He Left

I was talking with a friend yesterday and she brought up the fact that she thinks my saying, it’s been seven years since he left puts me in the victim mode. I felt like I had to defend my answer. Like she just didn’t understand. And how could she? She’s still married. And yes, I am someone who marks time by events. Saying he left is what really happened. And while I am truly grateful that he did go and I am happier than I was when I was married to him in so many different ways, I don’t view it as victim mode. It’s just fact. We went on to discuss it.

Her: Don’t you think it’s bad that you say he left? Why can’t you say that the marriage broke up?

Me: I don’t know. I never thought of it. I guess because I would have never left him.

Her: But were you really happy with him by then?

Me: Probably not. He was super unhappy and it made for a lot of walking on eggshells, so I was uncomfortable in the home as well. But I was still trying to make it work for the kids’ sake.

Her: And now?

Me: I’ve seen how his leaving and the subsequent divorce opened my life up in different ways that I really like. But in my mind, it matters that he left, but that I filed for divorce. So I guess it shows.

Her: It shows. Change your wording. You’re giving him power by saying ‘he left’ so perhaps ‘we separated’ is a better choice.

Hmmm…what do you think? Do you mark time with events too? When you tell your story of a breakup/divorce, what do you say?

This entry was posted in divorce, finding happiness at 50 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to He Left

  1. I didn’t even consider you’re friend’s scenario because when I hear “he left” or “she left” I take it as literal meaning. If he left your home and subsequently the action of leaving led to separation/divorce then he still did the leaving.

    It’s a technical thing your brain is processing. Watching him walk out the door… (If that’s what happened).

    I do not see it as giving him power. But that doesn’t mean my opinion is more or less correct than someone else’s. I don’t know what happened.

    Like

    • janieleeds says:

      Thanks for your comment! You were right on – he left. End of story. He said, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” His choice. His leaving. And I never asked him to stay although I did ask why, but never got an answer.
      It’s what happened. And I’m ok with it. I’m grateful now for his leaving and I don’t often talk about it because my life is better now.
      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

      Like

  2. Becoming Shakti says:

    So…this touched a nerve with me. I’m angry with smug and sanctimonious people who define our journey and our struggle by their terms. I no longer defend my position, in fact I pretty much don’t talk to many people about what I endured. No one understands unless they’ve walked the path. I think their narrow minded responses are less empathetic, less compassionate than they could be. Not my problem. I cross those people off my list now and don’t give anyone a second chance. I too mark dates and locations. It’s all OK. We are OK. It’s NORMAL to do that. Sept 18 was the date of the last time that my xhusband existed, where I could be fairly certain that he inhabited his body. The next time I saw him he was a different person entirely, a total Jekyll/Hyde. He returned on Dec 12 and I knew something was off but it wasn’t until Dec 16 that the mask got ripped off completely and I saw what I saw. I’m scarred by that and those days will haunt me forever. I didn’t deserve this, you didn’t deserve what you endured, either, but I’m really tired of still married smug sanctimonious comments. Not that your friend is like that, but I’m talking about my experiences, one even recently with my neighbor who wondered why I wasn’t “over it” by now. I just looked at him, told him he was lucky that he didn’t understand, and walked away. Stay safe and protected with your shining white light, my friend.

    Like

    • janieleeds says:

      Thank you for sharing Shakti. I am sorry you have had such hard experiences. I feel for you and I understand how difficult it is. It is mind blowing when you don’t recognize the person with whom you shared a life for so long. And yes, some people don’t understand how difficult that situation is and how much we have to heal afterwards. But it sounds like you have and for that, I’m grateful!
      Keep shining your white light too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. scr4pl80 says:

    I kind of agree with Writer of Words. If the action was that “he left” then he left. If you said, “he left me” then it might seem like you were making a victim of yourself but otherwise it’s just an action of him leaving. Just my opinion based on your scenario above.

    Like

  4. You didn’t say, “He left me.” You also didn’t get teary. From reading your posts, you do not sound like a victim but a survivor and thriver. Stay the course!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ainsobriety says:

    Hmmm
    Mostly I now say I got divorced in 2019. I have no qualms about telling the truth. My ex had a mid life crisis, ran away and ended up having another baby…and things haven’t worked out with the babies mom.
    That it was excruciatingly painful, but I’m now happier, I dependant and free and Craig and I have a good, distant friendship. I kind of feel sorry for him.
    We did have 25 years. That’s a long relationship. Perhaps the fact he has expressed remorse has helped me find peace with it all. Or maybe it is that every single day I wake up and smile at my life. My daughter is thriving. My son is at university. I’m getting a puppy.

    As an aside, once a vague acquaintance asked me if I wasn’t embarrassed that Craig cheated. My view is that he should be embarrassed, not me.

    I often wonder if she had her own cheating spouse….

    Anne

    Like

    • janieleeds says:

      Hi Anne! Thanks for sharing. I am glad you and Craig have been able to develop a good distant friendship. That speaks volumes on both of your parts – especially because you’re now happy, getting a puppy and at peace!
      I don’t have any concrete evidence that the ex cheated, but there’s a ton of circumstantial evidence, people have told me stories etc. I agree with you that his cheating is his embarrassment, not the wife’s.
      The ex never showed/spoke remorse but I’ve let him go. I’ve got my freedom and am much happier. I can’t wait to hear about your puppy! 🙂

      Like

  6. TJ Fox says:

    I’m all for using language that doesn’t unconsciously chip away at your self, but the “he left” doesn’t scream “victim” to me. It is just a statement of fact about the events. Saying things like “separated” instead seems to sort of white wash the event and make it sound as though it was less traumatic or significant than it was. You could use “divorce” in the same place and get a similar feel because divorce is rarely calm, happy or positive and most people will hear it and still get the idea of the scope of your situation. That said, you need to use the language and wording that reflects your experiences without having to constantly explain yourself deeper than a single word or phrase can encompass.

    As for using that as a marker for time, we all use life events as time markers. Before I was married. Before the kids were born. After I quit working. When I was in high school. The events of our life are markers of time and reference points that help to frame everything else and give it context.

    Liked by 1 person

    • janieleeds says:

      Thanks TJ! 🙂 I don’t think it screamed victim either because it’s just plain truth. He chose to leave. And while he told the kids that it was mutual that we were getting a divorce, it was not the time for me to confuse them anymore so I didn’t say anything. Because it was the first time they were hearing that we were breaking up. But later, they asked me if it were mutual and while it wasn’t at that time, it was by then and I explained it to them.

      I am glad you use the same markers. 🙂 Great explanation!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. bone&silver says:

    Interesting discussion… I guess what your friend is objecting to is the passive tone, rather than the more active ‘we broke up/I left him/we ended the marriage- all of which place you as a more active participant in the event? It’s just something to think about isn’t it?

    When I discuss break ups, I usually try to own what happened eg we broke up/they cheated on me and I had enough- do you feel you are owning your part in the story?

    I LOVE marking time with rituals and anniversaries etc- I’m well known for it among my group of friends! 🙂 xx

    Like

    • janieleeds says:

      HI G! I think my friend was just trying to help me, but didn’t know how because she’s never been through it. Married for decades, it’s not part of her experience.
      I like the way you discuss break ups. Truth always wins I think.
      As for making time the way we do, I’m with you! Love that you’re well-known for it! ❤️xx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Beth W. says:

    I absolutely don’t see it as making yourself a victim, Janie. It is as the others have said a marker of time and in fact that is what he did. It obviously hasn’t been nearly as long for me and maybe it is a bit raw still, but I usually say he decided he wasn’t happy and wanted a divorce. In fact that is what happened. I don’t think that makes me a victim. Saying that you separated makes it sound like a calm, mutual agreement, which it was not. Should you choose to elaborate, you can certainly tell more of your story, but I really don’t think that saying the ex left, which he did, makes you in any way a victim. I agree with TJ Fox that whitewashing it minimizes the trauma and pain that you went through and survived. And the end result is that you are a happier person for making it through what you have. Ultimately, I know you will do what feels right to you ❤ 🙂

    Like

    • janieleeds says:

      Thanks Beth! 🙂 I think the explanation comes when someone asks, but I like what you say, “he wasn’t happy and wanted a divorce.” I’m sorry it’s still a bit raw for you. Time does help to heal (as does your new beau)! I do stand by what I say so thank you for your support ❤️

      Like

  9. LA says:

    I guess it’s been awhile since I divorced, but I don’t think I talked about it too much. But in general, I don’t mark time by events…only birthdays I guess

    Like

  10. You never have to defend yourself or your words. It’s your journey and process regardless that it was 7 years ago.
    My husband “left” almost four years ago and I am just now able to express the damage left behind.
    Like you I am the better for it.
    Having said that, again it’s your experience that HE left. Use, say and write words that are true to you.

    Like

    • janieleeds says:

      Thanks Alison. I agree with you. It’s the truth, plain and simple…he left. I am so glad to see you here. I am sorry that yours left too, but I love that you feel you are better for it as do I. I’m off to go see your blog. I’m glad we’ve connected! 🙂

      Like

  11. It’s how I journal my events in my life. And the fact is, if he is the one who chose to leave, then the truth is, he left. If you would not have left him, it’s quite clear again, that HE left YOU. To say, ” we separated” is a mutual statement, based on a mutual decision. It was NOT mutual so why say something that is not true? So, I agree with you. It’s your experience, your feelings, your truth.

    But, on that note, I have a best friend who used to try and get me to change the energy I put into the universe. To bring me positive energy back into my life. It took years and many changes in all aspects of my life, some out of my control, but all good changes if not life lessons. Today I understand the power of the energy I put out there. If it were me, I don’t believe I would change the way you state the facts, but if you’re in a better place now after he left, you can simply add to it…. “It was 7 years ago that he left me, and 7 years ago that I began to find myself again….” Or something to that effect. 🙂

    Like

    • janieleeds says:

      I love your response and I agree with you! I also love the last line and will use it! Thank you! I am positive that I am happier now than I was with him and I am grateful that he left even though it was a huge struggle for me. Life lessons, yes indeed! Thanks for stopping by!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I just remembered a personal story that maybe also relates….. We had been separated for 6 months when he starting dating a neighbor/friend of ours. I filed for divorce the following week. I started therapy to handle all of the changes (my mom had passed in 2009 and I was still adjusting to that loss). I kept saying to my therapist that, “he cheated on me….” She wouldn’t let me continue saying that, even though I felt so much betrayal. She made me change my words….from “he cheated”, to “I feel betrayed…” I guess in a sense it built strength to move forward. ox

        Like

      • janieleeds says:

        What a great therapist! I love the change in phrasing because it gives you power to voice how you feel and it shows that he cheated (I’m sorry that happened to you).🌸 We move forward when we’re ready, sometimes with baby steps and sometimes with grand leaps. xo

        Like

      • (But I still think your words are PERFECT to tell us, what happened TO YOU.) 🙂

        Like

      • janieleeds says:

        Thank you! I agree and that’s why I use ‘left’ instead of anything else. 🙂

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s