How Do I Stop Feeling So Guilty About Ending My Marriage? This question on today’s show was sent in by Daniel.
My ex-wife is such a kind woman who would do anything for me. She relied heavily on me to be her best friend and her social life in our marriage. She doesn’t have any hobbies, she has very few friends, and isn’t really very passionate about anything. Thankfully, she enjoys her job as a property manager during the day.
We were married for 4 years but didn’t have any children. I became very bored and left our marriage 8 months ago. My Ex is crushed and is very lonely and she can barely drag herself to work right now. She is 36 years old and has her whole life ahead of her. I want her to be happy!
We still talk on a regular basis because I feel responsible for her sadness. How do I help her to move on?
Thank you, Daniel
Divorce is one of the most difficult things someone will ever have to go through in their life. It is devastating to one’s self-esteem and can cause some major trust issues if things aren’t handled well moving forward.
I commend you for wanting to help your Ex through this, and I understand why you feel guilty. It is very difficult being the one who is responsible for ending a marriage, especially as she has always been very devoted to you during your 4 years together. Unfortunately, she learned to be too dependent on you while you were married, and being her rock didn’t help her gain independence within your relationship.
It is important that you take some ownership here and ask yourself while you allowed her dependency to continue during your marriage. It can feel good initially when someone puts you on a pedestal and makes you their most significant priority, but it is not OK when they rely on you to be their whole life and you condone it.
It is called a partnership for a reason.
Both of you should have been contributing to nurturing the love you committed to when you walked down the aisle together. It isn’t your job to do it all by yourself. This is why you became bored Daniel, you weren’t getting anything back that would have helped the relationship evolve to a higher level. It became stagnant and routine.
It is important for your ex to have a purpose in her life and to be open to trying new things. It is never healthy for anyone to rely on their partner to the extent that she did with you. This should have been addressed in the early stages of your relationship and not continued on for the four years you were together. I know you get this now, but I hope she eventually learns this as well so that she doesn’t repeat a similar pattern in her next partnership.
The first thing I would suggest you could do to help your ex-wife:
I would suggest that you set up a therapist appointment that you could both attend together for a few sessions. Not only would it help the therapist to gain insight into what transpired between you as a couple, but it might also help you to make sense of the part you played in your marriage as well. It is much easier to move on when you understand why things turned out the way they did and what drew you together in the first place.
Let her know that you are there strictly there for support and not to work on your marriage. You have decided to end things, so be very careful that she doesn’t get her hopes up for a reconciliation between the two of you. It would be great if she continues on with the counseling separately and maybe you could offer to pay for the services for a while to show her you continue to support her.
Ask her family for some assistance to get her out to do things.
Don’t be afraid to ask her family to help out. Your ex needs to get out so she is not just sitting around at home being sad. Be careful not to hang around her too often, trying to be her friend. The less she sees you, the easier it will be for her to eventually move on. Remember that she wants to be your wife, not your buddy.
There are numerous meetup groups she could sign up for where she could meet some new people. Joining a gym or yoga studio would also be a great plan. Exercise is not only healthy, but it is also wonderful for her mental well-being as well. There are walking and hiking groups in most cities that would be a good start to help her get off the couch and out into the beauty of nature. It is a therapy session all on it’s own when you literally get outside and smell the flowers.
The biggest thing your ex-wife needs to learn moving forward is that SHE is in charge of her life and her happiness. No one can give her that if she doesn’t respect herself first and foremost. A partner is an extension of whom you already are as a person. You should not be her only reason for living.
I understand why you ended your marriage Daniel but it is also important that you comprehend what drew you to your wife in the beginning. Is there something that you need to work on within your own personal self-esteem? While it might feel really good to have someone love you to the degree that your wife did, if you are not getting anything back keep your relationship exciting it does eventually become tedius and mundane. We all need to healthy challenges and growth in our partnerships.
Today’s topic is a great one for anyone who is in a new relationship.
As a couple you both need to bring in interesting things into your connection. No one should be in control of everything as one-sided scenarios seldom work for long term. If you are both aware of this from day one of your partnership it will help keep the communication lines open for years to come.
No one is better than anyone else and we are all worthy of having love in our lives. I sincerely hope that you both find love again and that you have learned some valuable lessons when it comes to being in the right relationship. Thank you for caring about your wife Daniel and being there to support her during this difficult time in her life.
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