He is divorcing me for another woman, but walks into my house and tries to hug me. I still love him. What do I do?
How do you cope when the separation is so raw and you still love your ex? After all he has been your best friend for many years, yet now everything has changed. He has left you as he has fallen for somebody else although lots of things still remain the same and it’s confusing.
(Of course this works both ways – it can be the husband or the wife who has left but in this case for ease I have used the husband as the example, although I know many cases where it is the wife who has left)
When one partner leaves, sometimes very suddenly for one partner, there are things that need to change. These may be things that are routine and you took for granted. When we are in a long term relationship we get into a way of doing things. Even when one partner has left it can be difficult to get out of the habit of doing things a certain way. Here are a few things that often carry on out of habit:
– He walks into the marital home when he drops the kids back
– He gives you a hug and kiss on the cheek when he sees you
– He makes himself at home in the marital home that you still live in for example helping himself to a cup of tea as he knows where everything is
– If you have a problem you still call him. For example some jobs around the house need doing or something happens in your life that you would normally talk to him about.
This is a new situation for you both and it will take time to adjust. It is very painful for the person who has been left and very confusing. It can be easy to misread the familiar routine as a sign that your ex may want to return. Whilst this can sometimes be the case, more often than not it is just because your ex does not know how to act now.
You need to keep your strength, especially if you have children together. It is very important at this stage to define new boundaries. This will protect you from more unnecessary hurt and it is good for the children to have some consistency in what to expect from this new situation. If you and your ex are amicable then sit down together and work out how things will work from now on. If not then you need to work out what YOU want and are comfortable with and then let your ex know.
Key areas to define are:
– Does your ex still have a key to the marital home? If so then can he use it or does he ring the bell and wait for the door to be answered? For most it will be better to take the key back and define the home as your personal space. This will help you start to move forward.
– How do you greet each other when the kids are around? Do you just say hi or do you feel comfortable with a kiss on the cheek? For many it will be a nice smile and hello, but no physical contact.
– What topics are not to be discussed in front of the kids? My advice is always to keep the conversation light and friendly at all times and avoid any confrontation or blame when children are in ear shot.
– Is it appropriate for your ex to be in the marital home during his time with the kids or should they go straight out? This will depend on your relationship with your ex. Again I think it is always healthy to keep some personal space for yourself as you start to move on with your separate lives.
– How will you work together to help the kids through the separation? It is always good for the children if both parents can work together to support them through this difficult time. Agreeing on answers for questions so that the kids see a united front is preferable, although extremely difficult for most people. In which case remember the most important question:
“What is best for the kids?”
This question kept my head above water when I was going through my separation. Divorce is extremely painful and you will be experiencing a lot of different emotions. It is natural to want to hurl blame at your ex and want to tell your children how badly they have behaved. However in six months time, a years time and in 5 years time you will feel very differently.
It will be too late then to undo the damage that your ranting and blaming of the other parent has done to your children.
Learn this lesson now before it’s too late and the damage is done. When you are making decisions that affect the children do your best to take yourself out of the equation. You will be riding an emotional rollercoaster but your children need reassurance and consistency from you. Before you make a decision involving the kids that punishes your ex for his betrayal ask the question “What is best for the kids?” It will best serve them to put their interests first in these matters.
Create a Divorce Journey Support Team to help you cope
You will need to take some time to focus on you to allow yourself to start to heal. In the early days this can seem almost impossible as you try to come to terms with what has happened. Create a team of positive, balanced people around you who have skills to support you:
– Choose to spend time with friends and family that make you feel better about yourself. It can be a tough time for them too so be careful not to get too caught up in their emotions at this time. Try to identify some friends you can now go to for advice and help that you would have gone to your ex for in the past.
– Get good legal advice so that you know what you are rightfully entitled to. Even if you are amicable at this stage things can get fraught during the financial discussions in divorce so it’s worthwhile getting a good understanding of your rights up front.
– You need to deal with your emotions and do your best to keep them separate from the legal proceedings. You will have a lot of practical decisions to make during the Divorce Journey. In my experience you will make better long term decisions if you can keep your emotions separate. For example when you receive an email or letter from your ex that upsets you it is always best to sleep on it before you reply. It will give you time to calm down and work out what is best for you in the long run. An emotionally charged response often leads to a poor result.
– To help you cope with your emotions find a good divorce coach who can help you create a plan of action to get you through each step of the Divorce Journey. They will give you tips on how to feel better and how to cope better with your individual situation. Practical tips on what to expect and how to handle divorce can really help you at this time. (Follow a SDDivorceCoach on Twitter or Sara Davison Divorce Coaching on FB)
– A therapist is a good way to deal with your emotional process, especially if you think you are not ready to make any changes yet.
It does get better..
If you can define boundaries for you and your ex it will be the first step to helping you cope better. Setting rules around your new situation will allow you to take some control back over the situation. It will make things more manageable as you will have addressed some difficult issues. Over time it does become easier. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Time is a great healer although by using the tips above you can speed up that process.
Please do direct message me on FB if you have any questions you would like me to answer. I always do my best to reply as quickly as possible.
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