So, your partner of many years (in my case, ten) tells you, ‘I don’t see you in that way any more.’ The same person who got down on one knee next to the Trevi Fountain and asked you to marry him eight years earlier. You might be sat in a coffee shop when this happens and you might hold back the punch that you want to plough into his pathetic face and instead you walk out, leaving both him and your latte behind.
Everything will be a blur after this. The internal cloud that chokes you as you walk across a busy car park will muffle the sounds of car engines and people’s chatter. Tears will well in your eyes, which you’ll hold back in case he notices from the window. Then, you’ll drive away in auto-pilot while the tears burst, eventually soaking your collar.
Since your problems began, you’ve suspected that there’s been someone else involved and he’s swore that it’s untrue. But, it is true and you discover that the man who you lived with for so long is not the person you thought he was at all. He is a chameleon in human form, who when faced with problems runs and seeks comfort from another and lies to cover it up.
By the way, you know that you are far from perfect yourself, but you can hold your head high knowing that you have owned your truth and would never treat anyone in the way that he has.
Now, if you didn’t have his six year old child, you would never have to set eyes on this coward ever again. But, if like in my case he has always been a good dad and your son’s happiness is paramount, you will opt to put your own feelings aside and your son will be none the wiser.
So, how do you do it? I’m by no means an expert, but right now, this is working for both me and my little boy.
1. You keep strong. Well, at least in front of your little boy and the coward, when you have the misfortune of coming face-to-face with him.
2. You actually do keep strong. Plan your day ahead and keep busy. Distract yourself with work or a hobby. Having a child is a great natural distraction. There’s nothing like their little voice or laughter to lift you up.
3. Get healthy. Eat well and exercise. Don’t let yourself go. Although it’s not about reminding him of what he’s lost, feeling good about yourself when you are around him will help you get through it.
4. Have your moments of self-pity and allow yourself to cry. Cry and then cry some more. It’s still raw and you have to get it out of your system. Listening to relatable, sad love songs, however heart wrenching the lyrics are will help you do this. Remember to keep this to moments when you are alone, though!
5. Seek advice or simply a-shoulder-to-cry-on from family and friends. Sharing experiences with people you trust instinctively gives new clarity to what can feel like our darkest moment.
6. Be honest with your little one. Tell them, ‘mummy and daddy can no longer live together, but still love you.’ Tell him/her it’s an adventure and they now have two houses to stay at. Also, allow them to feel sad about it. Share that you feel sad also, but overall, keep them upbeat about the whole thing. They should never be the person you confide in. Keep this for friends and family.
7. Ask your little one when they would like to spend time with daddy. Don’t do the coward any favours, but make sure your little one doesn’t miss out. Remember that when they are old enough, they will work out for themselves what daddy did to their family.
8. If you still can, amicably work out finances moving forward. I do this by text, so I don’t have to look at him or listen to his voice. Also, it means that you’re keeping a paper-chain of evidence if needed. Get financial guidance if you are not satisfied with what he’s offering. Remember, it was his choice to leave the family home and his child’s upkeep still remains. Not only do they need food and clothing, but bills and other outgoings (memberships, etc) still need to be paid and this should be reflected in his contribution. If he is a good dad, he will accept this.
9. Don’t hold onto the hate. The universe is on your side and he will get his karma in due time. It will not be your concern as you’re moving on, becoming stronger and stronger.
10. Look ahead. Your future is going to be so much better. You no longer have a deceitful, untrustworthy coward at your side. You have learned from this experience and you deserve and will choose better the next time around.