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Coming to terms

Question

Hi Lisa,

I just bought Closure and stayed up late into the evening last night, scanning through the whole thing, because it is SO what I am ready for right now. I’m looking forward to working through each chapter in detail.

My 40-something husband left our 14+ year marriage very suddenly (to me, and to family/friends) about a year and a half ago. We dated for 3yrs prior to the marriage, so we were together a long time.

It took a six-month separation for him to admit that he wanted to make it permanent. This period was full of intense grief and anxiety for me. Some of the things he blurted out included the “facts” that he never should have married me, doesn’t feel he really loved me, thought about having affairs or finding something better all the time, picked fights just to try to get us to fight or for me to leave him, and just hung in there all that time because he “didn’t want to hurt me.” (Oh, thanks!)  This was all complete news to me. I felt as though we had a happy and very close marriage, and we spent lots of time together.

So much has happened since he left. From my first scan of your book, it looks like I have actually worked through some of the same stages and things that I have needed to do — acceptance for sure (the most difficult), and realizing it is indeed for the best and there is more to life and love “out there” for me. I have even met a new man who is opening up many new doors for me, and giving me things I never thought possible before.

I am in fact very excited about this new beginning, but there is still a lot of sadness and sometimes depression about how long I was with my husband, loving him very deeply (really, my only positive relationship to that time), and knowing now that he was not loving me back like I thought he was. ALL THAT TIME, so many years! I am now almost 50yrs old and was with him since I was 30 — so I feel like those were my “best” years, too.

I guess my question is:  I can’t think or come to terms with what it is that we taught each other, so I can feel it wasn’t a huge waste of time and emotion on my part. We had no children (another thing that I grieved over and I am trying to come to terms with). So I am really starting over entirely, just ME.

Maybe I was there to teach HIM only? I know I did learn big lessons from this (and I’m trying very hard for them not to be lessons of bitterness, ha ha).  For example, I know that I deserve grand passion and much affection and desire from my partner, and I want to feel more excitement and enthusiasm for life, instead of valuing only safety and quiet comfort.

But did it really have to take such a large portion of my life for this one lesson? I feel cheated that so many years were spent on a marriage that he never wanted. Sometimes it is easier to tell myself that he DID love me back then, that he is just telling himself these things now, to make it easier on himself. I did feel loved all those years. But am I not facing reality by believing that he DID love me?

I wish I could get over this part, this feeling that so much time and energy (and life choices based on the idea I was with that partner for life) were all completely wasted in service of this one lesson, as great as it might be. Any advice?

Sorry this is so long… and I will explore your site further. Maybe the answer is already here for me. Thanks so much for writing this book.

Answer

I hear you.  And you’re not alone.  A lot of people go through this same thing.  And there are no right or wrong answers, every situation and every person and every experience is different.  hopefully going through some of the exercises in the back of the book will help you to gain clarity. 

If you felt loved, then you were loved.  He may be saying those things to justify his current actions, or to hurt you.  But it doesn’t matter.  You have to let all of that go. You may never get the answers, and that has to be okay.  You learned about yourself, you learned about what you really need and want in a relationship – and that’s huge.  Everything happens for a reason, there are no mistakes.  When you get to the point in your life where you feel gratitude, then you know you have closure.  There’s no timeline on this, no pressure.  Let life unfold.

 Sending lots of love,

Lissa