To the woman whose husband just left

Fucking hell it hurts. You may have seen this coming, or you might not. Either way I bet it hit you like a ton of bricks.

The realisation that the person you thought would be with you for the rest of your life is going. That you aren’t the most important person to them anymore, maybe you aren’t anyone’s most important person anymore. What’s worse is that they are allowed to go looking for a new important person. It is not a good feeling.

The course of your whole life has just changed and you aren’t driving it, you don’t get to make the decision. You feel like a little rowing boat on the rapids, you know there are probably oars there somewhere but you have no idea what to do with them.

You are probably sat still, you’ve probably just collapsed yourself down wherever the realisation really hit home that this is happening. It is horrible and it is terrifying, it feels like total abandonment.

First of all you’ll feel disbelief. Over and over in your head. I can’t believe it. I’m not ready for it. How did this happen to me?

Then your body joins in. It has noticed what your mind is doing. This sounds bad, it’s thinking. Systems on lock down. Maybe you will faint, maybe you will stop breathing properly, maybe you will get hysterical.

But your body can’t sustain high alert forever. You’ll get worn out and flop from the exhaustion of what has happened. And yes, when you wake up again you will feel shit. Really shit. But you won’t feel quite so shit as you did when it hit you the first time. Nothing is that bad. The worst is done and you survived it.

There will be many more brick walls and rapids to get through. Maybe you will hear your wedding song on the way to work, maybe there will be some hideous discoveries along the way, harsh words said back and forth, or simply the stark realisation of all the things you will never experience together. It is unlikely to be a fun process.

I know being strong is no substitute for love. But you will get stronger.

All the ‘you don’t need a man to be happy’ clichés are true. Little pockets of happiness are coming your way (along with the odd metaphorical brick to the face too).

My therapist says the grief is like an onion, you just have to peel back one layer at a time. They won’t all come away at once but you don’t want to carry that stinking onion around forever. Got to keep peeling. Have a cry for an hour / day / week then get on with your life. But the rest of that onion is still waiting for you till you work your way through it.

I think once you get rid of that onion you may feel a little sad, but what you will also feel is empowerment. Getting through divorce and coping on your own is an accomplishment and when you realise you did it I think you will feel strong. Just got to keep peeling until you get there.

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