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Dealing with guilt from a divorce
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Anon_15713 posted:
Hi,
I got married at age 20 and was married for 11 1/2 years. It was always very difficult. There were things about my husband that were very difficult to deal with. He was always looking for a "high" and I finally got tired of dealing with it. What finally gave me the courage to end it was, after a very difficult year, we were in counseling and I thought we were doing VERY good, only to find out that the entire time we were "working on it" he was having an emotional affair with a bartender at the bar down the street from our house. We both had been through a rough year dealing with my stepsons newly diagnosed illness. I felt helpless, and fell into a depression. My husband had struggled with depression our entire marriage, but when I was depressed, he accused me of "not caring" about him or being selfish. I got on the right medicine and was attending therapy sessions. We were doing good so I thought. Making more time for each other and I was enjoying us. Our therapist even told him "she's doing everything that you asked." Our therapist asked him point blank "Do you want this marriage to work?" His response was "I don't know." Of course, i didn't know about the other women at the time. It makes sense that he could not see that I was trying because he had a distraction. Bottom line, I was never "enough" for him and finally decided that I wasn't willing to go another round with him. I was too scared to try again, only to be let down. I was 31 and we weren't able to have kids of our own. I didn't want to waste any more of my life trying to please him all the while being accused of not caring about him, etc.. Of course, there is more to all of that. I know I wasn't perfect either but I also didn't expect him to be.
So its been 13 months since our split. The divorce is final any day now. I was on Lexapro the entire year, and while I had my rough days, for the most part I was very happy. Relieved.
I got off the lexapro in October and was extremely happy up until December. My ex husband started bullying me and would text me things such as "you abandoned your family" and "making you pay for what you put me and my son through." (not violent, we were talking financial)
Time and time again, I have prayed to God that I was doing the right thing, and I would always get confirmation that I was.
I now have a wonderful boyfriend and I know that I am truly blessed.
But I am struggling with this guilt that is weighing me down. I am not joyful in the least. I feel bad that I gave up on my ex husband. But I just couldn't do it anymore.
I think being on the lexapro during the year kind of masked my guilty feelings so now they are surfacing.
I feel guilty that I have a wonderful boyfriend. I feel guilty that I am happy without my ex husband. I feel guilty that the split affected my teenage stepson so bad. I feel guilty that I took our two cats from them. I feel sympathy for my ex husband because I know that he is ill and I know he is hurting badly. It just dawned on me today that it is my feelings of guilt causing my depression.
I have been in therapy for years but recently stopped because my co pay went to $40 a session. I just re-ordered my lexapro and feel guilty for needing to take it! Like I am letting God down by needing it.
So anyway, sorry this was so long. I am just looking for some advice for dealing with the guilt, or to connect with others that have felt the same way.
Thank you so much
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tbm25 responded:
I can relate in some ways. I have been on depression meds for more than 15-years. I was married and recently divorced. My ex-husband was a habitual cheater. I would try to forgive but would remain bitter. After a 22-year relationship, I was ready to call it quits when he was diagnosed with throat cancer. This caused more stress on me because he was ill and I had so much hurt and anger towards him but knew I had to take care of him since he was on my health insurance and we have kids together.

After a few months of radiation, he began to heal and I left. My oldest had moved out already a couple years prior to my departure and my other children were seniors in high school at that time.

I did so much thinking my high school kids would move with me but they stayed with their father. As months went by, I felt guilty for leaving. But living there with that man I had learned cheated yet again had me in a deaper depression. So, long story short, I would say you shouldn't feel guilty for leaving if you were unhappy. I have learned that being depressed over all of those years only showed my children a disfunctional marriage. This may be true for your step-son by misunderstanding your marriage to his father was the right way to function as a couple. My ex even put our kids in the middle saying things like, "how could you do this to us?"

My kids, now adults, have shared with me how they were confused by their father and I showing no display of affection when their friends parents did. I have apologized to my now adult children for not being the right role model for them when it came to relationships. I pray they end up in happy and healthy relationships in their future.

I too want to rid myself of the depression meds. I am going to try exercising more including yoga and learn meditation now that I am divorced. I don't feel guilty for taking my medication for it is my way of coping to go to work and go outside (social phobia and post traumatic stress disorder). However, I know they will cause health problems.

Sorry to hear about the cost increase of your therapy. I pray things look up for you soon.
 
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1nt3rnalc0mbu5t1on responded:
Anon,

Guilt can be a very powerful thing and over time it can take its toll. I guess my question is, how did YOU give up on your ex? You stated that your counciler asked him point blank if he thought it would work and he said he wasnt sure. It also sounds like he was having an affair, you mentioned other women. You went to counciling, you got on medication to help you feel better. It sounds to me that you did put a lot of effort into this. It seems to me that he was the one who gave up. And based on the texts he is sending, he is the one who is feeling guilty now, because he knows he screwed up. And he is trying to make you feel bad about the situation because he knows you will blame yourself. The wonderful thing about divorce is that his problems are no longer your problems. I understand you still can have an emotional connection with an ex, you were together for a long time. But his health, mental or physical are no longer a concern for you. I know it sounds harsh, but thats the fact of the matter. When i got divorced, i blamed myself for several years, became suicidal and my life began to spin out of control. Did my ex ever once try to help? no...because it wasnt her job any more. But as time went on, i realized that it all wasnt entirely my fault...it takes two to tango. So let go of your guilt, the only thing it is doing is preventing you from building a better relationship with your new BF. He is the one that should be getting your emotional support, not your ex.

And because your taking an anti-depressant, doesnt mean you are letting god down. Taking a more extreme measure would be letting god down. There is nothing wrong with feeling guilty, its a human emotion, but its how you handle/process the guilt that can be the deciding factor. We are all human, we are all flawed and we all make mistakes. But letting that guilt build and turn into something toxic will just make things worse. I am sorry to hear that your copay went up, but having someone you can talk to can give you some great advice on how to process those guilty feelings.

Best of luck!

IC
 
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shellgg replied to 1nt3rnalc0mbu5t1on's response:
I don't know if you will see this since it's been so long but thank you so much for your kind words. For some reason, I just got an email saying that I had a reply so I didn't see this until now. But every thing you said is right. I'm doing much better now and my boyfriend and I are expecting a baby in December which is such a blessing. Every now and than I still fill sympathy for my ex but I have moved on and no longer feel the guilt. Thanks again


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