I care for her well-being. I mean, I spent 15 years with someone, and I feel like I’m following a guidebook on divorce.

My marriage ended in a mutual tone. She obviously didn’t love me in the same ways she used to, same for me as I used to for her, but she’s still a person, and we still spent 15 years together. Formative parts of our teenage lives were experienced together. It’s not even as-if there’s a void, it’s a gaping hole through to the other side.

I don’t know if she’s dead. I don’t know if she’s ok. I don’t know anything, and I’m afraid to ask. I cut off all contact, as was pretty much universally suggested and even I had a lot of ideas that I’d never really come away from it entirely unless I literally separated my life from her. It’s a divorce. It’s what you do, isn’t it?

I just want her to know it wasn’t so much by choice as it was a commonplace necessity, but… why would she care? I also get the sense that the second my name is seen on any note, it would just the thrown away, and am I even right to send one, and for what long-term purpose?

It’s just a waste of time, isn’t it? We should just move on, but… can I? 15 years. I’m 35 now. I should be spending my last five decent dating years finding someone new, but I’m stuck on her being ok. I don’t even have to be the one to find out, just someone tell me she’s ok.

She probably just hates me and never wants to hear from me anyway, and what good would it do? I’d know how she is, I guess, but she’d have another thread into my life and things could end up more complicated overall.

Every time this comes up in my head, I decide against it, but it keeps coming up, almost daily, like a self-induced torture. “Just don’t think about it!” Easy talk…

  • @Alexc@lemmings.world
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    3310 months ago

    You know you can still remain friends, right? It sounds like that’s the part of the marriage you still miss…

    There’s literally zero reason to cut off all contact unless that’s what she has explicitly stated (or that you want). I’m still very good friends with my former wife, for example, and we split over 14 years ago now and still talk at least once a week.

    The only caveat I would give is that you are both firmly in each others friend zone’s here. You both have to be OK with each other dating - no jealousy. If you cannot handle that, then yes, stay away.

    It also means any new partner you get will have to be OK with that, too. They will have a right to be jealous and discuss that with you, but it’s not ok for them to say you cannot see your ex, if that’s what you want.

    • @utopianfiat@lemmy.world
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      1510 months ago

      OP says that NC was “universally suggested” (by whom???)

      That’s the most baffling part of this. Bro cut off all contact with someone they spent 15 years with and is surprised when it hurts.

      • BlinkerFluidOP
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        910 months ago

        By my family for the most part, and anyone else I’ve talked to regarding divorce, as if it’s so matter-of-fact.

        I mean I get the idea. If we are absent from eachother’s lives, the separation will be that much easier and less like slowly ripping off a band aid.

        I’m not surprised, “bro”. I fully expected to be a miserable pile of shit. I’m in a divorce from 15 years of marriage.

          • BlinkerFluidOP
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            210 months ago

            About four years before the divorce, her best friend got pregnant. It was my wife’s dream to have kids, and instead of accepting her best friend’s gift as a miracle for her, she let jealousy get the best of her and lashed out at nearly everyone we knew.

            It changed my idea of who she was and how she was, and it changed her. Yeah, we tried nearly everything, but she just plain couldn’t have kids. I was tested multiple times, so was she, over and over again. Why us, why me, why, god, why.

            Our marriage kind of hit this hopeless wall. We had a step on the stairs that we couldn’t reach. As a result of her actions during her friend’s pregnancy, a lot of bad shade got thrown her way online and towards me from her, for sticking up for her friend.

            well… buddy.

            I know, but I can’t lie about that, even to her. It was complete and total bullshit for her to hold bad feelings against her best friend for the simple fact that my wife couldn’t get pregnant and she could and she never even once came close to any sort of apology or even a glitter of remorse.

            While this is the original tidal wave that started everything, things degraded from there to us never even being intimate, to remembering the pregnancy attempt days as almost like having sex because it was mandatory, not due to choice and it even broke our attraction to each other.

            Two people with 15 years of memories, half good, half regretful and no physical connection whatsoever due to the trauma and bad blood and no one budging an inch on their point of view, the only direction things had to go was down.

            • @SkyezOpen@lemmy.world
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              410 months ago

              It sounds like couple’s therapy might have helped, but I wasn’t there so I can’t say for sure so I’ll just assume the relationship is truly over for the sake of my advice.

              Firstly, talk to a therapist. Right now you are suffering tremendous emotional trauma. Just talking it out (kind of like you are here) will help a lot, and a therapist will help you process things. That’s the number 1 thing.

              Secondly, just worry about you for now. Don’t feel the need to rush into a relationship because of some ticking clock. A new girl won’t heal the void inside you and it wouldn’t be fair to her to try.

              I haven’t been in your shoes exactly, but I’ve carried trauma from a previous relationship into a new one and it didn’t end well. Not dramatically, but we both knew it was over years before I actually left. I contented myself with being alone forever until someone who cared pushed me into therapy 4 years later.

        • @Usul_00_@lemmy.world
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          110 months ago

          Fwiw, lots of people do manage to have a good relationship after divorce. My ex cheated on me for years, and I’m glad we are divorced, but the 15+ good years were real too. We don’t talk often, and rarely text, but if I have a question where her perspective would help, I totally call. We also keep up on each other’s families. It was my family for a long time too, and vice versa.

        • @shasta@lemm.ee
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          110 months ago

          A no-contact situation is the best way to “rewind the clock” and pretend it never happened. But it’s totally fine to accept your past, understand that you’re both different people now who are simply incompatible, and move on with your new stage in life (with or without her as you both see fit).

          The decision is up to you. I personally did a no contact break up from a LTR for about 4 years before I reconnected with my ex. I knew from observing how she treated her friends while we were together that she was a great friend and a good person. That kind of friend is hard to find so I reached out to see if she was interested in being friends. I made a short but very awkward speech about why, which also made it clear I had no intentions of being romantically involved again (that’s pretty key). And things worked out well. After catching up, she revealed that she realized she was gay after our break up. Suddenly our incompatibilities made more sense. Hindsight is 20-20.

        • @Alexc@lemmings.world
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          110 months ago

          You’re putting a lot of faith in other people’s opinions. Divorce doesn’t mean you never have to see her again, despite what anyone else tells you.

          Yes, it most cases, it’s a good idea - mainly as the divorce is acrimonious. It sounds like yours was not.

          I can guess at a few reasons your family may say this:

          • they never liked her (for you)
          • they think you’ll backslide and/or make a fool of yourself
          • they don’t understand why you divorced

          You know how you feel - it sounds like, after seven months, you want to reach out to your ex-wife and ask her how she is. This is a natural thing for a friend to do. If I were you I’d do it as it’s better to regret what you did that didn’t. You should also tell her that, if she doesn’t want contact with you, all she has to do is say and that you’ll respect it.

          At this point, it sounds no more complicated than that

          • BlinkerFluidOP
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            210 months ago

            My mom never liked her, and my best friend(cousin) never liked her. Two people I hold pretty high opinions of, but yeah, their bias hasn’t helped much.

            Mom even asked if I really even loved her that much. I was with her for 15 years. I had to have some hope, and I did, for a long time but eventually you don’t have anything else to give. You don’t have any more time for negative horseshit despite doing everything you can do, never even able to make a positive move for it being seen as me being “up to something”.

            Immovable object meet unstoppable force.

  • @Lifecoach5000@lemmy.world
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    1710 months ago

    You need another 7 months at least to heal and move on. Sounds like you maybe just needed to vent about it here and that’s ok. Dealing with this kind of loss it’s just going to be a process. Focus on your self worth and try to realize that it’s not necessarily your place anymore to wonder if she’s “ok”. Hopefully you’re practicing some things that are working on making yourself feel “ok” without any of that being tied to her.

    • BlinkerFluidOP
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      410 months ago

      I don’t want other people tied up in my feelings for her. I’ve had two dates in the six months, and yeah, plenty of flirting but it’s mostly talk and I don’t go much further. There’s still shit keeping me from accepting someone else.

      I told my cousin I’d hold off on dating until I had more to offer another person other than misery.

      • @Lifecoach5000@lemmy.world
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        410 months ago

        Sounds like you’re being very self aware and smart about it. No need to plunge back into the dating pool too quick - especially when you know you’ve still got this baggage.

  • @Crackhappy@lemmy.world
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    1510 months ago

    My wife and I divorced. I helped her move out. We talk every other day because we still like each other just fine, we just weren’t good as a couple. She just sent me pics of her trip to Mexico with her BF and I was very happy with her. But that’s how my relationships go. It’s up to you how yours go.

  • @utopianfiat@lemmy.world
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    1310 months ago

    Here’s a weird suggestion: Reach out to her and propose relationship counseling. It’s absolutely not healthy for an amicable breakup to be NC. You can absolutely go to a relationship counselor with to goal of figuring out how to end your marriage and rediscover yourselves as friends- but the fact that you went NC tells me that either you’re leaving something huge out of this, or you don’t know how to negotiate your boundaries as ex-partners and are afraid of falling back into a loveless relationship.

    When you spend that long with someone, even if you don’t love them, they become a part of your life in a way that always hurts to tear out. You’re basically mourning a loss, and I think y’all recognize that the weight of that loss could make both of you repeat stupid mistakes.

    That having been said, if there’s a good reason why you’re NC, then I don’t have a lot of great advice for you, other than to forget her and move on. If you’re ready for intimacy but not ready for a relationship, be very open with the people you’re dealing with that you’re looking for something casual and have the baggage of a 15 year relationship behind you.

  • @rhacer@lemmy.world
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    910 months ago

    My first wife and I split up twice, the first time for 20 months, the second time permanently about two years later. Our marriage made it about 25 years.

    After the divorce we had some rough moments, some pointed emails, some attorney involvement. Then I got remarried, and my ex actually made my wife feel welcome, part of the family. My daughter considers my ex her “other mother”. We have a spectacular relationship. My wife and my ex have actually cooked dinner for our entire blended family together.

    I say all that to say that there is hope for a high-quality relationship with an ex. It takes work to get there but the rewards are worthwhile.

  • @UPGRAYEDD@lemmy.world
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    610 months ago

    There is a real difference between knowing the relationship wont work and not being in love with the person. I broke up with my first love after 10 years. I logically knew we were bad for each other at that point. We grew in different directions and wanted different things. However, i still loved her. I had feelings of jealousy thinking about her with another person.

    In this case, no contact would have been much better, but we texted each other for maybe a 2 months or so, and it made it much worse for me. I was unable to even start healing until we 100% cut off. I am not sure if she felt similar. She initiated the end of the relationship, so maybe she had also lost the feelings that i still kept.

    That first year was pretty terrible tbh, but i also have some very fond memories of the wild things i did with friends trying to cheer me up. I also got into the best shape of my life. Exercise was a savior i never would have thought of.

    In the long run, it led me to meeting my current wife and traveling the path we both want instead of some compromise me and my ex would have both hated.

    If your case is similar, i think no contact is good advice. If you have any thoughts of getting back together, any jealousy etc, i would still keep away. If there is none of that, then i have no advice, because i dont have that life experience.

    • BlinkerFluidOP
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      10 months ago

      For a long time I went with the old adage that everyone is just the same person experiencing themselves. I felt that, were I nice and did things for my family and spent time with my loved ones that the feelings regarding her would eventually fade to nothing, but they haunt me every night. Every location, every place we rented, every fight, every look, every crack in the wall of our relationship before it went down.

      And it doesn’t matter. I can tell myself that as many thousand times as I want, that it’s all in the past and none of it matters… so then why won’t it go away? Why do I still care about something I can’t help?

      I guess in my perfect world, we would’ve worked it out. We would’ve had kids. We would’ve had that house everyone wants on the hill with the golden retriever and white picket fence. It was right fucking there, but it just didn’t happen that way. Problems led to intimacy excuses led to lies and deceit and backstabbing.

      There was a time where we were so fucking sure of it all.

  • @NocturnalMorning@lemmy.world
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    610 months ago

    I was only married for a year, and was with my partner for 4 years. Had a lot of baggage of my own I brought into the relationship, and I talked at length about it in therapy.

    You’re going through a process similar to grieving the death of a loved one, except it’s your marriage.

    It’s natural to feel the way you do. Give yourself space to feel whatever you are feeling, and go easy on yourself.

  • @cabbagee@sopuli.xyz
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    410 months ago

    Just because you don’t love her as a wife doesn’t mean you have to stop loving her on other levels. It’s beautiful that you care for her and maybe there is a non-romantic relationship for you two in the future. There’s a reason you were drawn together in the first place. Maybe you’ll find you’re better off as friends. Maybe extended family. Maybe just a fond memory.

    It sounds too soon to build a new relationship, but you could drop a line saying you’re still there if she ever needs you. Take time and try to focus on finding out what kind of life you want to make for yourself. Set goals and take baby steps. Best of luck, friend.

  • @captainlezbian@lemmy.world
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    410 months ago

    Once you’re done healing you can seriously ask yourself if you want her as a friend. But where you are now isn’t there. You divorced for a reason and that reason is so you could both try your hands at finding a relationship that worked better. Right now you aren’t ready for that as to be expected. It sounds like you’ve never been an adult without her. Of course that’s hard, and of course you feel so badly damaged and emptied. But if she’s filling that hole, you aren’t letting it heal.

    Seriously imagine trying to date and fall in love with a woman who left her ex husband, but felt so empty that she had to bring him back into her life.

    Go learn to live on your own as an adult. Make new friends. Get comfortable. Heal. Then when you feel like you’re genuinely in a place you don’t need her or another partner, then you can do two things: start looking for someone new and reach out to an old friend you happen to have been married to once.

  • SokathHisEyesOpen
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    310 months ago

    It sounds like you shouldn’t have gotten divorced. Nobody loves each other the same as they did when they first got married after 15 years. That doesn’t mean it’s time to get a divorce, it means it’s time to explore and learn about the evolution of love. Maybe you should find her and get remarried.

  • @MataVatnik@lemmy.world
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    310 months ago

    I might go against the grain here. Speaking from personal experience and speaking from experience of seeing other goes through break ups similar to these my opinion is to wait it out. In all the cases I’ve seen it was never a good idea to reinstate contact. You can be addicted to people whether you love them or not and like with any addiction your brain will try rationalize the craziest excuses to see that person again.

  • @TIN@feddit.uk
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    310 months ago

    Some good advice here which I won’t contradict.

    What I will say though is that wherever you got the idea that you only have five more decent dating years you need to throw that perception straight out. I’m 47 now and having a blast on the dating scene with all the other divorcees!

  • sacredbirdman
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    210 months ago

    It can take a few years to process after a long relationship… give yourself time. Also, I’ve seen people find the love of their life in their 60s and 70s. There’s no rush in that front either =)