I have been married to Kofi for the past 15 years. We share 2 children ages 11 and 13. During our marriage, he’s been absent most of the time due to the nature of his job. I have been supportive of him and never complained until that fateful day when I answered an anonymous phone call.
A woman was asking to speak to my husband and when I asked who she was, she said she’s his wife. I found out the truth when I confronted Kofi and he confessed that it’s true and they even share a daughter.
I divorced him but I still can’t get past my husband’s infidelity. Was it my fault? Is there something I could have done differently? Why I’m I still bitter after 3 years of my divorce? Please, I need closure before I can move on to the next phase of my life.
It sounds like it has been very disturbing for you to find out that your husband of 15 years had been leading a ‘double life’, married to two women and with two families. This is no doubt complicated by the fact that he has been lying to you about his life for a great many years.
When I say ‘disturbing’, I mean that it sounds like you are having a range of feelings about what happened over such a long period and the outcome of this is that you still feel ‘bitter’ about everything that took place three years after your divorce.
It sounds like you feel betrayed but part of you wonders if you did something wrong. It sounds like you are scared by what happened: What did it mean about your relationship with your husband? And what did it mean about the relationship of your children to their father? Did he ever really love you all?
It also sounds like you feel sad about what happened as well but the word ‘bitter’ suggests you are angry too.
So Amanda, if you wish to make a full emotional recovery from what has happened, you will need to give yourself time to focus on feeling each and all the different feelings that arise for you as you consider what has taken place. If your sadness makes you feel like crying, I encourage you to do so. If you feel scared, let yourself feel that too, however you experience that in your body. If you are angry, then you need to scream and/or hit things so that your anger can be safely released (rather than directed at your children or other innocent people). Of course, your anger is directed at your former husband but there is no point expecting him to listen to it now. However, you can imagine telling him or even hitting him but do it so that no one is injured. See ‘The Importance of Being Angry’.
I make these suggestions because I am keen to help you find closure and move on with your life. It is allowing yourself time and space to feel all of these feelings that will enable you to do so. If you don’t know where to start, focus on the feeling of bitterness and see if you can perceive the different strands of that feeling and what they are about. And don’t be surprised if something links back to your childhood. None of us ever had all of the time, space and support we needed to feel everything that was happening in our life and so we end up with a lot of suppressed feelings.
If you like, you can read more about the importance of expressing your feelings and how to do so safely in the article ‘Putting Feelings First’.
As you recover from this emotionally devastating event Amanda, you will start to look at the world with more sense of optimism and regain your sense that you still have many opportunities.
And if your children need support to recover as well, you will get a clear idea of how to help them in the article ‘Nisteling: The Art of Deep Listening’.