My second son is to be married. This will be the first major milestone since the break-up. This will be the first time as a family where we will all be together, yet apart; where we will have to face not being a united family; and where my and my ex-husband’s siblings will see each other. I remember my eldest son’s wedding six years ago when we had that coming together of the two families and what a joyous occasion it was. How I so wish for this wedding to also be filled with joy and togetherness.
My son spoke to me by phone about some logistical arrangements for the wedding and I was dying inside as he spoke as I had been blocking those things out. I did not let on how anxious I felt. It was going to be his big day and I needed to put my angst aside. After the call ended I broke down. Everything hit me hard and I felt all mixed-up inside. I felt joy and sadness, fear and wonder, all mixed up together. I felt so alone that I could not share those feelings with my children, those whom I held dearest to my heart. The cruelty of divorce hit me as hard as it had ever hit me before, knowing that we were no longer the strong united happy family that we should have been.
About half an hour later my son rang me back. He had sensed there was something wrong with me. By then, I was in the middle of a puddle of tears. There was nothing to do but tell him how I felt. Out came three years of frustrated loneliness of never being able to talk to him and the other children about how I really felt. I felt that I had to protect them all from the pain of the broken family unit. I told him I felt I was supposed to put on an appearance of a happy united family for his wedding and yet we were broken. I felt that I was supposed to put on an appearance of his father and I being ‘friends’ when I did not feel that way. I felt that if I had to pretend we were that united unit, when we were not; and that his father and I were friends, when we were not; then I would be acting untrue to myself. I explained I wanted his day to be special but I did not want to live a lie. I wanted to stop pretending and hoping for the united family. We were two families now; my family and his father’s family. I could not act like the united family unit when we were not. From now on in my life I wanted to speak my truth. I wanted to act by my true self.
I had never spoken to my son about the break-up in that fashion before. My son assured me that I could always speak the truth with him. I no longer had to pretend. I felt a surge of bonding with my son that was stronger than I had ever felt before. I no longer felt lonely and that I could not share how I felt, with those whom I love. I no longer had to put on a mask. I had found my voice. I had spoken my truth. I was acting by my true self. I felt a huge weight had lifted from my shoulders because I did not have to pretend anymore. I felt free.
* * * * * * * * * *
Now that the suffering weight has lifted, I have six weeks to become strong and work out my self-strategies to ensure my son’s wedding is the joyous occasion it is meant to be.
This is so touching. Your son sounds like a warm, understanding young man who loves his mom dearly and wants the best for her. The fact that you felt a bonding with him over your honesty and pain is encouraging to say the least, Elizabeth. A huge step in becoming your new authentic self. Hugs!!!
It has been a release in being able to open up to him.
While I am truly sorry that you are feeling some residual pain from the divorce, I am so glad that this gave you the opportunity to be candid with your son and to receive the support that you needed and deserved. It is my hope that joy and love prevails at the wedding and beyond for you and the rest of your family, Elizabeth.
Thank you for your concern and, yes, I am sure that it will be a happy day for us all.
You are so welcome, and I will be thinking of you and sending you lots of peace and joy on your son’s wedding day!
I truly love how you found your voice in this and spoke your truth!
It has been truly liberating.
I am so glad you were able to finally tell your son.
It has been liberating for me. I am in a better place becasue of it.
A heartfelt sharing Elizabeth, and well done for speaking your truth and speaking from the heart. Your son may have been worried to say something as well, so you have broken the silence and connected on a deeper level. Make sure you get a new outfit too!!
Yes there has been a much deeper connection. And, yes, I have a new outfit 🙂
This is such a special moment Elizabeth. To share your vulnerability and your truth with your now adult son. This is an important shift in your relationship with him and family. The perfect time to let go of the illusion of the past and embrace a new reality and dynamics.
It will probably be pretty tough, so surround yourself with those who care and love you. Who understand who you truly are. Don’t be afraid to ask for their support through this.
You are not alone. People care, but they may not know how they can help you. So tell them ❤
The past no longer defines who you are.
Thank you for this comment of support and I will surround myself with those who know and care for me. I do feel empowered now to live by my new reality instead of remaining stuck back in my past way of thinking (and as you say the relationship dynamics). Thank you for the encouragement.
There’s a lot of great advice here 🙂 Don’t let the past define who you are now … Take deep breaths and you will ROCK IT!
Thanks for your encouragement. It means a lot to me.
Your son sounds very caring and it is touching that he called back to check on you. I am glad that you had the courage to share with him all your feelings. The truth is often times harder but it is so empowering and liberating. Now you can focus on the joyful occasion instead of thinking that you have to put on an act.
You have also shown your son that one can be both vulnerable and strong, this will be a defining moment in his life too!
Stay true and strong to yourself and your feelings!
Many blessings to you! 🙂
It has been quite liberating. You have summarized my feelings about this action… in that it takes strength to show vulnerability. I do honestly believe that.
Elizabeth, you will do fine at the wedding. You and your son have shared honest feelings and now you have an ally. Nothing is better than that. You will be poised and self-assured, and proud of your son…and yourself.
My son-in-law’s parents divorced when he was very young, and they had successfully avoided each other for almost twenty-five years when their first grandchild was born. My daughter, their daughter-in-law, knew of their deep animosity and refusal to spend the baby’s first Christmas unless it was at separate times, and this was deeply hurting her husband. Finally, the young parents had an honest, heartfelt talk and formed a plan.
My daughter called each of his parents and invited them to attend their grandchild’s first Christmas, but she made it very clear that there would only be one dinner and celebration, and they both needed to decide which they wanted more: to continue avoiding each other, or to begin a new tradition of enjoying grandchildren and also bringing along their parents, the great-grandparents who also hadn’t talked in twenty-five years.
Now there are two grandchildren, and for the past eleven years, both grandparents, plus their parents, the great-grandparents, have attended all the holidays together. They aren’t best friends, but they are pleasant, cordial and kind to each other. And they all adore the grandchildren who wouldn’t be here if they (the couple) hadn’t fallen in love and created their son together…and he later was the father of these two grandchildren.
I wish you every confidence, support and pleasant surprise at the wedding, Elizabeth.
Thanks for your support. Yes, I will enjoy the wedding. I am looking forward to this special time with my family. Thanks also for your thoughts on divorce and families and extended families. It is still all a bit raw for me. I grew up where those family Christmases were held at my grandparents home. They were the centre with all the parents and children underneath coming together for one happy event. It was the older generation at the centre spreading downwards, rather than the younger generation spreading upwards. It breaks my heart that is not the way it will now be for us (that there is no centre of ‘us’ any more).
As life goes forward for me, I will take any such ‘invitation’ as they come and either accept or decline.
At the same time I will certainly be putting out my own invitations for Christmas and other such celebrations, for my family to join me. At this stage, I have accepted that is likely to be every second year (as every other year, the children are likely to feel they need to go to their father). I am happy with that. At this stage, that is my preference, rather than a falseness of pretense at being the large united family that is no longer.
The togetherness of the family and the extended family can still be shared in other ways, and I want to be able to act by my genuine self at those times.
Thanks for your kindness in your reply to me.
im sorry the hard things keep coming 😦 but im glad you found support from your son 😀
could you perhaps arrange to attend with your siblings?
Yes, am doing that. Thanks for your kind support.
HUGS! Oh Elizabeth I love the raw honesty of this post. I am so pleased that your son called you back and that you were able to express your pain.
He will have an awesome wedding Elizabeth, in part, because of your love for him. ❤
Yews it will be a great wedding and it has been so liberating knowing that I can now be myself at the wedding.
Hi Elizabeth … Reading Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth, helped me enormously in coming to terms with my separation. It helped me understand the experience and as a result, overcome the bitterness and anger that I was feeling. It helped me let go of victimhood. I continue to read the book from time to time as a reminder that we don’t all live in consciousness [that people as a whole are stuck in ego] and we don’t all feel good about ourselves and consequently, we mistreat others.
I admire your honesty and urge you to continue to express your feelings.
Have an awesome day!
My situation is a bit back to front. It is my (ex)husband who is pushing me to act as ‘friends’. To voice my feelings of that not being how I feel IS a stand out of that victim role. ie of standing up for myself.
It is certainly important be authentic!
🙂 (A favourite song of mine)
Thanks. I needed that, and the message she leaves is truly inspirational.
Wow! I understand because I’ve been in the same situation, of not wanting to pretend that things are “fine” when they clearly are not, and yet not wanting to hurt the children. It’s an extremely difficult dilemma. How wonderful, that you were able to express the truth to your son, and even more wonderful that he was able to accept and honor your experience. That’s a rare gift, one which most children are incapable of giving.
Thanks for seeing my dilemma. It helps that others whom I respect can see where I am coming from and understand. It means a lot to me. thanks for that friendship.
I just found your blog after clicking onto your name from Kimberly’s blog.
I found this story of your pain and your being able to confide in your Son how you were feeling – but mostly how wonderful your Son handled it. I so wish I felt that support from my children.
It has now been some 3 1/2 years since my former spouse told me of his infidelity and wanting out of our 40 year marriage. Some days I do quite well – though I must admit that those are the days I keep myself so busy I do not have time to think.
I recently had to face something like your upcoming event. My Daughter and Son-in-law were having my Grandson’s 2nd birthday party. Last year – I encouraged my Daughter to invite her father to my Grandson’s 1st birthday party. Telling her I could be cordial to him and even to his woman friend. That it was important for him to be able to attend the only Grandchild’s first birthday party. I spoke with my Son-in-laws family members – telling them I had insisted upon him being invited and would be cordial and hoped they would also be cordial to him.
The day went fairly well – I even went up to him and told him about a friend who had been involved in an accident. My Daughter came up to me and thanked me for being so gracious.
As the day was winding down – he yelled across the yard – “Phyllis – What did you do with my childhood rocking chair from my parents house?” I calmly walked over and told him I didn’t recall exactly what had happened to it – but I knew I had called and asked him whether or not he wanted most everything at his parents home. Even things that I didn’t think he would want – so I was quite sure I had asked him about the child’s rocking chair. Mind you – the taking care of cleaning his parents home after the death of his Mother fell on my shoulders – cause he needed to keep working.
Foolishly – I sent him a email afterwards telling him I did not understand why he had to bring this up and cause me more pain – when I had gone out of my way to make sure he was invited. His two word response to me was “You’re Crazy!”
This year I could not face being around him again. After my Daughter told me of the party for the second birthday and said her father was coming – I calmly said to her – I won’t be able to attend as I cannot be around your father right now. She said – I can’t dis-invite him now. I said – I do not want you to dis-invite him. Part of the reason I did not tell you beforehand was because I didn’t want you to have to choose.
After he had left – I went over to have cake and give my Grandson his gifts.
I think I needed that time of not attending to get my power back. I believe I will be able to attend next years party and simply ignore him.
I was afraid that this year – had he said anything to me – I might have made a comment that I would later regret. I now no longer feel any need to make a comment to him.
I pray that you make it through your Son’s special day with as little discomfort as is possible.
Knowing you have the support of your Son will surely help.
Thank you for your supportive comment. I am so glad that my post resonated with you. For a long time I felt that I should be ‘over’ it by now. I now realize that it will take much longer, maybe forever.
People do not understand as I always put on a brave front. That has been the issue. The others in my life do not understand what is going on inside of me as I have never ever told them. That is why recently I decided to tell them.
Your thoughts on your grandson’s birthday helped me think some things through. Thank you for sharing.
I am thrilled if my comments helped you in any way.
Reading a number of your post today has helped me a great deal.
I don’t think anyone fully understands how difficult it is when you feel like you have been thrown to the curb after a long marriage. I read somewhere that it takes one year for every 5 years of marriage to get beyond the pain. I will just be happy when I no longer think of him daily.
My former spouse was always “moody” so it was a complete shock when he finally admitted his infidelity. He would travel to TX monthly for business and was “mentoring” the woman he ultimately became involved with.
Thank you for being so open on your blog. Knowing we are not alone does indeed help.
I agree that having this happen after a long marriage is so much harder than if we were younger. It uproots everything. It seems that you have been through a hard time with it all. I know exactly where you are coming from. I hope you find some peace, further down the track. I have now resolved that it will take me some years to completely be at peace and accepting that has actually made me cope much better.
Thanks for your understanding and your kind comments.
I hope you find a way to balance things for your sons wedding and also for yourself. It is good that you have stopped ‘putting on the I’m fine face’ as this means you are also healing as true healing doesn’t come until honesty is part of the process. I will be thinking of you and wishing you well.
Thanks. I am beginning to understand what you mean when you say ‘true healing does not come until honesty is part of the process’. I no believe that is the case and it is empowering to slowly start living that way instead of behind the mask.
I just found your blog, I hope I can be as strong as you appear to be, I was blindsided by my husband when he confessed his infidelity to me after a 31 year marriage. That was over 8 months ago. He is still seeing this person and yet we are still together since he claims he is ambivalent. It has been a emotional rollercoster. My own children and family do not even know yet, I must be protecting them too.
Your son sounds so special that he called you back and could sense your pain. Thank you for sharing your story.
Thinking of you as you walk this difficult road. Be strong and take care.
This first wonderful wedding occasion will be truly a test of your endurance and growth, Elizabeth! I am so proud and moved by your openness in your conversation with your son. I am sure this will keep your bond strong for the rest of your lives. He also knows it is reciprocal, you will love him, even on tough issues, when he is honest with you. This is a life-affirming decision to open up, the weight is not just on your shoulders. I think this is a major break-through!
I found my ex-husband to be like a ‘distant’ friend, the first time we had to share an event, but now, like the example mentioned by Marylin, as grandparents we all attend my son and daughter-in-law’s children’s events and birthdays. I am not married, was to a second husband, once his present wife and he knew we were divorced, he remembered not to ask about him. We recently laughed together, which really filled me with happiness. We realized that what we had was not meant to last a lifetime, but it brought us our children. I have not been to his mother, father, brother or sister’s funerals, but I have sent planters and cards each time, they were part of my younger years and I feel that they would have done the same for me. My ex and his wife sent me a lovely arrangement and sympathy card for the death of my father, and he always asks about my mother when he sees me. Hugs and wishes for a beautiful wedding and special time, you will have a good time, believe it or not!! ~Robin
Thanks for this reply. It really meant a lot to me. It is wonderful to gain the perspective of those who have been through all this before. When it comes form people I admire such as yourself, it gives me something to take forward. I am looking forward to the wedding being a joyous occasion.