Learning to Stop Searching

My marriage ended because my husband had an affair. Although I wanted to try to make things work he didn’t. I felt so confused I just couldn’t see where things had gone so wrong. We loved each other, had fun together, rarely argued and talked about our feelings on a regular basis. I was definitely in the “smug married” category there for a while. I thought I had a good strong marriage and I thought we were both happy.

When it ended I started a desperate search for answers. I thought if I could just figure out what went wrong then I would feel at peace with it and be able to move on. I was also anxious that if I didn’t understand why it had failed I wouldn’t be able to protect myself from a similar experience in the future.

I spent a long time analysing everything, questioning everything I had said and done. When I couldn’t find anything there I started to doubt who I was – was there something about me that was intrinsically unlovable? Although I think some introspection is helpful and healthy I went way beyond. I didn’t find answers or peace I just hobbled my self-confidence and started to hate who I was.

I tried several times to get answers from my ex but I’m not sure he had any either. Those conversations were painful, awkward and fruitless – perhaps he didn’t know what went wrong either? I think the most bizarre reason he came up with was that he had never bought me flowers. I am still not sure what he really meant by that.

For me I think learning to accept that I may never truly understand why my marriage failed has been an important part of my recovery. We can’t control everything in life and sometimes bad things happen to good people. I think it is good to acknowledge our own failings and strive to be better, but it is equally important to know when to stop searching for answers.