Being the one "left behind" always feels bad, but life must go on
Imagine one day thinking that everything is fine with your marriage. Maybe not perfect, but okay. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, your spouse says, "I don't want to be married anymore." In another scenario, you may know things are not great between you and your partner. Still, you expect to have time to work on the relationship. Before that can happen, you hear the words, "I want a divorce." In an instant, your entire life will change, and there isn't anything you can do to stop it. Being the one "left behind" always feels bad, but life must go on.
You may never know why this happened.
One of the hardest parts of having your spouse leave for a non-specific reason is not entirely understanding why. When you can point to a particular event such as an affair, there is at least something tangible to process. Sifting through your shared history and every past interaction may never completely shed light on what led to the divorce. It's possible your ex wasn't honest with you about his or her reasons for leaving, and you will never know why. Focusing on why the relationship ended could take you into an endless downward spiral rather than helping you move toward your new life.
Getting closure after being left behind
It's natural to seek closure after experiencing the end of a relationship. However, it's difficult to get closure when the other person is gone and not remorseful for ending the marriage. Closure is not something you will attain from your ex unless he or she is willing to engage in an open and honest dialogue with you. It's more likely that you will find closure by making peace with the past on your own. You can't change what happened, but you can work towards accepting it. Maybe you need to give yourself grace for staying with an emotionally unavailable partner for too long, or for not seeing the signs that they had one foot out the door from the very beginning. Take time to work towards acceptance in a way that releases you from the past and helps you achieve closure.
Life will move forward, and you can too.
You didn't have a choice about your ex leaving, but now you have a new life to build. It's going to take time to put everything back together. The good news is that you are the architect and you can take your time creating the things you want. If going to a therapist will help put things in perspective, you may want to meet with someone. You may want to devote more energy to exercise or meditation. Consider the things in your life that you enjoy and would like to focus on. This is a time to focus on you and your future. Spend time doing things that can help you restore balance to your life.
Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law is a trained Wisconsin attorney, Collaborative Attorney, and Mediator. She has extensive experience assisting clients before, during, and after Wisconsin divorce cases and can help you understand your options and connect you with potential resources.