try to reunite or let him go
February 17, 2010 2:56 PM   Subscribe

Divorce remorse... or something more? Can I try to make up with my ex-husband? Sad details to follow.

A few years ago I began having problems with depression. I kept these mostly to myself & was able to hide how bad off I actually was. I self-medicated with alcohol, my thoughts became disillusioned, and the marriage started having problems. Well, there were problems in the marriage before - and my drinking wasn't the cause of the problems, but it sure as hell didn't help. These problem were fixable, i just couldn't see it at the time.
I let the depression ride and started having delusional thoughts - things like my family hating me, my husband hating me, things were awful, there was no solution to my unhappiness but to get out. So I did. I seperated. I got involved in another relationship. The divorce went through - with minimal drama - I kept it amicable, as did he.

But - I did disrupt our lives. I cost us a lot of money in lawyer costs. I hurt our families. "Amicable" doesn't mean it was easy at all.

During this year we haven't talked much. He has always been kind & willing to, I know - but I haven't been able to face him due to how ashamed I am for hurting him so deeply.

In the past 5 months, I have been sober. I started facing my depression & helping myself sort through it all. I realize how wrong my thinking was when I was going through all the horrible times. I feel like the fog has lifted, and reality has truly set in. And unfortunately with that new-found clarity, the realization that I have mad a grave mistake by leaving a man that loved me deeply and treated me so well.

I feel unworthy of him now, but I miss him very much & would like a second chance. I loved him deeply from the start until about 2 years ago, when my depression kicked in. We were married almost 10 years. We were a great couple once-upon a time. Am I wrong in thinking about the possibility of reuniting? Should I let him go & accept this as the biggest mistake of my life? If I approach him, I'm terrified he would reject me & hate me. Has anyone out there been through anything like this? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
He has the right to decide what he wants-but what that means is he needs a chance to decide he wants to begin again with you.

You are truly no worse off if he says no. You have a lot to gain if he says yes.

You have made a lot of changes, for the better, especially in that you have 5 months sobriety-congrats on that.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:02 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

It's big-girl pants time for you, friend. Move on and let him do the same.
posted by Pecinpah at 3:05 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think his best interest is the most important thing here and should take precedence FAR beyond anything else..

Be honest: is it in his best interest to reunite with you after only what sounds like less than a year of separation, and only 5 months of sobriety? I don't know the answer to this question, but it sounds very soon. How do you know this won't devolve into him being jerked around and end in even more pain to him?

I know you miss him, love him, and want a second chance. But what about him? What does he want? What's good for him?
posted by Ashley801 at 3:05 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

I see no reason not to go for what you want. I would say that you should be certain about your path to recovery. I'd also avoid relationships so that you are available to him.

Start slowly, by sending him a letter expressing remorse. Don't even ask for forgiveness. Also just chat with him from time to time. Let things take a natural course.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:05 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

(I think you should talk to him about those last three questions, without putting any of your wants into the picture).
posted by Ashley801 at 3:06 PM on February 17, 2010

PS Do you have kids. You forgot to mention that
posted by majortom1981 at 3:13 PM on February 17, 2010

In AA, they recommend not starting new relationships or making major life decisions until you've been sober for at least a year. I think that advice applies here.
posted by decathecting at 3:14 PM on February 17, 2010 [15 favorites]

In the past 5 months, I have been sober. I started facing my depression & helping myself sort through it all. I realize how wrong my thinking was when I was going through all the horrible times. I feel like the fog has lifted, and reality has truly set in.
Would this self-improvement have happened if you stayed in the marriage? If no, then it seems to me that the divorce forced you into a more healthy place, and may not be the complete negative you seem to see it as.

As far as facing your ex-husband, I would say it would be fine to share with him the quote I pulled from your askme but stop there and see how things develop over time. I think it's possible you may damage things more if you try to push a reconciliation that he may not want or be ready for. You've had some hard life lessons and though it might be rough for a bit, those lessons will probably help you in the long run. The trick is to weather the short run, and the only way to do that is to take it a day at a time.
posted by forforf at 3:20 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

Take the time to fix yourself first. You don't want to reunite with him and have the same old triggers set you off again, nothing would be gained from that. When you are on very solid ground (depression under control, counseling, a longer term of sobriety, etc) then you may consider talking to him about reuniting. Or then again, you may have had time to let your lonliness pass and you may find a whole new life.
posted by MsKim at 3:22 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

i was going to say what decathecting said - a year is the most common recommend time period.

also - until you get over this: I feel unworthy of him now, it doesn't seem like reuniting will be the best for your mental health.

what does your therapist and/or recovery system think about you going down that path right now?
posted by nadawi at 3:40 PM on February 17, 2010

My gut tells me you shouldn't.

(FWIW, I am amicably divorced, too. Now 8 years later, I am very very happily re-married.)

I'm sorry - but I must call bullshit on your version of the story behind your 2 years of depression.

This is not a popular viewpoint here on the green, but I thoroughly believe most major depressions are caused by being engaged with people and situations that do not support us. Everyone else seems to think it's caused by a "chemical imbalance." I think it's exactly the opposite. I think the chemical imbalance and other biological symptoms are caused by prolonged involvement and exposure to bad situations. Enter the alcohol, because it helps us shield the truth from ourselves.

In your narrative, you kinda make it sound like the depression just appeared out of thin air. I doubt that. Furthermore, your intimate partner, the man you shared a household and a bed with - he didn't notice you were in significant marriage-ending pain for two years. You are now free and clear of the marriage and are getting well and staying sober. Suddenly, you start looking back on this time in your life and you think you had a decent or savable relationship with this man back when you were married? Really?

I worry you are not being honest with yourself about the nature of the relationship, the etymology of the depression and the drinking.

My gut tells me you should get back together with your ex-husband if you want to slide back into depression and drinking.

I also think he let you go easily because he was as relieved to be done with the charade as you were at the time.

Why would you want to go back to that?

Stay healthy. Move forward.
posted by jbenben at 5:03 PM on February 17, 2010 [14 favorites]

I don’t think you should “go for what you want” because I’m not entirely sure you are clear about what you want. What does a “second chance” look like to you – e.g. you move in again, go back to being that great couple once-upon a time, just like that? (Using fairytale language is always a red flag for me.)

I think you need to keep going forward with getting yourself healthy. I’ve never been through addiction or depression myself, but 5 months does not sound like a long time to be sober, given that your depression started a few years ago. So, ok: you feel ashamed, are realizing that your thinking was wrong, that you miss him, that you’re thinking about reuniting. There is nothing wrong with all these feelings. But just because you’re thinking about reuniting, doesn’t mean you should. You also say you loved him deeply from the start until about 2 years ago. But you didn’t say “I still love him now.” My sense is that you want to get back together with him to make all these newfound, shitty feelings stop. Keep working through these feelings. Don’t focus on him or thinking about a relationship with him as a way to stop feeling what you’re feeling – that sounds like another form of self-medicating.

Also, you feel unworthy of him, think this is the biggest mistake of your life, are terrified of rejection and that he will hate you. Getting back with him or trying to is not going to fix those thoughts and feelings. Stop looking for the easy way out and take responsibility for your own well-being. Maybe this isn’t a huge mistake. Maybe you’ve done exactly the right thing.
posted by foxjacket at 6:10 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

The chances of getting back together are slim to none. I would try to be his friend first. This is something you want to move forward with in baby steps. I would not hope for a better outcome than a positive relationship. I would expect less than that.

I would call him and focus on trying to have a conversation. The thousand mile journey begins with one step...
posted by xammerboy at 7:49 PM on February 17, 2010

Send him a link to this and see what he says...
posted by bananafish at 11:33 PM on February 17, 2010

« Older Translation of asian writing   |   Should I give up on therapy? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.