One of the challenges of life after divorce is watching your ex change, change in ways you’ve wanted, change for the better. Nancy B had pleaded with her husband for years to get better help for his fears and anxiety and once she’d moved out, he did. Here’s Nancy B:
Once I moved out, within a week he had a new therapist who changed his medication, got him on a step-by-step desensitization program to get over his phobias, and the big phobia about staying alone. Then lo and behold he immediately got a roommate because he said, “I can’t live alone,”
So she moved in like the day after I left. To show you how bad it was, he couldn’t even stay alone that one night, he had to go stay with his sister. Then the roommate didn’t work out because he started treating her like he’d treat me. She’d say, “Oh, I’m going to be gone this weekend,” and he’d say, “Oh, no, I really would prefer you not.” She moved out less than eight weeks later and said, “You are a freaking lunatic, Mister!” She packed her bags and left, never to be heard from again.
I left in June and then by August, he was living on his own, and enjoying it. Just so ironic.
Also, two weeks after I moved out, after him saying he couldn’t live without me, he was on J Date, an online Jewish dating site. He started to have coffee with people or a glass of wine or whatever, and then two weeks later, after meeting probably a dozen women, he met this woman and liked her. He met someone and they dated for a couple years and now she finally moved in last September. She’s pretty sane, she doesn’t put up with his crap. She was like, “Well, that’s your stuff and you have to deal with it.” She works a lot of long hours, so she’s not there a lot. My daughter loves her, she’s a really nice woman, so I’m very grateful,
My daughter (who is a freshman in college now) had a terrible relationship with him for about a year, did not want to spend much time with him, didn’t spend much time with him, would come home crying a lot, said how much she hated him, went back in therapy because he was so awful, using her to get to me, and pumping her for information and fighting about money, and just on and on and on because he’s just so absorbed in himself.
He finally came out of things like a year later, he turned back into a human being, and now they have a really good relationship, and she’s really, really close to him, which is great, I’m glad!
He kept the family home when we moved out, and she loves his new partner, his girlfriend, and our family dog is there, so she really wants to go spend time there. She gets to see friends, but she wants to see me, too, and now he and I get along fine, no animosity…we’re on good terms. I was Skyping with her the other day and he came in, he sat down so the three of us were having this conversation and kidding around, reminiscing about the past.
I haven’t forgotten what we went through, but it doesn’t keep me awake at night anymore.
The Divorce Coach Says
Michelle Leath is another of my recent guests who watched her ex change after their divorce and wondered if her marriage could have been saved. It’s tempting to think like that but before you start dreaming of romantic reconciliations, I think it’s important to recognize that the dynamics between you and your STBX have changed. Quite possibly you are no longer the person you were in the marriage and he may not be the person he was. Just because your relationship as co-parents is now working does not mean you could go back to being lovers.
Another of my guests, author Judy Osborne talks about how events and commitments can keep you bound to your ex . In particular she’s seen many couples who after the trauma of divorce do manage to reach a benign space that allows once again for a caring relationship. Sometimes, adding new partners into the mix can help. Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula for reaching that space – it almost certainly involves time but how much depends on the couple. It can also involve an event, sometimes to do with a child, that brings a new perspective. It sounds like Nancy B has reached that space.
How’s your relationship with your ex? Do you feel you’re moving to a relationship of acceptance? What is helping you?
(I do just have to add that Nancy and I chuckled over the poor roommate. Can you imagine moving in only to find out you’ve moved in to be a babysitter to a grown man? It would unfold like a horror movie …Imagine the conversations at work!)
Photo credit: idogcow