There’s no glossing over it. Being abandoned by a man is a hard thing, and it’s bad for months. You can get through it, though. Sometimes you look back and see the worst of it was just a bridge that got you to a good place you never imagined you could reach. At least, that’s been my experience. But it’s a gut-wrenching trip over that bridge.
I have been thinking about this again lately because I've been close to three women in the past few years who were all abandoned with little to no advance warning and left reeling.
This is the thing. You may think everything is fine, but it's not. The reason you don't know is because the other one is waiting, waiting for the new person to come along who will catch them so they can walk out of their old life right into the new one without a single day of feeling lost and alone. The only problem is your crying and hysterics as they go out the door. What's the problem? "We haven't been happy in a long time, and you know it."
I don’t understand this mysterious “happiness” people always think they are missing, like it’s out there someplace, but there it is. Men are really guility of this a lot. They will stay with you, eating your food, letting you pay their bills and clean all around them, until they find the new woman, and then they go. They won't leave their comfort zone until the next one is lined up and ready.
This happens often around age 40. You think you only have one last chance at some elusive happiness and something snaps in your head and heart. You want to try to grab that mythical brass ring one more time. It’s not about the person you’re leaving at all, even though it’s going to be harder on them than anyone else.
The one who is left behind may think they desperately want to put the relationship back together, but it’s a cracked cup. Even if you get it back in the cupboard, it will always be a cracked cup. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life thinking if you don’t meet expectations, or keep him happy, he might leave again. Some women are willing to make the sacrifice, but who are you, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Kennedy? What are you getting out of this? It's not like you're keeping a cheating husband in order to maintain the title of First Lady of the Land or get maximum sympathy at a future state funeral.
That's why the right thing to do is not to fight it. Try not to let him ever see you cry. Make it your goal to get back up and put your life back together without him. Yes, the old move-on cliche. You can do it.
It’s hard to imagine a different life when you’re in the middle of the last one being torn asunder. But gradually, your eyes will perceive new pleasures on the horizon, and you will move steadily toward them. I go for months now without thinking about old heartbreaks. Most of the time, I can’t even remember what they looked like. It may feel really bad now – there’s no getting around that, so just focus on getting through.
There’s not much you can do when temptation meets up with general malaise. A man once told me: with men, it’s never the woman. It’s just the timing. There’s always other women making themselves available to your man. Sometimes they hit him at just the right moment, when he’s bored or doesn’t know where his life is going. Sometimes this other woman lets go of your man right away, and you never know anything even happened. And sometimes the other woman wraps a web around your man he can’t get out of, and now he’s stuck in a new drama. Like she’s pregnant. Or threatening suicide. Or has become a Fatal Attraction type that calls him at home or shows up at the door. You need her...and yeah, him, too, now...out of your life. This is their drama, not yours.
Yesterday, I was with a group of people and we were talking about our dads. Every person at the table's dad had done the same thing. Some had waited until our moms died. Some had waited until the kids were at least in high school or older, and then they met someone new. And in every single case, the new wife or girlfriend and her family totally absorbed our dads. Our dads became less invested in their own children. His money -- our inheritance -- started going out the window toward the needs of the new wife or girlfriend and her kids. And when all these dads died, all their money disappeared with them. Some people at the table were still really upset and trying to fight the new wife or girlfriend, but I can only shrug. Dads are men. They abandon their spouses, their children, for the new ones. Whatever the reason. For "chemistry." For "happiness." To feel young again. They leave behind a lot of hurt and are mystified that no one understands. It makes perfect sense to them.
I can empathize with the pain. The most recent victim invested five years in her relationship, but there were signs. Neither one would give up their apartments to share one. They kept their safe houses the whole time. They went through a lot of hard times together, but still kept this wall of noncommitment. Then she came down with a routine, but communicable, ailment and they didn't see each other for just one week to avoid his catching it. That was all it took. The new woman, who magically appeared at the right place at just the right time, has Angelina Jolie-like powers -- beauty, intelligence, a direction in life. If I can comfort the abandoned one, all I can say is there's no fighting this kind of enemy, the Super Other Woman. Men are powerless against them. Your only hope is she will tire of him quickly, but then why in the world would you want him back? Better to regroup. Climb out of the rut and shake it off. I like both these people, but they both need more than they had with each other.