A popular question I get from time to time:
“How can I move on and get over my wife?”
Let’s first look at what it is that men are talking about exactly when they ask for help “getting over” their ex (or soon to be ex-wife).
What they really mean is, “How can I break this addiction?”
Make no mistake about it, you are mentally and physically addicted to your wife. She has been in your little world for YEARS and every facet of your life has her stamp on it. From your daily routine, your kids, vacations, hobbies, etc… she’s there. She’s another limb on your body. For that to suddenly GO AWAY is not a little thing.
Just like trying to break substance abuse, getting over your ex is a big F’ing deal and one that makes your body and brain naturally scream, “Now, hold on a second. Wait… Let’s talk about this first.”
But just like with drugs, when you finally get over the hump and break that connection and start the real healing process… you’re left with this overwhelming sense of regret. “Why didn’t I stop drinking years ago? I feel so much better. God, what a waste of life that was.”
Feel Horrible -> Get over the hump -> Begin rebuilding -> Feel a million times better than before.
So… how do you do it? How do you get over the hump?
Well… You just do it.
Sorry, there’s no magic formula here. I can only tell you what makes the disconnect happen faster (cutting as much contact as humanly possible and keeping busy), but It’s still up to you to make that first step and put down that proverbial bottle and not pick it up again. It’s up to you to call the attorney and get your ducks in a row and figure out the steps for an amicable divorce and moving away from her so you can rebuild.
The two rules of recovery:
1, You cannot rebuild while you are in the presence of your ex-wife.
2. You cannot overcome the grief if you are in regular contact with your ex-wife.
You cannot overcome alcohol addiction by having just a little shot of whiskey here and there. It’s the same damn thing.
You absolutely have to break contact with her. Completely. Cold turkey.
“But… we have kids.”
Then your contact should be kept to brief logistical text messages. “Making sure you’re getting kids after school today. I will swing by and get them at 6:00. Thanks.” or “Tommy has strep throat. Got meds from doc. He’ll be ok in a couple of days. I’ll stay home from work with him.”
No personal talk. No casual chats. No friendliness.
If she texts “How are you doing?”, you ignore.
If she calls, you don’t answer the phone.
If she shows up at your place, you don’t answer the door. If she refuses to leave, you call the police.
If she bad-mouths you to the kids, you don’t respond. You let it go. You let your actions do the talking. You be the best dad in the universe and never say a bad word about mom to your kids. Ever. They will just internalize that negativity and think less of themselves. Your positive energy will pay dividends years down the line.
See, you can’t interact with or bad-mouth a ghost. “A ghost?” Yes… she’s a ghost. Why do I call her a ghost? Because…
SHE IS DEAD.
The woman you knew and loved doesn’t exist. She was an imaginary friend. You think fondly of your memories, but that’s all there is. Memories. Chapter closed. Movie over. You move on. Just like you do when a loved one dies. You didn’t sit around and cry for days on end when Uncle Bob passed away. You attended the funeral, you mourned with family, and you moved on. Bob is in the ground. Life kept going on without him.
In the case of your wife leaving you, you do much the same.
You get busy. You stay away from women for a while. You focus on yourself. If you are not with the kids, you are Mr. Selfish. You only worry about yourself and what you can do to improve. The gym is your new temple.
IT WILL SUCK.
You will feel HORRIBLE for a little while. You don’t have your drug, after all. What makes it worse is that your drug is RIGHT THERE and only a phonecall or text away. All you gotta do is answer the door when she cries on your doorstep, and you have your immediate shot of heroin.
You will just go right back to where you started.
Most men know all this stuff. They know you just have to get away from the broken woman for good, but most men don’t want to. They know how much the process will suck. They don’t want to give up the warm, comfortable feeling of familiarity that their drug provides. They don’t want to go into withdrawal and vomit all over the place while having delusions of a dead baby crawling on the ceiling (Trainspotting reference… awesome movie).
These guys are just scared and understandably so.
MOST THINGS IN LIFE THAT ARE WORTH DOING REQUIRE A SCARY LEAP OF FAITH.
Just fucking do it. Get help if you need to. Talk it out with friends. But make no mistake… you NEED to do it. If not, you will slowly die on the inside. It’s as simple as that. You don’t want to be 98 years old and sitting in a chair taking your last breath and saying to yourself, “Why didn’t I just fucking leave? God, I was so stupid. What a waste.”
That’s regret. You don’t want regret. There’s nothing worse.
ARE YOU WORTH IT?
Maybe that’s the crux of your problem. Maybe you feel you’re not WORTH anything better than a cheating wife. Be honest with yourself. Is that it? Maybe you need to dig deeper down into your past and figure out why exactly it is that you: 1. Were attracted to a woman like this to begin with, 2. Stayed with her even though there were lots of red flags, and 3. Tried to stay with her after the bomb drop of infidelity was discovered.
Why the hell aren’t you worth better? Did your wife’s mental issues and gaslighting convince you that you were a crazy, worthless husband? Did family constantly remind you of how lucky you were to be with a woman like her? Does your family now pressure you to stay and keep the family unit together?
Seriously. Fuck all of ’em. Crabs in a bucket. They’re all dragging you down, my man. Get out. Move on. You can be whatever the hell you want to be. Do you want to be the guy that people say, “Awwww… I feel so sorry for him” when they see you picking up your kids from school? Or do you want to be the guy that makes them say, “That guy over there… the cute one? His wife left him and then he just totally changed. He’s got like five girlfriends now. Seriously. My sister dated him. He’s a really good dad, actually. Very cool guy.”
Sound stupid and far-fetched? It’s not. Could very well be you…. You just need to take that first step.
Read. Learn something. It makes you less dumb.