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My Narcissistic Ex-Husband

Reflections on loving and living with a Narcissist.  Let our experts guide you toward the healing power of moving on and allowing yourself some time in the spotlight.  Get advice on healing from his behavior and finding yourself again.

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I was not quite 50 when I got divorced,but I felt like I was about a hundred and ten. I figured that my life was over – what man in his right mind would want my aging body? After 30 years as a stay at home mom who would want to hire me?

Worst of all, who in the hell was going to unclog the toilets?

Your Perception of Yourself Is Wrong

You need to know that the way you feel about yourself, right now, right this moment is probably not truth – unless you are feeling positive, beautiful, and confident, in which case it is totally true. Whether you wanted the divorce or not, whether there was infidelity or not, divorce has a way of taking a cane to the knees of your self-esteem. If you are in midlife it’s even worse.

I like the company of men, I always have. In fact, most of my friends when I was growing up were male. I enjoy the way they think but most of all I enjoy the mushy, physical stuff, I’ll be honest. Living in a near celibate marriage for so long didn’t seem to squelch my need for hugs, kisses, and romance although I thought those things should have died from neglect.

I’d love to say my first thought was grief at the dissolution of my marriage but honestly it was, I will probably never have sex again. I am old. I am ugly. No one will ever want me.

The morning after I kicked the ex out I called a guy I had been friends with since I was 13. He is a comfort to me because he remembers when I looked good, you know?

Anyway, we went for coffee and talked and I mentioned that I might as well get a ratty looking bathrobe and start collecting cats. He laughed at me and said, Men will be lined up at your door once it gets out that you are single.

50 Is Beautiful… and so Is 60…70…Whatever

And, you know what? For the first time in years I noticed men noticing me. I was on the receiving end of stupid pick-up lines, I was invited for coffee, and I did the most uncharacteristic thing of my life. I joined a singles chat board. I wasn’t really looking for relationship so much as I was looking for someone to talk to.

Sigh. OK, and I was also looking for someone to reaffirm to me that I was female. Someone to flirt with, you know? I was so out of practice. Well, within two weeks of kicking the ex out I was juggling coffee dates and late evening chats.

It. Felt. So. Good.

I realized that I wasn’t the only person in the world who was no longer 18. I also realized that for some odd reason men still found me attractive.

When I began really thinking about it I realized that I have a lot to offer the world as a 50 year old woman that I did not have when I was 18. I have had decades filled with experiences, both good and bad.  I have become deeper, more thoughtful, and more compassionate. In many ways I have become more intensely me as the years have gone by. I am a better listener, better writer, and better person. And, without the daily stress of living with a narcissist I look better than I have in years.

You’ve been in a Rut

For years you’ve probably been doing the same thing, fixing your hair the same way, and wearing the same style of clothes. Raise your hand if you are still wearing the same makeup look that you did in the 1970’s. Really, I am serious. A couple of years ago I found some Kissing Potion lip gloss and I was much more excited than any living human being should be.

I am making changes, now. I am going to own my 50s!

I still wear jeans and tank tops pretty much every day and  I have decided that it’s time to wear clothes that help me look more pulled together. Jeans and tanks worked when I was 20 but at 50 I need to let them go (note: as I write this I am wearing jeans and a tank). I have been working on my “look” on Polyvore and Pinterest.

I am teaching myself to think before I say yes or no. Is it something I really want to do? If so then I am trying to give myself permission. I have said no to me way too much over the years. It’s time to say yes to myself.

I am going to get a language program and become proficient in French again. I was fluent in my teens and just lost it over the years. Once I have regained proficiency then I am going to learn another language, maybe Italian.

I have cut back on client work and am doing more for myself. I realized that I am at the point in my career where I don’t have to write articles I am not passionate about or take less than I am worth. It’s not that I am rolling in cash but that I have learned that my time is valuable and I need to be careful of what I choose to do with it.

What about You?

Just because you are divorcing at 50 does not mean your life is over. In fact, if you are divorcing a narcissist you’ll find that your life is actually just beginning. The freedom of being able to be totally yourself is overwhelming. Sometimes I don’t know where to start.

You have so much to do, to add to the world, and to experience. You can help others who are going through the things you did. You can go back to school. You can even completely reinvent yourself if you want to – but you don’t have to.

Go back to school, start weight training, run a marathon, or knit baby blankets for preemie babies – it doesn’t matter. If you’ve always wanted to walk on the beach at the Galapagos Islands at sunrise make it happen!  Do everything! Try everything until you figure out what you like. Get rid of the things you don’t like.

Be yourself more extremely than you have ever been and don’t make excuses to anyone. Want to talk to someone who’s been there? Join First Wives World today to spend time with others who understand.

Image Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, User: Emilian Robert Vico 

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  • Comment Link M. Radi Friday, 22 December 2017 10:52 posted by M. Radi

    I am a 55 yr. old man, on the verge of a divorce. My wife and I are still living together physiy, but emotionally and psychologically we are on two different planets.
    Although your article is probably directed to women, I find a lot of resemblance to my own situation.
    In short I want to say that it felt very comforting for me reading through your genuine, straight from the heart, words. I have been recently feeling really down, with feeling of “failure” just shadowing all aspects of my life. But as I read your words I began to realize this is not the end of my life.
    There is hope afterall. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  • Comment Link Lala Verdes Sunday, 12 March 2017 16:30 posted by Lala Verdes

    Divorced my narcissist alcoholic ex 6 months ago and moved in with best pal...who is a man and Co worker
    My ex is almost stalking us but we live in a.very small town...he drives by home a lot and he lives opposite end if town. He has a new relationship with a heavy drinking woman which is perfect for him...but I still feel sad.14 yrs wasted.
    And I am not afraid for my life..just annoyed
    Gave him the house and but he also took majority of debt
    So.I feel free and excited to move.forward. exercise helps a lot

    Life is not over! :) life is good

  • Comment Link Jackie morgan Tuesday, 13 September 2016 09:04 posted by Jackie morgan

    The start of your story felt like I wrote it myself. Even the part where you started talking to an old male friend, except I dated him when I was 17 and reconnected over fb, I flew interstate to be with him (3) times and what started out as an enormous ego boost turned into more heartache and confusion than my pending divorce (after 26 yrs of marriage). The second part of your story is foreign to me so far, but I hope it's the path I take. Thank you for putting all of this into writing. Yours hopeful

  • Comment Link Tina Biles Monday, 01 August 2016 09:22 posted by Tina Biles

    I thing my life is over, i love mu X and don't think I want to live without him.
    I know it's over but don;t know how to move on. I miss him but know he isn't worth my love. I want to stop loving him,I want to get angry and stop being hung but all I feel is broken hearted.

  • Comment Link Hayley Sunday, 19 June 2016 20:52 posted by Hayley

    This has made me feel so much better , thank you .

  • Comment Link Tracy Thursday, 03 March 2016 02:10 posted by Tracy

    I am going through a divorce with the man i thought was the love of my life. We had nearly 10 years of close to perfection as one can get in a relationship. He is 8 years older than me but the whole relationship was on 'his terms'. I moved across the country for him, helped raise his teenage children and paid for EVERYTHING. the money that has gone to him is quite simply sickening and alarming. it has only come to light because of the divorce and having to go through the 'who paid for what'. He has achieved a bit of notoriety as a result of his job and as soon as this happened AND he had to move back to my home state with me it was the beginning of the end. He started to discard me over 2 years. Keeping me hanging on and providing no explanation as to where our beautiful marriage went. Nothing made any sense because he adored me. I came across this site and realising that he has so many of the NPD traits has been very healing. I realise it is not me, it is his pathology. He is now going after all of my money. I guess when you are a narcissist losing the beautiful wife, the lifestyle and the money is just not an option. I just feel sickened by the waste of 10 years. he doesn't seem to even miss me or what we had, just the money. So sad, he is now in his early fifties and will end up with nothing financially but has just imploded everyones lives for nothing......

  • Comment Link Marlene flores Friday, 05 September 2014 05:34 posted by Marlene flores

    I've been living with a passive agressive baby for 33 yrs. everyday is a lie, an irritation, he breaks something on purpose so I can react. He won't talk to me, he tries to turn my kids against me. It's a nightmare but I'm scared to leave because I'm disabled and I've been a housewife for most of my marriage. I've turn off emotionally so now his passive agressive behavior has escaladed to new heights. I hate him and try to ignore him.

  • Comment Link ineedjesus63 Monday, 01 September 2014 20:57 posted by ineedjesus63

    I wish I had read this 3 years ago while going through my divorce. I felt old, fat, ugly, "used-up", stupid, guillible...

    It takes time, but I have come through this and I am living well, doing well and looking better than I have in years. It's amazing how getting out of a hell-hole will do that for you.

    I want to encourage all the "older gals" going through divorces that it's not the end of the world. It WILL get better and when you put the past behind you, you won't look back!

  • Comment Link Krista de beer Sunday, 31 August 2014 06:34 posted by Krista de beer

    Where do you start when you gave up your career to move from place to place to better his? How do I cope with him "just not loving me and want a divorce" after 14 Years and in my late 40's?
    I have no job and no friends because we just moved to a new city for his career. He says he will look after me financially but I don't trust any thing he tells me - I know all the promises will be broken once his new 20 something wants a better house or ring. Worst of all is how do I comfort my 10 year old daughter who still loves and trust him. What do I do once the visits dry up and the new dolly becomes no 1 in his life.

  • Comment Link FreeSpirit52 Saturday, 30 August 2014 11:53 posted by FreeSpirit52

    Hi Marye, just want to thank you for such a wise words. I am now 52 and divorced for 5 months, so you can imagine these thoughts of being ugly, no one will want you, you look a mess and feel rejected totally by the actions of my egomaniac Ex. It's really strange how the innocent have to pick up all the pieces from these bad relationships and even deal with the kids while these idiots seem to get away moving on and having a great life. Going to take me time to be ok with myself as I got pretty low so there is only one way to go and that is up. Due to ill health I am not working so it is really hard to feel comfortable with other people let alone with men. Trust and honesty is hard to find and if someone sais 'You look good today', actually seeing they may have a point, is not that easy. So I will try to do the things you have suggested and maybe the broken up me can be healed. Take care.

  • Comment Link Venetia Saturday, 30 August 2014 00:49 posted by Venetia

    I divorced my narcissist ex husband in my mid forties. If you are the main breadwinner throughout your marriage, like I was, please make sure you protect yourself and your retirement! (This advice is for both male and female readers.) If your spouse chose not to work unilaterally on their own during your marriage and it wasn't a choice you both made, fight to keep what is rightfully yours for you and your children. I have seen far to many families give up resources to spouses who felt "entitled" because their spouses "owed" them because of their vows. The money you slaved to make should go to your kids not his/her new significant other.