Do You REALLY Want To Know Why He Left, Or Are You Just Venting?

Self, Heartbreak

After a shattering heartbreak as an Other Woman, I have done five tough years of research on affairs, codependency, and relationships.

No matter how searing the truth, I wanted to know it. No matter where it came from — books by therapists, YouTube videos, attachment theory, even astrology — I wanted to know it.

In the course of my research, I discovered a book, written by a therapist, for wives whose husbands took off without explanation. This author has the degrees and all the training. She has a blog on Psychology Today.

She does a great job with the first few chapters, explaining and comforting the turmoil women go through when a husband suddenly turns tail and runs.

And then this person does an incredible thing.

She advises women looking for answers to just forget about it. Forget the whole thing.

That was one thing I did not do, and I am so glad I didn’t.

Without this odyssey for answers, I would still be trying to snag a “successful” man, because they seem more capable than I believed I was.

Without this search for the truth, during times I don’t have at least one close loved one, I’d still be so codependent I feel like a tiny child lost in a department store.

Without the past five years, I would still be the forty-six-year-old, six-year-old I was when all this started.

And the whole point of relationships is to grow up.

I found this author’s Psychology Today blog. A Wailing Wall of women trailed her last post, still torn limb from limb because they didn’t know why their husbands just cut ties and left.

I posted some of what I’ve learned about how you can find out why your man left, and why it might not be such a good idea to block it all out and forget about it.

Perhaps I should have had the good sense and the foresight to word my post as if I were another abandoned wife, instead of a former Other Woman.

But as it was, pow! Immediately I was attacked for wearing The Scarlet Letter. As if I could have no empathy for these women whatsoever.

As if I might not have pondered, long and hard, the feelings of the wife in my situation, or put any thought at all into what I ended up doing.*

These women recoiled in horror at two things: One, the thought that an Other Woman could have helpful insights, and two, any suggestion that they themselves might have contributed to their divorces.

They were desperate for answers, but what I had to say wasn’t what any of them wanted to hear.

For those intrepid enough to consider some unpopular viewpoints, here is what I had to say to these women:

Yes, you can piece together what happened.

Robin Norwood, in her 80’s bestseller Women Who Love Too Much, shows us how you really can forecast the outcome of a relationship from its beginning. Wise lady, Robin Norwood. Must reading. The book has endured for a reason.

People leave clues in their behavior, in the things they said time and time again that you wanted to ignore. In the fights you had over and over, before the two of you finally wilted behind your stone walls of silence.

The biggest clues lurk in how each of you was raised.

No, you do not need your ex for “closure.” The truth is, some people lack self-awareness to such a degree that they really will flee a marriage, never to be heard from again, without knowing why!

But enough is known about relationship problems, attachment wounds from childhood, codependency, narcissism, and commitmentphobia that you can piece together your own history, if you read enough.

Relationships follow broad patterns, and chances are yours falls into one of them.

The most helpful books I have read:

Anything by Steven Carter and Julia Sokol. Harville Hendricks, Getting the Love You Want. Terrence Real, The New Rules of Marriage. Jennifer Sowle, The Everything Guide to Codependency. Diane Poole Heller, The Power of Attachment. Pia Mellody, Facing Love Addiction. Lee Raffel, Should I Stay or Should I Go? Bruce Fisher and Robert Alberti, Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends. Mary C. Lamia and Marilyn J. Krieger, The White Knight Syndrome.

If you recall a lot of abuse in your relationship, go onto YouTube and do a search for “narcissistic abuse.” And do please look up life coach Lisa A. Romano.

Even if your relationship is already over, you may see yourself and your ex in the relationships depicted in these sources. That can provide a lot of answers.

Finally, for slipping me the clues that pointed me to these books, I have to credit my study of astrology. As a starting point, it can bring up some ideas you might never have considered, as long as you apply this rule:

Do I agree with this or not? Why or why not?

There may be consequences if you don’t piece together what happened.

If there is a lesson for you in how your marriage broke up, and you do not see it and learn it, it will be there waiting for you in the next relationship you find … and the one after that … and the one after that.

Maybe it’s better to take that long, hard look now.

Relationship problems begin in childhood.

How you were raised created the template that drew the two of you together in the first place.

The problems that broke you up lay dormant during your first kiss. They lurked in the shadows the night he slipped the diamond on your finger. They carried your train the day you walked down the aisle.

If you don’t believe me, please click on this link, even if you do not think you were cheated on.

If you’re in pain over a broken marriage, just watch all of it. Be sure to watch all three parts. This is a very wise video. It woke me up to all the issues skittering under the creaky floor of the affair I was involved in.

Your husband may have been trying to reach you for years.

Did you have to have everything your way? Did you need to win every argument? Did you speak to your husband with contempt? Did you put him down every time you had a disagreement?

How many times did your husband tell you he was unhappy about something? Did the sex shut down for months or years at a time? Why? Think hard about that.

Did you lobby others in the family to put pressure on your husband? To just give in and go back to some way things used to be that made you and the kids comfortable?

Was “comfort” your biggest priority? Did you shut down anything that disrupted your comfort zone?

Did you see some strange stuff, like depression, or new hobbies, or a refusal to do things you’d always done together, a refusal that you couldn’t make sense of?

When you saw it, did you ever tell him, or anyone else, that he was crazy? Instead of putting yourself in his place, struggling to understand?

Ladies, does any of this sound like you?

If so, your husband may have been struggling to reach you for a very long time, and you were turning a deaf ear.

This isn’t always the case, but it sure was in the marriage I observed.

These are my hard lessons I have to share. Whether I got them as a dumped girlfriend or a wronged wife, or whether astrology is “kooky” or not, doesn’t matter.

The fact is, I understand everything that happened now.

And understanding is a most precious thing.

The Gift of Understanding

Understanding brings forgiveness for all parties concerned.

I see now that nobody really wanted to hurt anybody. We were all struggling human beings, stumbling through thickets of old childhood pain we didn’t understand.

Of course, things we don’t understand look like someone else’s fault. And, oh, are we scared of change!

When we lash out, in our marriage where the spouse can see it, or with our affair partner where they can’t, we believe in the moment that we have no other choices. Actually, we do.

We can research, we can introspect, we can understand. We can comprehend ourselves and other people, instead of striking out in blind anger and judgment. When we do that, understanding brings peace.

With understanding, forgiveness, and peace, moving on isn’t just, “easier.”

It deeply feels like the natural thing to do.

We no longer have to try to force ourselves to forget. We no longer have to grit our teeth and clench our fists, struggling to move ourselves on.

We understand what happened so well now that we are unlikely ever to trip and fall into anything like this again. And that’s what personal growth is.

These four truths can explain — and, yes, they can prevent — a cascade of life-destroying tragedy.

*After nearly running off together, we decided not to. He’s home. They went to marriage counseling. I’m alone.

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P. D. Reader is a student astrologer. Visit her website for more abour relationships, astrology, and affairs.

This article was originally published at Medium.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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