Tips To Cope with the Bone-Crushing Pain of Abandonment

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I thought I would get the dramatics out right off the bat.  Catchy title, huh??

For some, there is an unwritten rule in blogging.  Sometimes it feels like there is pressure to always be positive…always say good things…never be too political or controversial or curse too much.  

I feel that rule sometimes, and so I haven’t been blogging much lately.  Because I haven’t had much positive to say.  And frankly, because I’ve been in survival mode.  Getting through the days, not missing a single day of work, keeping moving.  One foot in front of the other. Brace yourself kids, something unpleasant is coming.  

Three months ago, my husband walked out the door.  I was at work.  Working away.  And he packed his stuff in his car, and left.  And he didn’t just leave a little.  He left the state.  And then left for another state.  It was like a random Tuesday.  Just gone.  Like he never existed.  Except for the little memory bombs of stuff he left behind in his haste to make sure he was gone before I got home.  

Now don’t get me wrong – things weren’t great before that – it was headed down that road eventually anyway.  But I was, in a word, blindsided.  That the year and a half (yes, I know it’s not that long) we had been married and the five years we had been together, and twenty years we’ve known each other mean nothing.  Zero. Zilch.

In one of the many tear-filled calls my best friend took over those first few weeks (he’s a saint – he deserves a medal or a million bucks or something for putting up with me), I remember saying that “I wasn’t even worth a goodbye.”  And his response was perfect…”You are to people who matter.”   And while the tear filled calls have gone away these days, I find myself being able to talk about what happened…so thus this blog post.  Here’s what a snipped of what I’ve learned in the last couple months.  Don’t take this advice.  I’m not a therapist (but my almost ex-husband is!) – but you should get one.  But hopefully this makes you smile, or nod because you’ve been there, or laugh because you need to.

  1.  Feelings are NOT facts.   

             This is a serious one.  The way you feel about yourself is not a fact.  You have worth. Tons of worth that is not defined by whatever some asshole did or said about you.  It’s taken lots and lots of teary phone calls to get this through my head…here’s a sample recap- this conversation actually occurred – probably not quite like this – more curse words and sniffling likely.  And it occurred over and over again in different forms as I processed that this, indeed, was mostly not about me.  

             Me:  He said that my promotion was all because of him.

             BFF:  That’s ridiculous.

             Me:  Maybe it’s true.

             BFF:  It’s not.  You got promoted because you’re kick ass at what you do.

            Me:  But he said it’s because he took care of the kids.

           BFF:  Are you taking care of the kids now? Traveling? Doing the same stuff.

           Me:  Well, yeah.

           BFF:  Stop being crazy.  

           Me:  Okay. Until tomorrow.

Seriously.  Feelings are not facts.  You can feel like shit, as long as you recognize that you are in fact, not shit.  

        2.  Ask for Help

I’m super crappy at this.  I have the hardest time asking for help.  In that, I never ever do.  I sit back and silently resent my friends that aren’t helping me, until I remember that I haven’t actually asked for it.  

It’s hard.  I get it.  I’m a very private person with things like this.  No one knew (now the whole world knows!) except for my girls’ dad and my best friend.  I sat at a bar in Chicago with another friend drinking a glass of red wine and the story just came pouring out.  And in that moment, without me asking, he did exactly what I needed him to do.  Here’s how this one went:

Me:  (Tells whole sob story miraculously without tears.)

Friend:  Jesus.  That sucks.  You’re awesome (orders another round).  He’s an idiot.  Let’s go out.  We’ll have fun.  It will be good.  

Me:  But…

Friend:  Here, drink this and let’s go.  

Okay, I’m being a little silly, but in that moment that was what I needed.  If you open up and ask for help, chances are there are a line of people ready to jump in.  Even if it’s just to refill your wine glass.  Or make you shower.  Or hold your hand while you cry.  

     3.  Don’t Tinder

If you are over the age of 30 or haven’t dated in five years, don’t Tinder.  I have seen unspeakable things of which we must not speak.  Seriously, don’t do it.  Even just for fun to see what it was like.  Which is what I did.  You will see things.  Bad things.  Bad things you can’t unsee.  

   4.  Don’t Stalk Your Ex on Social Media

This one actually is a good one.  Block your ex from all your social media.  I was furious at first when my almost-ex “unfriended” me.  Best thing that I ever happened.  I blocked him from mine.  Because how fabulous my life is going is none of his damn business.  And not being able to watch what he’s up to makes it much easier to not give a flying flip about whatever he is doing.  Just say no.  It’s hard, but do it.  You’ll be better off in the long run, especially if your person left you for another person.  

5.  Be Good Enough

You don’t have to be perfect.  You can let things slip.  Pay the bills, go to work, feed the kids.  Let that be enough.  The rest will come.  If you need to spend a weekend binge watching Netflix and let little pools of tears form in your ears as you cry.  Not that I’ve done that.  (I totally have.) 

There’s a snippet.  Seriously.  You are worth so much.  Hang in there…it gets easier.  Tell yourself that, and find someone who will tell you when you need it most. 

More to come…



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