I’ll try to cut this down as much as I can, it’s not something I’m proud to share…
I met my wife when we were 18 in college. We were together for 12 years and married for almost 4. Everything I did was to make her happy. We used to travel together, we had mostly the same interests, and even the things that were different about us, we shared them with each other until they because both of our things that we would do together. I thought she was one of the rare ones and that we would be together forever, and she always told me that we would be.
About 2 years into our marriage, however, things started to be less than perfect. After we were in New York for our 2nd anniversary, I discovered that she was hiding tens of thousands of dollars of debt from me. Basically she never told me about any of it for over 10 years of being together. At this time, because we were married, it legally became both of our debt. Even though I was beyond hurt (which is an understatement) she was the love of my life so I forgave her and we started working on paying it off. Needless to say, it put a hold on all of the things that we were planning, like buying a house of having children, which I had always wanted.
After this, 2 more years passed and I thought things were back on track. But then, a week before our 4th wedding anniversary, we were hanging out with friends at the beach when we went for a walk. As I leaned over to give her a kiss, she just turned away and out of no where said she was leaving. Just like that, without warning. The day before we were having a great time together and now, with the snap of a finger, this happened.
About a week later, I came home from work and she was gone, along with most of the things we owned, and I was left in pretty much an empty apartment. For the two years after that, it was like she disappeared off the face of the earth. Even my in-laws refused to tell me what happened. It was like everyone on her side just abandoned me. Finally about 6 months ago, I discovered that she was in California and because she was finally located, we got divorced. The worst part though is that the courts determined that all of the debt that she hid from me was now my responsibility and I had to file for bankruptcy this past February.
Now I’ve just turned 34 and I’m divorced, broke and alone, and she is who knows where with who knows who doing who knows what. She’s never contacted me since she left and never gave any reason or explanation as to what happened or why. It’s like she just became a different person literally overnight. For the past 3 years I’ve just wandered through life without a clue or any closure and even though it appears to the people around me that I’ve gotten better, inside I know I’m getting worse. I haven’t been able to find anyone new, and don’t think I can ever again.
I’ve never asked this question to anyone, but if you were me, after all of that, what would your next move be? Because without any money, or relationship, or future to speak of, I’m out of ideas.
I am not married, I have never been married, and frankly I have no interest in getting married so I’ll start off by saying: I am not qualified to answer this. While I have been in serious, long-term relationships, I know marriage is a completely different animal. Please keep that in mind when you read my response and take it from the perspective of someone who does not completely understand the intricacies of marriage, let alone divorce.
I can, however, speak to heartbreak. And this story – what you have been through and are currently going through – is complete and total heartbreak. She took everything you loved and left you with no answers, no money, and most importantly, no hope.
But you are asking me what my next move would be if I were you and my honest answer is: I would let go of all of it. The hate, the resentment, the unknown, and the desire for closure. I am by no means saying this is something that can be done at the snap of your fingers (in fact it may be the most difficult thing you do in your entire life), but I would throw myself in therapy (covered by most insurances, in case you’re worried about the financial aspect) and work on letting go of all of it because here’s the thing: the only person you are hurting by being angry, is you. Hate is a lethal poison and you have to find a way to suck it out of your life.
When my last boyfriend broke up with me, I went into a frenzy trying to figure out what went wrong. We had this perfect relationship (so I thought) – why was this happening out of no where??! I desperately wanted answers. I thought getting answers would solve everything – THEN I could have closure, THEN I could move on with my life, THEN I could be happy again. I looked everywhere for answers (I even went to a psychic once because I thought, “She’ll know!” Oh brother.) and finally after putting myself through the ringer for over a year, I went on a trip by myself and decided I would make the conscious decision to let it go.
About 6 months later, I reached out to my ex, who seemed really happy to hear from me, and we had dinner. At that dinner I learned that the truth was exactly what he had told me: he did not want to be in a relationship and he was not completely in love with me. It was that simple. He had been single since we broke up, there was no lady in sight, and he was not completely in love with me.
In my 32 years of life I’ve realized that sometimes we want to make sense of things that just don’t make sense. Unfortunately, why we feel the way we feel is senseless and sometimes uncontrollable. It doesn’t mean we did anything wrong, or that we’re doomed to be unhappy, sometimes bad things happen to good people. They shouldn’t, but they do. It fucking sucks and there’s nothing we we can do about it.
The only thing we can control is our response to it. And honestly, your response is right on point. I would be FUCKING pissed the person I trusted the most in the world betrayed me. You’re not wrong to feel the way you feel. So feel it as long and as deep as you need to, and when you’re ready, let it go.
P.S. I thought this particular case needed someone a little more familiar with your situation, so I reached out to a friend a little older and little wiser who has been through a divorce that was a surprise to him as well. This is what he had to say:
First of all, you’re incredibly brave to share your story and ask for help. It’s also a healthy sign that you don’t know what to do next. I’d be concerned for you if you thought you had the answers.
Because here’s the thing: There are none.
Trust me, I very much understand what you’re feeling. While our situations aren’t exactly parallel, I’ve been in a similar head space since my ex and I split up after over a decade of marriage.
The most important thing to know is what you are feeling is valid. That lost feeling? That’s exactly where you should be. There is no easy path forward that is easily labeled for you.
With that said, I can not recommend enough finding a routine that includes some kind of therapy. Talking to someone out loud on a regular basis has done more for me than any single thing I’ve done since my divorce.
I know everything hurts right now. You feel completely empty when you try to find purpose and a way forward. Just know that time is the only thing that will even begin to heal you. But talking to someone along the way will lighten the burden of that journey, if even just a small amount.
You feel lost now. It’s incredibly hard, but I promise, though the days go by slowly, each one of them is a step toward a healthier place.
Need advice on dating, work, family, or everyday shit? Please submit any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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