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."