Next Your Direction Workshop, for teenagers and young adults whose parents have separated.

2nd November 2022

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Will the Happy Memories Always be Tainted With Bitterness After Divorce and Separation?

I read today the account of a lady who found some old love letters from before her divorce.  She had moved on and so was able to enjoy them for what they once were.  She was able to remember the love they shared and feel good about having had those happy times without it being connected to the sadness that followed when her husband had an affair and left.

It struck a chord with me when she said that although he had found someone else and ultimately had chosen the new relationship over his marriage, it no longer mattered because they both knew the truth – that they had enjoyed a happy marriage.  They were in love and the letters in her hands were the beautiful evidence of what they had shared.

My husband chose a new relationship over our marriage and I find it deeply comforting to reflect that whatever he may have said retrospectively about our marriage and regardless of whether we ever admit it to each other, deep down we both know the truth: We were in love and we were happy.

During the turmoil of separation and divorce I doubted everything about my relationship and about the man who was my husband.   Did he ever love me?  Why did he marry me if he didn’t?  Were all the loving things he said to me lies?  Was he pretending to be happy?  Was his smile fake? Was I a bad wife? I thought I must be mad – how could I have been so deceived, was I delusional???  I thought his choice to leave proved that I must have had a distorted view of our relationship.

Now I realise these things are not as black and white as all that.  I’ll never know why he left but I also know he did love me and we were happy.  I have love letters too, nearly 14 years of memories and photographs that are all evidence of the love we shared.  These things are true.

I feel a sense of peace knowing that I wasn’t mad and I wasn’t deluding myself. The marriage failed because when someone else came along he made a choice, how he felt about me changed, that doesn’t rewrite history and make the past false.  Loving someone and then leaving are not mutually exclusive actions.

Realising this is such a wonderful release now I can read my old love letters and enjoy what we had because I know we both know the truth.