Q. My wife recently divorced me over finances. I promised her that I would work so that she could stay home while the kids were young; that was 20 years ago. I tried; I never stopped trying. She is seeing someone else. I love my wife. Our kids and I are heart-broken. I continue to work to provide to win her back. My heart hurts in ways and places I never imagined.
A. I am so sorry about your loss. Divorce and knowing your ex is with someone else can feel absolutely devastating. I use the word loss because it is important for you to recognize that you (and your kids) are going through a grief process. You experience the death of your marriage, of your family as you knew it.
Finances are a common reason for marital troubles but usually, it is less about money and more about power struggles. Money represents power. Finances may play a role but I have no doubt that there were other contributing factors.
Have you considered going to a divorce support group, either in your community or through your church? By writing to me, it is clear that you seek support. It is not easy to process this loss on your own. A support group can help lift you up, slowly, over time, out of the darkness.
I caution you to be careful around your children. For parents, it is a fine line between sharing in your children’s grief as a way of supporting them versus leaning on them emotionally (which believe me, you might do without even realizing it). If your kids see you depressed, crying a lot, or in any way distressed, they will organically feel a need to take care of you.
It is a subtle care taking approach like hugging you more, not going out to be with friends so that you are not alone. The behaviors are not always overt and obvious. Remember, that your role as a parent is to make sure that YOU take care of THEM.
The post divorce period is a delicate time. Surround yourself with loved ones, take extra care of yourself, lean on your adult friends and/or find a support group or professional to work with.
Focus more on your own self-care rather than on reuniting with your spouse. I am sure you have many emotions with your ex that you need to process. Again, I highly encourage you to seek out adults who can support you.
Remember that even though you still love her, post-divorce reunion is not common. I would not want you to hold reunion as your only goal, extending your grief process even further when it does not happen. It sounds like she has moved on, as you process your own grief, I hope that you can find hope and love in your life, even if it does not include her.