How to let go of resentment?
I’m struggling with holding on to resentment and the thoughts of why life is so unfair.
4 years ago I found out that my now ex husband was cheating. We had 2 young children at the time 4 and 6 years old. We met overseas, lived in another country together and eventually moved back to Australia so that I could be near my family.
Anyway after building a life together, kids, buying a house etc I found out that he had been having an affair and that it was not the first time. He was giving his number out at work. All while coming home to his family. I’m sure there were signs I missed, but I was focused on raising our beautiful children.
When I found out about his infidelity I was obviously shattered. I couldn’t understand why he would do that to me. I took care of him, loved him and put everything into my family. He never said he was unhappy. To this day he tells me he wasn’t unhappy.
He has since moved on. They are now having a baby together. I am still single, have our children 99% of the time. I work full time and weekends are taken up by kids sport. Don’t get me wrong I adore my children and I am so thankful that I have them. My relationship with them has improved since I left their father. They have improved dramatically.they are completely different children. They are happy, content and thriving which makes it all worth it for me. I give them 100% of me to make up for their seemly absent father. He is very much a Disney dad and throws money at them but doesn’t give much of his time. I still hold on to so much resentment. I can’t wrap my head around how he can behave so horribly but he is the one that gets to move on and be happy and have another child and live in a big house. I on the other hand have been single for many years, live in a small 2 bedroom apartment where I sleep on the lounge to allow my kids to have their own rooms. All I do is go to work and come home.
I want to be happy again. I want to fall in love again and share my life with someone. I don’t miss my ex, I would never consider taking him back. So it’s not that he has moved on that is the issue. I hate feeling that life is so unfair. How can you be a good person and do the right thing by people but still not be rewarded by happiness. I really want to get rid of this resentment so that I can have a happy future. It’s hard when my kids are getting excited about a new sibling when all that brings me is further heartache. When do I get my happily ever after??
I have been thinking for a while about how to reply and what I should say. Part of me thought about a book about forgiveness. Part of me thought about how come bad things happen to good people.
I know you love and care for your kids - you said so in your post. Raising kids with both parents can be hard and that you are doing this by yourself would leave you little time for yourself and tired and perhaps stressed. You have every right to feel angry at your ex husband who can play the Disney dad. After all, you also would have to enforce boundaries, be the disciplinarion when children misbehave. So if I were in that position I would be angry, feel etc. And there would be a breaking point of no more or help!
The book I was talking about is called 'the book of forgiveness' and was written by the daughter of Desmond Tutu. It describes 4 stages in the process. And forgiveness is not about letting someone off or a religious thing but a way of being able to move forward and is not a quick thing either.
I have often thought what did I do wrong to be here where.... Yet if anything did change where would I be now. For one, I might not be responding to you.
There is much more I want to say but for me it comes down to finding a way to accept things, to ride the waves.
As for your situation can your ex get more involved? I don't know how. Perhaps find some way to give yourself a little love?
I appreciate you taking the time to respond to me.
Thank you for the book recommendation, I will definitely check it out. I feel like I have forgiven to someone extent in that I’m no longer angry with him. In actual fact I am a big believer in “things happen for a reason”.
We live 2 hours apart. I moved back to be near family. Him being a bigger part of their life was actually detrimental to them and they were suffering. There was abuse which played a part. The shorter visits with him seem to be better for everyone. I do have family support thankfully.
I guess my feelings are me feeling sorry for myself. wondering what I could have done differently and trying to come to terms with my life not turning out as planned.
I would love the opportunity to find love again. But I am unhappy with myself physically. That’s a whole other topic.
I still feel jealous, jealous that he gets to move on and be happy. That’s the feeling I would like to get rid of. Part of me feels that if I could move on and be happy I would no longer feel that way about him. It’s sort of a catch 22 situation.
I used to often wonder - angrily - why, when I tried so hard, things didn’t work out (divorce, single parent, no job, mental illness etc etc). Somehow I had the belief that if you worked hard enough & tried hard, things would work out. And they didn’t! And that’s not fair!!
Then one day, in my mid 40’s, it suddenly hit me = Life isn’t fair! That’s what normal is! It felt like such an incredible revelation. It changed how I thought about life & fairness
I must admit though, I still have a hard time when I try really hard with something, & it doesn’t work out like I expect. I’m very much a work in progress.
I was helped by a book I read also, by Stephanie Dowrick - Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love.
Cheers for now, T.
Thank you for your most honest post and willingness to talk to us here.
I honestly don’t believe you could have done anything differently. You have always been honest and so generous to your family. Busy loving the three of them, raising kids, being there for them. You wouldn’t be able to do anything differently because of your beautiful nature of giving rather than taking, and also because you were simply too busy looking after children and doing 1001 other day-to-day things. Kids of that age and younger eat up so much of parents time that I really don’t understand how on earth some still manage to find time to cheat on their partners. It’s beyond me. Unfortunately some manage and what’s worse, they often get away with it in various ways.
One thing that comes to my mind: you know that he’d moved on, has another child but... this is a relationship build on him cheating on you and you might never know, if he is not doing the same thing to his new partner. Some people are relentless and their egocentricity has no limits.
You have been recommended some great books here.
What I can add is that personally I love the acceptance approach as well as trying to focus on here and now. Not as easy as it sounds, especially around 1 or 2am when I often wake up and can’t go back to sleep. The past and uncertain future try to get on top of me, then and there.
The other thing that comes to my mind is either asking your family for help with randomly looking after your children, or having a conversation with your children and asking them how would they feel about giving their beloved mum some much needed “me time”. Working out an hour here or there to start with.
Let us know how you go.
I read your posts and think you're doing a great job. You said your kids are happy and thriving. To me, that is the biggest achievement of all and if nothing else comes of your divorce apart from that, then you have won. If you hadn't learnt about his cheating, how would things look right now? Or if he hadn't moved on and was still in your life more causing angst for you and the kids, how would that still be playing out?
Sometimes we just have to look for the silver lining. Physical things such as a nice house or money in the bank are great and can make life seem easier. But behind those walls there's still stress and anxiety. The grass is never greener on the other side.
I read a saying: The grass isn't greener on the other side, the grass is greener where you water it. You're watering your children and that is your place right now. You are where you are meant to be.
I know my child could be better off if I was to separate too. I know in some ways I would be too. But I can't because I can't do that to my husband despite all the wrongs that have happened. I wish for the opportunity to be able to be 100% to my child and not live with the restrictions we do, but it's probably not going to happen unless I blow it all up. You have that. I guess what I'm trying to say is, there is always someone who wants what you have too. It's not always the other way around.
Try and do one thing for you each day. It doesn't have to be big. It could be a 10 minute walk. A latte from the cafe at the end of the street. A longer shower. Just something. Then build on that.
Please take care and know you are doing great!
Sorry you are feeling this way…….
Try to focus on all the positive things in your life……
By replaying these things over and over again in your mind is only hurting you……. As hard as it is try to let if go it’s in the past and you no longer live there…..
When you don’t like something take away it’s only power …. Your attention……. Believe good things are coming your way……
Try to forgive others and your self if you need to…….. forgiveness will set you free and letting go will help you to grow 😊
I completely understand how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling the way you are. We like to think that the world is an even and just place and people who are good and kind will be rewarded, and those who do badly will be punished or not get ahead. In reality, his actions had nothing to do with you and was all about him. Do I believe that he has changed, no, I don’t, I just believe that he has moved onto someone else. And I believe wholeheartedly that he will repeat his old patterns with someone else, she will be raising young children with a husband who is giving his number out at work etc. You may be in a two-bedroom apartment but you are a wonderful mother to your children and are there for them endlessly. You are a good person and you get to go on and be you while he has to be him. Your children know who is there for them. So please don’t ever question the quality of your love, but instead the quality of the people you are giving it to. Regarding dating, do you feel that you are at a place where you’re ready? If so, what steps are you taking to make that happen? I know you don’t have a lot of time, but the reality is that you will need to prioritize it if you want your situation to change.
Welcome to the forum,
You have received helpful and supportive suggestions.
Unfair thing happen to good people to change a well known phrase. What happened to you is unfair, is hurtful but resenting will it change anything.?
unlike many resentful people you have an insight and want to change.
you assume he is happy but you don’t really know how he feels with more responsibilities.
it may take time for you to move on. You have a great relationship with wonderful children.
I know it is hard looking into what your ex has .
Thanks so much for reaching out and being honest.