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How do I let go of him? How do I stop thinking of him? For those of us whose husbands have left us, these are questions we find ourselves asking repeatedly. And while all the advice seems to want to rush us into "moving on" and rebuilding our lives, we can't help but linger, pensively wondering where he might be or if he is ever going to come home.

Even worse for some of us, we know exactly where he is — happily ensconced in a new relationship with the chances of him walking back in our front door feeling as remotely distant as our ability to understand why all of this happened.

While our stories are all very different, and there really is no one answer to this elusive question, we can often find nuggets of relevance and truth when we all share our individual journeys. The question of "how do I let go of him" was once posed here in a chat thread, and we found the diversity of answers, suggestions and support overwhelming helpful and worth underscoring.

"How do you let him go?  I can't say that for sure, but it seem to happen for me when I got angry.  The anger seemed to cool the attachment.  I commented to a friend once, "I wish he weren't always on the front burners of my life and mind."  She, who is also divorced, said, "Two years.  It's been two years and when I check, my burners are all cold."  Perhaps it would help if you think of the constant tendency to think about him as a habit to break, but substituting something else.  Whenever you think o him, replace it with "Now I can....." whatever it is that you want to do, even if it is clean the bathroom.  Or, "right now I'm..." and put all your concentration there.  "Right now I'm reading to my child.  Right now I'm taking a walk.  Right now I'm making dinner."  You might also try audio stories on CD.  It keeps my mind occupied but lets me do things that I couldn't if I sat and watched TV. Hang in there - there are lots of people out here to help you through this." 

"It might also help to find fault with him. My stbx sneezes so loudly it hurts my ears. He doesn't like fish, so when he isn't there I cooked salmon, or other types of seafood. I have heard the same jokes, and responses for to many years. He snores, and he puts himself first. I won't even get into all of his issues with other women. He micro-manages everything, especially the finances.etc. etc. etc" 

"I used to love hiking and camping- when I first met my husband, I walked/hiked at least two-three hours per day, and on the weekends I did day hikes.  He convinced me he liked hiking just as much as me...as the years went on, there was less and less of it he wanted to do with me.  I remember talking with him about it many times...I would ask him why he told me he enjoyed certain things if he didn't...I never got a straight answer.

I went for an incredible hike today- four hours of pure bliss sweating and hiking straight up until I reached a breath-taking summit.  As I was coming down, I realized that for the last 3-4 yrs of our relationship, every hike he went on with me, I ended up crying...and today, I didn't cry.  I huffed and puffed all the way up, didn't have anyone telling me to hurry up, telling me I couldn't stop and sit on a rock and sit in silence for twenty min., rushing me to leave the summit once we got there, telling me I looked stupid in my hiking boots.  It was absolutely wonderful.  I went alone which he always kept me from doing before, telling me it was dangerous.

I was so much more independent in regard to the outdoors before I met him.  And I allowed him to control me.

Go back to something you might have dropped because of him or reach out to something you've always wanted to do.  It feels good to accomplish something that you were silently held back from at one point in time." 

"Think about things you couldn't do while you were married, or things you liked to do but he didn't - and then REALIZE you now get to do them. You now get to do whatever you want. If you want to eat a gallon of ice cream at 2 am, you can. If you want to watch some tear jerker chick flick without having to hear his comments, you can. If you want to join a gym, and work out anytime, doing whatever you want, you can. If you want to let the dishes sit for one more day, you can.

After my divorce a friend told me something that one of her friends told her after she was divorced. She said, "you weren't replaced. You were RELEASED." Once you find your first tastes of freedom, this will really start to make sense. Once you start to branch out, you'll realize, you are accountable to NO ONE anymore. Go out with your girlfriends. Go dancing. Have fun. Take a class, something you've always wanted to try or do. I took up hiking and got an amazing camera after my ex left. The distraction of a new hobby and new people was amazing."

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5 comments

  • Comment Link Smoores Tuesday, 26 July 2011 11:26 posted by Smoores

    I've been the same way. I: I've been the same way. I have been checking back regularly to see if the boards were working with the full intention that the FIRST thing I was going to do was send you a private message! And then after I check I always pray that you would still be around when they finally did pop up. I'm so glad you are still on the path to reconciliation and that you are taking it at your own pace. That is such a healthy thing for you both.

  • Comment Link Seagreen Tuesday, 26 July 2011 09:55 posted by Seagreen

    Smoores, I've missed you, too: Smoores, I've missed you, too - how could it be otherwise? You would not believe how often I've wondered how you were and what you were up to!! When I replied to your post yesterday, I wasn't sure that you'd check back........
    I'm glad you're doing well - testimony to your strength, I think. And you sound so positive! I would absolutely love it if you could find a way for us to stay in touch (no pressure...lol)
    I'm still quietly treading the reconciliation road and working on all the stuff that comes with it - trust; forgiveness; self awareness....I think an injection of your self-honesty would help, too.
    Bless you for getting back to me - you've truly made my day (((hugs)))

  • Comment Link Smoores Tuesday, 26 July 2011 08:46 posted by Smoores

    Seagreen girl! You have no: Seagreen girl! You have no idea how much I've missed you! The boards being down has been traumatic because I felt cut off from my good friend! I hope things are well with you and hopefully we'll have the boards up soon so we can get caught up. I'd love to hear what's been going on.

    {hugs}

    And yeah, I've made some adjustments haven't I? haha I just decided to enjoy this time where I am in control of my own life. I don't think I've ever this much freedom in my life to explore the things I like, want and need so I'm taking advantage of it and it's really been an eye opener to figure out what interests and lifestyle sort of emerged from the ashes. Some surprising and some not so surprising. Another thing that I stopped doing that has helped me detach has to do with the interests that we shared together and are interests that I STILL have. At first, I couldn't bear to even think about them but now, I'm slowly but surely taking them back and making them a part of my life again...they aren't some untouchable shrine to a past so now I can't enjoy them. That's crap. I'm just making them a part of me again and it feels really good. I don't feel as cut off from myself as I did. And once I make these things about me and what I like instead of about him, that helps me stop thinking about him all the time too. I'm not going to lie, at first it did bring my ache for what I lost with him back but as time past, it sort of morphed into "I like this. This is about ME"and he sort of faded to the background of it.

    So I'm becoming this whole new person with a mix of new stuff and old. I don't think about if he will like or dislike the changes in me any more. Because it doesn't matter. No matter what the future is for me, this is the me that will experience it...not the me I once was.

    I have GOT to figure out a way to give you my contact info without permanently posting it publicly so we can get in touch. Let me think on it!

  • Comment Link Seagreen Monday, 25 July 2011 16:50 posted by Seagreen

    Smoores my girl, you've come: Smoores my girl, you've come so far...

  • Comment Link Smoores Monday, 25 July 2011 12:08 posted by Smoores

    I'm not sure I have the be: I'm not sure I have the be all, end all answer to this as it's still a work in progress for me. Detaching is a painful process at times but since Bomb Drop Day (which will celebrate it's first anniversary in just a few days) I've learned a lot. One of the things I've noticed is that at first, I wanted to make excuses for him, empathize with him and pretend like the challenges of being with him didn't exist and only think of the good things that he brought to the table in our relationship. That wasn't helping with the "letting go" part of this.

    First, I should be completely up front. I still love him. I've asked God to release me from that burden and his answer has been a constant and resounding "no". So here I am, I still love the man despite the course our relationship took. That doesn't mean that I don't sometimes get angry, sad, or a multitude of other things but at the heart of who I am, I appreciate the wonderful years that we had together and I appreciate the guy even if I don't appreciate everything he's done.

    BUT along the line, I'm learning that I can store that somewhere in my heart and not have it impact my day to day living. By that, I stopped living as if answering the questions of "what happened" or "where did we go wrong" made any difference in the circumstances. I stopped holding back on where I wanted to go in life at this point, holding back my interests so that I would be somewhere relatively in the same place so he could find his way back if he chose and I'd be the same person.

    I realized I didn't want to be that "same person". I wanted to take steps forward. I filled my life with things that mattered to me and that made my heart happy. Now when thoughts of him enter my mind, which they do regularly, it's not with the same intensity, desperation to understand or figure out if we'll ever get another chance. It's just as he's a part of my life. I'm allowing myself to look more realistically at him and things about our life (I can now say out loud and without it feeling like a betrayal that it was frustrating that we couldn't order a pizza when we were together because of his gastrointestinal problems). Things are in perspective. This is now. These are the things I want and I have a right to live in a way that makes me happy. No, I didn't mind compromising when I was with him but now that I'm not I don't need to compromise so that I remain his safe haven. I

    t's life on my terms and when I embrace that part, I feel the detachment taking place. I feel myself letting go of what was and enjoying what is now.