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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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It’s kind of funny. When you are going through a divorce—no matter who you are or what your circumstances are—you feel like no one else can understand the issues and emotions that you’re dealing with. It’s the loneliest feeling in the world, and something that is hard to explain if you haven’t experienced it. It's like you’re in a bubble, isolated from the rest of the world.

While it's natural to feel that you're alone during a divorce and that no one understands your struggle, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Emotions of Divorce Are Pretty Predictable

We may like to believe that our particular situation is unlike anything that has ever happened. But the truth is, divorce and the emotions that go along with it are pretty common. The circumstances surrounding your divorce might be different, but everyone experiences the same basic feelings:

  • loss
  • confusion
  • grief
  • anger
  • reduced self-confidence
  • loneliness

There are more emotions that enter the picture, but most of them are related to those top six. How you process these emotions, and the logistics of the divorce, will determine how quickly you can move on. Don't sit around and let yourself fall into the trap of self-pity; you are the only one who is going to hold you back, or push you forward.

Everyone Wonders If They’ve Done All that They Could

There are very few people who don’t second-guess their decision to divorce, or wonder if they’re doing the right thing. You question if you’ve given it everything you could, or if moving on is the best thing. You wonder if you should try, maybe, one more time to make it work. When you second-guess yourself like this, you can paralyze yourself emotionally, and make it impossible to take any action at all. Once this happens, you can get stuck right where you are until you settle things in your mind. 

Could you be making a mistake? Sure you could, but the reality is that you are making the best choices that you can make under the circumstances, right? 

Go with it. Trust yourself. Do what seems best for you and own it. 

You Have to Believe in Yourself

You have to believe in yourself because if you don’t, who will? Divorce is one of the toughest things that you are going to go through and, believe it or not, other people may not be supportive—even if you aren’t the one who sought the divorce

There is something about divorce that can bring out the very worst in people, not just the spouses going through it. You may lose friends; you may get criticism from your family; you may catch hell from your adult children. Sometimes it will feel like the entire world is against you, so believing in yourself is critical to withstanding the onslaught of negativity.

I lost all but two very close friends during my divorce. Sometimes, it's still difficult to process that people I had depended on, people I had been there for, disappeared once the “D” word was uttered. But I chose to accept my decision and move on rather than “fighting for the marriage”. 

It wasn't easy. I had to change churches. I was criticized and ostracized left and right. At one point, I was invited to a couple's party and then completely ignored by all but the hosts—and these were people I had known for over a decade!

It was devastating. It was painful. It was one of the hardest times in my life, but I survived it. I came through it, and now I am stronger and more confident that ever. I have good friends and a network again. When I think of those past experiences, it can still make me feel sick inside. But I know I did the right thing. 

And remember, owning your decision doesn't always eliminate the "what if's," so be prepared for those as well.

You Are the Captain of Your Own Life

I finally had a breakthrough when I realized the following: none of the people who were advising me against divorce would have been willing to live in my shoes. Not one of them would've wanted to deal with what I dealt with, and none of them were responsible for my children.  

It was on me and me alone.

This realization freed me in a sense from outside judgments and opinions. If I make bad choices based on someone else's wants or preferences, I am the one who's left to deal with the consequences. Not OK. I needed my decisions to be based on my own experiences, not on other peoples’ opinions, pure and simple.

I mean, why would I want to gamble my life and my kids’ lives on outsiders' opinions of what's best for us? You should listen to the people whose opinions you deeply value, but ultimately the choice to divorce is yours. Do what you think is best and don’t look back.

Talk to others who understand where you're at and what you're going through. Join First Wives World today to be part of a group who knows exactly what it’s like to second-guess.

Image Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, User : Pedro Ribeiro Simões

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5 comments

  • Comment Link AngelaTheresa Tuesday, 14 February 2017 05:05 posted by AngelaTheresa

    I am in the process of divorce and feel pangs of questioning if I am doing the right thing. I am 69 years of age, no children, second marriage.

    August 2016, I found out my husband of 23 years posted nude photos of himself on a multitude of gay websites and chatrooms. I further found out he also registered on swinger websites and went to three men's homes on various occasions to masturbate with them. He claims he never cheated on me and he touched no one and no one touched him.

    We have not had intimate relations for over ten years by his request. .He stated we were beyond that and getting older and he had no interest. At that time we were in our mid 50s.

    I was and still am extremely distraught over the lies, betrayal and deceit. He says he is now sorry, that it was a dark time in his life and that he loves me more than anything and wants me to put all this behind us and to look forward to a new life together.

    I feel I want to go forward with a life alone and to find out who I really am and to start over, even at my age. I am confused but I know I no longer love him but there is a part of me that I'm scared to go it alone at this age. Comments, please!

  • Comment Link Lisa westphall Saturday, 04 February 2017 05:58 posted by Lisa westphall

    I feel lost among a lot of stuff but I want to find a new happily ever after,like celebrating freedoms you may not have had before and trying new things you didn't dare of ! I think this is a to reinvent and embrace your life new life. There is change good and bad. Celebrate your new life.

  • Comment Link mike Thursday, 25 August 2016 11:06 posted by mike

    Sadley i disagree with these ways that one allows woman to use these terms in how the treatment is to be used. People listen if you use these ideas definitions results thats fine.I say this do not read into being drawn towards giving the person a falseness in character if they are truely now that person.. Crushed to find out this happens so often. the damage to a person never knowing what in the world has happened. Before we lie to get what we think will be better for us .think about that being dead may be the better way for you but not my loved ones! or and inosent human . So be wise and make a decishion .. Knowing the out come can take you with that to the death you do part . especially when evil is used in the pic.To lie.. Thanks

  • Comment Link guardianangel Friday, 26 December 2014 05:59 posted by guardianangel

    Michelle, your husband is a true narcissist. Same as mine and it sounds like he reads from the same script. These guys actually believe what they are saying and that is how they are so good at manipulating. They are so dishonest that they even lie to themselves and it is almost like they can be two different people. You are dealing with someone who is mentally ill. The problem is that he will only get worse. The only way I was able to separate myself from my ex was to realize that the man I used to love no longer exists - his narcissism has completely taken over. It feels like I am more like a widow than a divorcee. Life is so much more peaceful and I finally feel like I have some control over my destiny. I pray that you find the strength to take control over your life and realize that you deserve better. Hugs.

  • Comment Link Michelle Thursday, 25 December 2014 06:37 posted by Michelle

    I am so stupid, I came back into a marriage and I have no doubt that my husband is a true narcissist. He constantly cheats on me, and our divorce was almost final and I allowed him to draw me back in. He had an affair with someone he worked with for four years. He asked me to come back home, and every time I did, he continued to cheat on me with the same women, who is a little crazy. So two weeks ago, I was back home and needed to have surgery. On his way out of the door to work, he kissed me, said see you after work. not even 15 minutes later, he texted me this message, "Michelle I just wish I was man enough to tell you that I have not been honest with you, I didn't have the heart because you are having surgery, But I miss and Love Sugar boo (Not her real name) and her kids, we became a family after I felt my family disowned me. I miss them and that is where my heart is. I don't want to live another day without them or simply be alone. I realize there is never going to be a good time to be honest other than today. My therapist said until you are honest with yourself and others around you, you will never be complete. I want the divorce to be over. I cant live with myself, I will never lie or mislead or send mixed messages to anyone again. Sugar boo is my true love, I can't breath without her to be perfectly honest. Please respect my feelings I just want for you to be ok. as every ex man or woman should want" The divorce will be over on Tuesday, Next wed I will be completely out of your house for good. It is best because my care for you is being confused for love and that I want to be with you and that's not true. I have never felt this way before. I will always be honest until the day I die"

    Mind you just two days before this, I was the love of his life and he couldn't live without me. So guess what, the day the divorce was supposed to be final, he calls me and says, I was the one he really wanted, and that he was just being honest about how he felt. He seemed so sincere, and I know he is a pathological liar, but again I am drawn back in and I don't even really believe him, but I came back anyway. What is wrong with me? Now I know he is talking to someone else at his new job. His former job is where he picked up the other woman. I am pretty sure she dumped him and that is why he came back to me. I don't know how to get out of this cycle, and How can I love someone who can so callously discard me like that?