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Heart sore and struggling to go forward

(27 Posts)
Skyblue2 Sun 10-May-20 10:57:10

I have been so impressed by the kindness and support of those on this site and would appreciate a listening ear and any advice.
I was married for over 30 years to someone ten years older than myself who has suffered from serious bouts of mental illness. He was a struggling writer and I was an artist. We were very poor and I did most of the providing. We had no sexual relationship for most of that time due to his inability and avoidance although we were affectionate. I have no children because of this and the financial insecurity and also grieved that I lived so far away from mum having moved to the other end of the country to marry. My mum died just over two years ago and right afterwards I left my husband for someone else. It was a very passionate relationship and we made plans pretty quickly to have a future together. He left a dead marriage and changed his whole life to be with me. He is a good stable man and we are now living together. Last year I started to feel terrible grief and loss and although it was a difficult marriage my ex and I were very close friends. I want to be able to visit as friends and support him but this is proving impossible as my new partner wants me to move on. I am struggling greatly moving on and feel so stuck trying to start again at the age of 61.

Tangerine Sun 10-May-20 11:01:52

I suppose your new partner worries you will become more than friendly with your husband. He may fear that you will return to him.

Perhaps you could compromise by telephoning your husband instead of visiting him but, to be truthful, I think it might be better for both of you if you moved on with your future. After all, you don't want to give your husband false hope and it may hinder his recovery.

Toadinthehole Sun 10-May-20 11:48:33

I suppose it really depends on how you feel about both of them. Deep down, do you feel more love for one than the other? Do you in fact, love either of them? Are you just trying to convince yourself? Perhaps you should use this time of lockdown to figure out what you really feel, as you are in danger of possibly losing both of them if they feel they’ve been led on. 30 years is a long time to just dismiss, and of course you’re going to feel loss, but it can’t detriment your new relationship. All the best to you.

sodapop Sun 10-May-20 12:39:02

You had major life changes two years ago Skyblue2 and now there is Covid changing life yet again. Give yourself time to think things through and grieve almost for the 30 years that have gone.
Of course you have feelings for your ex you spent a long time caring for him. Now though you have a chance of happiness and fulfilment with your new man so enjoy it. Limit the contact you have with your ex that is leading to unrealistic expectations on all sides. I changed my life completely at your age too and love my new life and husband, I still have contact with my ex and we meet when I go to UK but its limited. Move on and good luck.

Hithere Sun 10-May-20 13:35:31

Your new partner feels threatened about your wanting to get in touch with your ex- wisely

You admit yourself you dont know how to move on - are you 100% sure you are over your ex?

You have a good life now. I think this is a case of pink coloured glasses about the past.
Think about how your future steps affect this present as you may not be able to have both

Oopsadaisy3 Sun 10-May-20 14:38:40

Think of all the reasons you left your ex. Nothing has changed there.
You need to let go and move on, phone occasionally, send cards, don’t get sucked back in to an old relationship that finished, because it wasn’t and still isn’t what you want.
You have a good man, give yourself a chance with him, you might find though that you jumped out of one relationship and into another one too quickly, and that this one isn’t right for you either.

Jane10 Sun 10-May-20 14:42:24

Look at it another way. How would you feel if he wanted to go back to his previous partner for all the reasons that you want to visit yours? Not very happy I suspect. He sounds like a good bloke. Give him time to process this. Also you might feel better in time yourself.

Skyblue2 Sun 10-May-20 17:36:41

Thank you for all your comments. I appreciate them. I think because my ex is so broken and lonely it pains me to not be able to give any comfort. My leaving was very sudden and he has suffered such loss. I have encouraged my new partner to stay in touch with his ex wife and I would not feel threatened in any way by this.

Hithere Sun 10-May-20 17:42:09


Your ex has had 2 yrs to cope with the breakup

You are not responsible for his loneliness and providing comfort

BlueBelle Sun 10-May-20 18:11:57

This is a blueprint for your latest relationship to go really really wrong

Skyblue2 Sun 10-May-20 19:03:00

Thank you Hithere. I needed to hear that

jeanie99 Mon 11-May-20 03:08:48

Move on,
your x is responsible for his own life.
Staying in touch is no help whatsoever and it is upsetting for your partner and you could end up alone.

notnecessarilywiser Mon 11-May-20 08:18:00

It's not clear whether your ex shares your wish to be on friendly terms, Skyblue2 . I get the feeling that you want to assuage some guilt, but please consider whether you would be disturbing whatever equilibrium your ex has built up over the past two years. You forced him into a new phase of his life, let him live it without you as best he can.

(Please note, absolutely no criticism of your or the actions you've taken to date - I have some experience of this inner conflict.)

Kestrel Mon 11-May-20 08:39:55

It sounds to me like you are stuck in the groove of trying to rescue your ex - this has made you feel wanted and needed over the years but has also made you very unhappy. Maybe something from your childhood where you were in the role of 'rescuer' with your parents/sibling(s) and unconsciously carried that on into your adult life? I would suggest cutting ties with your ex, appreciating your current spouse and finding out why you need to rescue? (Hope i'm not way off here.) You deserve to be happy with your current wonderful spouse

Sparklefizz Mon 11-May-20 09:16:48

I echo exactly what Kestrel has said above.

Purplepixie Mon 11-May-20 09:22:42

Skyblue2 is spot on. He has had 2 years and you need to have a life if we only live the once. Remember you have supported your ex a lot in the past and now it is your time to have some love and happiness. Be kind to yourself for a change. X

Alexa Mon 11-May-20 10:20:37

"Controlling" has many interpretations however I'd say your new husband 's attitude was too controlling. He may feel insecure but that does not justify his getting what he wants.

NotSpaghetti Mon 11-May-20 10:37:31

The death of a mother can be profound. Many of us can relate to that and the emotional changes it triggers. I know I went through a massive transition at that time and it felt deeply unstable.

Are you now quietly wishing you hadn't made this leap - or are you simply needing to find peace with having left your husband (and friend) all alone?

Davida1968 Mon 11-May-20 10:41:37

Wise words from GNs here. (I agree fully with Sodapop.) Wishing you a happy future, Skyblue.

Skyblue2 Mon 11-May-20 18:09:26

Thank you all GNs. I think NotSpaghetti your observations are right in that the upheaval of mums death compounded by my struggles made me vulnerable to someone who is very strong and gave me support. He is the opposite of my ex! It would perhaps have been better to have taken my time and handled a break more compassionately. My ex is so grateful to see me and somehow we comfort each other. Going through intense suffering with someone marks you and I can’t imagine not being his friend.

Hithere Mon 11-May-20 18:13:06

"My ex is so grateful to see me and somehow we comfort each other."

That is a very dangerous road.
Grief can make you take the wrong decisions.

I would wonder why your ex how.provode comfort in ways your current partner cannot.

Hithere Tue 12-May-20 03:35:26

I hate smart phones

I would wonder why and how your ex is able to provide comfort in ways your current partner cannot.

NotSpaghetti Tue 12-May-20 08:44:15

Skyblue2, I feel you were "swept off your feet" by a kind, caring, strong and passionate man at at time of great vulnerability.

I expect he supported you both physically and emotionally in the days and weeks around your mother's death in a way that your husband could not.

It's easier, of course to fly in and perform a "rescue" mission than it is to cope day by day with the banality of ordinary life alongside ones own and ones partner's deep-seated emotions. This is especially true of a time of great turbulence or if a crisis is prolonged.

If you were caring in any way for your mother, and especially if she had "had enough" or been in pain, you will probably have found a sense of relief as well as sorrow at her death. The release of responsibility (maybe of guilt too) may have lightened your load in such a way that at last you felt a sense of freedom.

I'm making assumptions here but maybe you left because the whole world was calling to you and the idea of going back to the same old life was an anathema.

So what can you do?
Only you will truly know this. Maybe you need to think about it a while longer. The old saying "the grass is always greener" may pertain here, whichever way you look at it.

I wish you well. I do do hope you find peace.

Alexa Tue 12-May-20 09:25:28

Skyblue2, you were married for thirty years during which time you cared for and nurtured your husband. how could you possibly not have an enduring affection and responsibility for him? I fail to see how you could put these feelings away in some abandoned attic of consciousness.

If you marry someone else, do you not think the second husband is stupid if he failed to understand you have honourable feelings he does not share and cannot and which sexual passion for him cannot and should not obliterate?

Alexa Tue 12-May-20 09:30:39

PS nobody who is not demented can "start again" like tabula rasa.
Your feelings are not only natural they are laudable. If I were your second husband I'd love you all the more for the strength of your affection for your first husband.

I understand your divided loyalties. However your first duty is to yourself and your own feelings.