The New Year has deepened the sadness I feel about my marriage ending

The issue: Nina, you had a foresight on the likely effect the festive season might have on me. Even then, I was unprepared for the type of pain I am feeling now that the New Year is upon us. How I wish things were different, and that I was waking up in the place that I once called home. Almost 13 years of being in a marriage I believed would last forever. Will this pain really pass like you said? Am I ever going to be whole again?

Nina’s answer: It is normal for you to still be struggling at this stage. I don’t expect your pain to miraculously go away. Anyone who has been through this kind of betrayal knows how painful it can be. Your self-confidence is currently at its lowest, and it will take time for you to start believing in yourself again. Just remember that you are not to blame for your marriage ending. Your husband is. He is the one who chose to break his promise of standing by you. It’s he who chose to walk away because you can’t have a child together, instead of upholding his marriage vows of ‘for better or worse’. You never expected to be single at this stage in your life, and it’s frightening.

Having said that, you should take care not to become too pessimistic about your future. One person may have betrayed you, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on life. By all means, give yourself time to grieve, but don’t let it be an endless process. What I suggest you do is to start creating a new narrative for yourself. You cannot see yourself as a victim for ever. Feeling sorry for yourself may feel good for a while, however, if you allow that state of mind to take over your life, it will become your new identity. Some people like to be victims, and love nothing more than to tell everyone who would listen, what was done to them. Whatever you do, don’t become one of these people. Making yourself permanently into a victim will be a waste of your life, and an absolute tragedy.

It may be too early for you to start thinking about dating, but at some stage you will have to start giving it real thought. I know that ideally you would love to get back together with your husband, and that would indeed be the easiest and more convenient option. However, so far, all the signs are that he is not coming back. Put a timeframe on how long you will allow yourself to mourn the end of your marriage, and then move on. Of course, after a betrayal of this magnitude, you may be unwilling to let a man into your life again. Even if that ends up being the case, you can still live a happy and fulfilled life. Whatever you decide to do, don’t give up on life.

Like I said before, one way to move on, is to create a new narrative for yourself. Believe that nothing in life happens that wasn’t meant to be, and that if God wanted you and your husband to be together until death you apart, you would still be together. For, what God has joined together, no man can separate. Just remember that, and let it be the new narrative for your future.

Nina Steele is agony aunt. Send any dilemma you may have to: [email protected]

Childless African woman

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