I’m so sorry you’re going through this. And boy does it sound familiar. When it comes out of the blue like that, it’s really hard. We all want answers. We want to know what happened, if we did something wrong, if we could have changed something to make things turn out differently. I felt like I needed all of that with my first husband. After 5 years, he wanted to move to be closer to his family. I left a very good job, family, and our home to move with him. We bought a house. Everything felt like it was going really well. We seemed happy. We had our problems in the past, but really things seemed to be going very well. All of a sudden, I found out that one of his female co-workers breaks off her engagement. Then shortly after, he stops coming home. He starts lying to me about where he is, when he’s working. And I come home from work one night to find his arm around his coworker while they are cuddling on the couch watching a movie. I was shocked. I had no idea what happened, where any of it had come from, or who this person was that I was living with.
I went to a counseling session by myself because he refused to go and finally worked up the nerve to even consider leaving. I sit down on the couch next to him and tell him that I need to know if he can do 2 things for me–be honest and faithful. He told me no. I left. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I am so grateful for it now. I would highly suggest doing what I did. I spent 2 weeks to save up enough money for a return trip home, I quit my job, I packed up what fit in a car, picked my stepdad up from the closest airport (he flew up to drive back with me), and I went back home and moved into my parents’ basement until I could get back on my feet and find a new job.
I got a new job. I got a new apartment. I even went back to school. And I started to realize how bad the relationship had gotten before I left when I had that distance. I started to realize how much I had given up for him, how little I’d respected myself. And all of a sudden, I felt incredibly happy. I hadn’t felt that in a very long time. It did not happen overnight, or even in a couple of weeks. It did take months, but it was worth it in the end. I chose to leave everything except the most important things to me. I was heartbroken at having to leave my cats (aka my children), but I also knew that I couldn’t take care of them because I was staying at my parents and they were allergic. And while I planned on going back for them later, I ultimately realized that to do so would have been another major adjustment to them that I didn’t feel was fair for me to ask them to make.
It was liberating to get rid of everything that reminded me of him and our life together. I didn’t want any of that–I needed to get away from it. So in your case, that might be a good thing too. Maybe it’s better to let him have the ring. I still don’t have answers today, but what I’ve learned in the years since is that they’re really no longer important to me. He wasn’t mature enough to be in the relationship. He also wasn’t mature enough to be able to have a conversation about that. He pushed me away and did anything he could to get me to leave so that he didn’t have to be the one to leave as his father had done to his mother. And I can accept that now without needing any other answers.
I also want to say that I just re-married and have never been happier. I’m now with someone who treats me so incredibly well, who respects me, and loves me for who I am. He talks to me, he communicates with me, and he supports me in everything I do. I never thought I would ever get married again. I never thought I would ever be able to have children or a family. But life has a way of working out, and it sounds like as painful as it is, that may have been something you needed. You deserve to be with someone who will be there for you. You don’t have to settle for less than that. Hold your head up strong, take things one step at a time, and know that you will get through this. As much as it may hurt like hell right now, that will fade with time. You will get better. You will feel stronger. You will make a new life for each other. And when you are ready, you will find someone who will love you and respect you as much as you do them.