could have ever imagined. It was worth the climb, worth the wait.

  58. Dear God, My parents were married for 50+ years. Good men don’t do this. I used to think people were good. But ALL the bastards that did this to even have 188 replys!!! What the hell is wrong with people! These should be criminal acts. This should be a jailable offense. Yes, I am going through the same thing. I have no respect for him, as only despicable people would do that to another human being. And at the same time, I miss him so terribly my chest physically aches. But I’ve gotta be honest, the ‘yeah I’m happier now, alone’ comments, I don’t believe them for one second. Just because HE lied to me, doesn’t mean I’m going to start lying to myself. There is a reason married people live longer lives – they’re happier together. Why, because we’re women, do we have to smile and pretend to be happy. They ruined our lives. We should get to be pissed off about it.

  59. Ending a marriage by text IMG is the ugliest, most despicable way to break it up, whether by the man or the woman. The victim of the text is better off without him/ her.

  60. Wow this could have been me writing most of this, my Husband informed my by text on the 11th January this year while working away that he was done with the relationship. We’ve been married for 20 years! Only a week before he had been sending me sexy photo’s and comments. He then proceeded not to answer his phone while he was away, blocked me on facebook and ignored my texts. When he finally came back it was to say that he didn’t know what he wanted and needed some time. Two weeks of mental torture while he stayed away again and wouldn’t talk to me later he finally text me again to tell me not to contact him unless it was about the house or kids. He would live in the house for now as he can’t afford to move out yet. Currently still staying here I’m sleeping on the sofa. Now telling his solicitor that he feels bullied and harassed as I’m asking him what the hell happened. He feels he’s living a life that other people want him to live and not what he wants to do, he doesn’t want me anymore.

    1. Oh, I am so sorry. How difficult to have to stay in the same home after such a shock. I definitely relate to that, “What the hell happened???” feeling. It’s so hard to understand how their behavior can flip so quickly. Sending you hope and hugs.

  61. My husband of 39 years left me out of the blue. One night we had a minor argument and he the next day he said he was going to spend the night at his sister’s and would come back and talk to me the next day. He never came back. He has no cell phone and I had no idea where he was. His sister would not answer or return my calls. After one week gone, he took all his clothes while I was at work. The next week he took half of our furniture and half the food while I was at work. Finally, after calling everyone to find out where he was, I had to go to his parking lot where he works and wait until he got off work. He told me he got an apartment with a year’s lease and needs to think, and is not doing anything until the lease is up. He said he doesn’t know if he loves me anymore, but did not want a divorce, but would be around to fix things in the house. He would never show up when he said he would come over. Finally, due to financial concerns, I filed for divorce. I was hoping that would wake him up and he would start talking to me. Instead it has made him mean, not wanting to talk to me at all, but I am slowly learning to live a new life. This has by far been the most devastating thing that has ever happened to me.

    1. My husband of 7 years moved out while I was at work. Just do not understand how someone can be such a coward – although calculated….Not a word about being unhappy, just lies right to my face, I was shocked, devastated, but now, 3 months later, I am starting to see that I can move forward with grace and dignity , and contentment. I am refusing to let his action destroy my BEING. I am looking at a new canvass without feeling unworthy of him. His action on
      how he left speaks volumes about his character. The hard part is having to see him when we exchange times for our daughter.

  62. Mine left me the day after we had been on a fantastic cruise ( arranged by him). He had told my son, before we went on the cruise, that he was leaving me as soon as we got back, but told him not to tell me – what an awful position to put my son in. He told my daughter the day we came back from the cruise, before he told me.
    He is marrying the woman he left me for ( 25 years younger). He has asked our son to be his Best Man, even though he has previously said nasty things about him.
    We had been together 40 years. He is the only man I ever loved. Divorced 18 months, I am managing practically, and have filled my life with volunteering, but at 63, so difficult to start again, especially as he already had a financial plan in place where he benefited greatly, and I lost my home and a lot of money.
    He wasn’t cowardly in that he told me face to face, but had obviously been planning it for a long time.
    The marriage wasn’t always great, but I thought we had a deep love for each other. It hurts to realise that he stopped loving me years before, and had a replacement waiting on the sidelines. Such a common occurrence.
    I took the high road and have wished them love and happiness in the future. I just have to find my own way forward from now on, but it may be too late to ever find love again. So sad for so many of us.

  63. It will be exactly 6 years ago tomorrow that my daughter told her brother who in turn told me that “dad left a note on the kitchen table for you”. The note said he was leaving for a couple of weeks to “determine if we should stay married or get divorced”. My children were told before I was and they had to tell me. He wanted to be happy. There was no one else but he was on Match in less than a month of leaving. Was totally blind sided; thrown away like a piece of trash after being married 31 years.
    During all this past 6 years our communication has been texting or emailing. Have seen him once early on to sign tax forms. Even then he couldn’t say hi to me (I looked mean) and kept papers at arms length while he stood to the side behind me. Have blocked him from all texting and emails. Want NO CONTACT. Now have 3 Grandchildren who don’t even know we were once married. Take turns each year switching holidays.
    What he did and how he did it totally broke me. I am still devastated; not over losing him, am so much better off without having to walk on eggshells all the time. I am devastated because I have lost myself, I actually lost myself in the marriage. Guess you can say I don’t know who I am or who I was a long time ago; my identity was so wrapped up in him that I don’t know how to start being myself. If this is now my forever life, I don’t want it.
    I don’t know how long it takes to actually get ‘through’ this. Have been to counseling twice, first time for almost two years. Just turned 65 and I don’t see anything good ahead of me. Too old to start over and don’t trust anyone. Do not want a relationship but don’t want to be by myself the rest of my life either. Hoping I’ll just fade away.
    He can and does get the 30 year olds. Me, I don’t want a 90 year old man or even one in his 80’s. Men my age don’t want women their own age. Wish we had divorced when we were younger. I’d at least stand a chance.
    He did leave me once when my children were younger. I was hypothyroid and undiagnosed. Finally got treated for it and my life turned around; life was wonderful. He thought I was faking it that I was feeling better. There was no way I could fake the physical changes taking place. He never said anything to me at that time about being unhappy with the way things were either. I was very ill. He just decided he had to get away to think about things (like staying married) without letting me know his real thoughts beforehand.
    He is a true coward. If he had sat me down to talk to me about our marriage like I deserved, he would have found out I agreed with him. He showed me no respect after 31 years of service! (sarc) I never would have done that to him. It would have changed everything, everything if he hadn’t thought only about how it would make him feel to have to talk to me. Never mind my feelings, they don’t count.
    It may take me many more years to get past all of this. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

    1. Robyn,
      I can imagine your discouragement and pain. My marriage was half the length of yours and it’s been five years for me and it’s still hard, although I have carved out a new identity. I once heard that it takes nearly half the years of a marriage to heal, so be patient.
      I have a girlfriend who was married 30+ years and her husband left in this manner, too. I took notes from her…she left the town they had lived in, started a career in a new state, and just remarried (quite happily at age 64) last year. Like her, I moved to another state, left my family and friends, and carved out a new career at age 55. I’m now 60, and unlike her, am happily single. So there’s lots of in-roads for you if you’re willing.
      There seems to be a new trend–dating but not remarrying–so keep that in mind. I have several male friends (more male friends than women for that matter) that I spend time with. I’m not in a romantic relationship with any of them. We go to dinner, dancing, even trips. Many of them are widowers. None of us imagined we’d be where we are now. So, try to stay encouraged. This is all new territory for many of us. We are all learning how to navigate these waters together.
      As for your “schmuck”, well, he can just be with his young gals. They are high-maintenance and will use him for his money. Then when he’s old, he’ll likely end up alone.
      Cheers to your new-found freedom. May the world be your oyster~

  64. There are answers and counseling in the Bible for the situation you experienced, but in order to receive them you must accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior on his terms. (John 14:6, Hebrews 1:1-2; KJV) His terms are known as the gospel, given in outline form in 1 Corinthians 15:1-7 KJV. Seekers may want to start there, pray for understanding, and keep reading. You might otherwise be following in the counsel of Proverbs 14:12 KJV.

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