How Can My Ex Move On So Quickly?!
This article below is from my own personal experience and perspective as a 50 + year old woman who has been through a divorce.
Equally, men experience the same acts of betrayal and are left bewildered and confused by their wife’s actions. It is important that they also seek support from men who have been through a traumatic breakup and a Divorce Coach. This article is NOT intended to discriminate against men.
How can my husband move on so quickly even before we’re divorced?
In my coaching practice, the above questions crop up many times. If your ex-husband moved on quickly before or after divorce, that usually causes an additional level of gut-wrenching pain you have to deal with. Before the dust has even settled or the ink has dried on the Decree Absolute, when you feel broken and still want to stay in bed all day and pull the covers over our head, our ex acts like his life has taken an invigorating turn for the better… new love, new excitement, new life! For us, it’s another knife twisted in our gut!
It’s even more hurtful when they start parading the other woman around. We ask ourselves, “What does she have that I don’t have?” Or “What does he have in common with someone half his age?” She may move into your circle of couple friends, family, and attend all of their functions, while you are left on the outside trying to hold yourself together every day. And the children, depending on their ages, are often forced to deal with having her there instead of you when they are with their dad or attending family functions. It’s hard on everyone… except your ex who feels like this is a new lease on life!
Several of my friends said, “I’m amazed that he has moved on so quickly! It’s like, to him, it’s no big deal to leave your family for another woman and just move on like nothing’s happened! How can he do that?!” I felt that I had been replaced, just like you’d replace a mobile phone when it’s no longer working. Tossed aside, no looking back, not an ounce of remorse, simply cold, cruel, and heartless.
“There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”– Nelson Mandela
T hey look at you with contempt in their eyes where once there had been the look of love and warmth. Well, at least you thought that’s what it was! I felt the same way. How could my husband of 27 years simply latch on to his new woman, introduce her to family and friends, plan luxury holidays to far-flung corners of the globe with her, bearing in mind he had always moaned about spending money on a package holiday for a family of four and always protested about his workload and taking time off. I’d also like to add that he left me for woman #1 and within the space of three months he was living with woman #2. To add insult to injury, he had had several other flings, one of which was six months after we married. The truth is, they can do whatever they want after the divorce is final, and they are usually not thinking about us at all.
They are focused on moving forward on their own or with someone who is probably tired of waiting in the wings. More often than not, they do whatever they want as soon as they’ve left the marital home. Your ex moving forward quickly is hard to accept after a long marriage, especially if you didn’t see the breakup coming.
Signs he’s moved on:
Here are some of the signs that your ex-husband has moved on:
- He has a new spring in his step.
- He changes his image i.e. different hairstyles, clothes, etc…
- He keeps encouraging you to “just move on” yourself.
- He says, “This will be better for everyone.”
- He says, “I hope you find someone who will make you happy”.
- He introduces the new woman to friends and family.
- He either wants no contact with you or, even worse…
- He wants to be friends, and calls to ask how you’re doing or offers to help with little things around the house.
My ex sent a letter to me (a few months after he had moved in with his then and now current partner) in which he wrote that he still loved and cared for me and suggested that he’d like us to have a friendship or relationship. Excuse me, I thought that is what our marriage was all about?! The fact that he is pretending to be the rational “good guy” is infuriating! (No I don’t want to be friends with a person who didn’t value our marriage enough to work on it, or who would lie and sneak around and have sex with someone besides me while we were still married and not have the guts to tell me that he wasn’t happy!)
There are many, many reasons to answer the question, “How can my ex-husband move on so quickly after our divorce … and especially after our long-term marriage?” As women, it seems if we didn’t focus solely on a career, we often have more invested in our marriage partner and our family. In midlife or late-life divorce, women are more likely to have been stay-at-home mums. A decision is usually made by both husband and wife after children start to come along. But often, men start being dissatisfied with a spouse who they see as less exciting or who wanted to concentrate on making the family and his success the centre of her attention. Women of a certain age, are on the back foot when it comes to finding employment after a divorce if they gave up their career to raise a family.
This pours salt into the wound, as feelings of abandonment, rejection, and lack of self-worth are exacerbated. I had worked in London as a Legal PA for 12 years before falling pregnant with my first child. Before then, I had helped to support my ex financially when he decided to set up his own business as a Chartered Accountant. As the years went by, he gave up his business to become Financial Director to a local company. I was proud of him and our family unit.
Needless to say, pride is definitely not a word that springs to mind when I think of him now!
Some men, having more opportunities to cheat or to explore new relationships, take advantage of the situation. Also, when men have affairs when our children are young, we try to fix things and make our marriage stronger than ever after that experience. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t.
Figures released in 2017 by The Institute for Family Studies revealed that the rates of extramarital sex are significantly higher in those aged 55. However, according to Nicholas H. Wolfinger, a professor of family studies at the University of Utah, just 14% of those under 55 admitted to ever having cheated. Since 2000, increased cheating has been reported by people in their 50s and 60s. Most of those who admitted straying had been married between 20 and 30 years.
When an ex-husband moves on quickly, it’s often because he has left the relationship emotionally long before we even knew anything was wrong. Most affairs have been going on for a considerable time before an unsuspecting wife even knew her husband was unhappy, or that he wanted out of the marriage. So when we are devastated with the news of him loving another woman and wanting to move on, he is usually feeling a sigh of relief that the “other woman” can finally come out into the open, and he can start his new life. And they often think everyone else is as excited about his newfound love as he is. Most of us (and some of our children) are disgusted, ashamed, and in despair at the same time.
One woman’s daughter said, “Dad, I don’t want to meet her. I don’t want to see her face. She is never coming into my house! If you marry her, I will have to figure out how to deal with it, but for now, I don’t want anything to do with her.” He asked, “Well, what am I supposed to do?” His daughter replied, “That’s your problem, not mine”. In some cases, children are held to ransom financially. My daughter didn’t want to see her father’s new partner or child for several years and his way of punishing her was to use money as a bargaining tool which wasn’t much of a surprise as that is the weapon he used to control me throughout our marriage. “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we first practice to deceive.” – Sir Walter Scott
Why can’t I move on?
M any men who leave long-term marriages have either been thinking about other relationships or actively pursuing other relationships long before we find out. Often they are cowards. Instead of coming to us and saying, “I’m not happy…we need to talk,” or saying, “Things have to change for me,” or “We need to see a marriage counsellor or a divorce lawyer because I’m not happy,” they lie to our faces. For me, that was as hurtful as the fact that he “loved” another woman. The effects of betrayal include shock, loss and grief, damaged self-esteem, self-doubting, etc… However, they walk away as though nothing has happened. Even if we ask if something is wrong, they often continue to lie, *gaslight and sneak around and pretend everything is fine while they are actively involved with someone else. Often they make us think they just need some time “alone.” (That usually is code for “alone with someone else!”) More and more these gutless men do something spectacular for an anniversary, planning a special trip, buying a really expensive gift, sending a birthday, Christmas, Valentines Card with terms of endearment, only to, a few months later, reveal that they aren’t happy and want out of the marriage. Not only is that behaviour bizarre, but it’s cruel and abusive as well. It also complicates the healing process and makes it even more difficult to get closure and put the divorce behind us and look forward.
For most women, it’s normal to miss your ex-husband. The bond in your relationship has been broken and it will take time to grieve the loss of the way of life you’ve known. Regardless of what caused it or how fast our ex-husband has moved on, our job is to figure out what we need to do to make progress forward ourselves. For one thing, if we can’t move on in a positive way, often our children struggle, too. We have an amazing opportunity to teach very powerful lessons to our children about how to deal with adversity. They are going to face tough stuff in life, and we need to be good role models and give them concrete, effective tools to deal with the challenges of life. To move on after a divorce, we need to keep some important truths in mind: We are in charge of our own future. No one else can define us or destroy our happiness. The more time we spend obsessing about him (or them), the less time we have to spend on figuring out what WE need to do next. It is important that we connect with women going through the same divorce journey and who understand the feelings of overwhelm. I became a Divorce Coach so that I can be a guide to walk my clients through the process so that they don’t feel so alone, helpless, or remain stuck. I hold your hand through the storm and back out into the sunshine. Our friends, family, and even our ex may be telling us to “Just move on” but, only other women who have been through the same experience and a Divorce Coach can truly understand how difficult that is. We don’t get tired of listening as our friends and family do, and we don’t say… “Just get over it!”
*Gaslighting – results in the victim questioning his or her own thoughts, values, perceptions, or feelings.