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Nadia Hafid
Nadia Hafid

My Marriage Ended 5 Years Ago, And I’m Still Not Over It

Here's what happens when I see my ex.

I passed my ex-husband on the road last week. We both waved, and as I saw his truck in my rearview mirror, my eyes welled up with tears. We live 6 miles apart and pass each other a lot.

I see him a few times a week when one of us drops off the kids or he gets a piece of mail at the house. Sometimes I’m rushing around busy in my own thoughts, tending to my own life, and seeing him doesn’t affect me. But there are still times when seeing him makes me mourn my old life so much, I can’t hold back the tears.

I’m not in love with him, and I haven’t been since before we talked about getting a divorce. I don’t want to get back together, and I don’t really miss him, per se. But I do miss our life together.

We have always been amicable. We simply fell out of love after 20 years together. And when he moved out, I was ready for our marriage to end. I longed to sleep in our bed alone, decorate how I wanted to, spend money without having to consult him and have sex with different men. I was ready to start over and see what this new chapter of my life would bring.

The first time I cried because I missed my old life was about three weeks after he moved out. He came to get the kids, and it was the first week we got into a schedule since his condo was ready for them all to sleep there. I stood on the front porch and sobbed uncontrollably, but I knew it was because this was the first night that they would all be away from me. This is normal, I thought.

A few months after that, the tears came again. It was a Sunday morning, and I was getting in the car to go to the grocery store. The house was so quiet because the kids were with their dad, and the silence hurt my ears. I grabbed my laptop and told myself I’d go to a cafe to get some work done, then go grocery shopping. I wanted to busy myself in hopes the pain would go away. It didn’t.

I sat in my car and cried harder than I ever had before and texted my ex telling him I missed my family so much I didn’t feel like I could breathe. This is normal, I told myself. You just need to get used to this.

A few weeks later, during a lunch date with a friend of mine who had been through a divorce, she told me my feelings were completely normal after I explained what was happening. “We both wanted this divorce. I was excited to start a new life. Why is it still so hard?” I asked her.

She reminded me what a big life change it was and told me it was going to take time. “After my divorce, it was a good few years before those feelings left me, and I hate my ex-husband.”

Here I am five years post-divorce, and I still have a lot of moments when I don’t feel like I am over my divorce. I am happy and at peace with my life in so many ways, but there is something that gets its claws in me on certain days, and I well up in an instant.

I can’t get used to not having my kids all the time. It hasn’t gotten any easier to drop my kids off with their father, or know they are on a vacation without me. I really miss my old life and get so nostalgic it’s painful. I guess being a divorced co-parent doesn’t feel natural to me. I wonder if it ever will.

There are people who have told me these feelings are not normal. Many have said that I need more therapy and that I should be over my divorce by now. Maybe I should be. Maybe there are people who become completely free of their past without mourning their old life after divorce. And maybe there are people like me: people who will never fully get over the fact their life has not turned out like they thought it would, and not having their kids live with them full-time will never be comfortable. I’d like to think we are all normal and simply doing the best we can.

Has anyone had a hard time getting over a divorce? Let us know in the comments below.

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