real life

'My dad moved on quickly after my mum died. After our divorce, my husband is doing the same to me.'

Am I even alive? Can anybody see me? Today I feel like not so much. 

It’s the school holidays, and along with my teenage my children I am on holidays. However, right now I am not with my children, because they are 2km down the road at their father’s house (my ex) with his new girlfriend and her kids. A brand-new family unit, and I am alone.

It’s been two and a half years since we broke up, but I am still struggling with grief. I have not re-partnered, I have not been with anyone since the break-up. Instead, I have spent my time trying to recover and rebuild my life. I have listened to podcasts and read books on divorce, vented to my girlfriends, and watching way too much Netflix. I have cried, oh how I have cried. During this time I have also been seeing my psychologist fortnightly to try to recover from the breakup, move on and try to create a happy life for myself. 

My ex was my best friend, we were friends for 17 years before our nearly two-decade relationship began. In the last couple of years of our marriage I became more and more tired and resentful due to the extra load I had to take on because of his various health issues and depression. Over the years I asked him, then begged him to do counselling with or without me, but he refused. You see, in a way he was okay with being depressed; it was familiar. Going to counselling was work, and he wasn’t prepared to do that work – and why would he? He had me to do all the work in the family, which allowed him to carry on being depressed and unavailable. 

So, I made the incredibly hard decision to end the marriage. At first it was a relief! I wasn’t angry and resentful anymore– and I had time off from the kids 50 per cent of the time for the first time in 15 years, which was glorious. Six months after the breakup he asked to come back. I wanted to give it a year, and get counselling before I would consider it. He didn’t like these terms, so that weekend he went out and got a girlfriend. He wasn’t prepared to fight for me and our family, and after 17 years together and two kids he replaced me – snap! His friends all think it’s great – I mean OUR friends. They are invited to all the parties and places now – I no longer exist. 


Today I asked my psychologist why I am still so heart broken, why aren’t I moving through this quicker, and then she put the finger on it. I’ve had a man do this to me before – my father.

Watch: MM Confessions: When I knew our relationship was over. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

When I was eight and my sister 11, our mother died. Two months later he started seeing someone, and a year later they married. My mother’s family was cut off from us (we didn’t see them again for 15 years), and our mother was never spoken of. I am now my mother. I am forgotten and not spoken about, easily replaced - but I am still alive. 

This work I am having to do is so big. Sometimes, like today, it feels too big. I know my situation isn’t unusual, in fact it’s incredibly common. Most men re-partner quickly after break ups, women not so much. 


(For men) ‘…partner-initiated break-ups are especially injurious but many men attempt to downplay their hurt and re-establish their manhood by quickly and unemotionally moving on to another romantic relationship (Hartman, 2017).’

Some reasons women are hesitant to re-partnering are:

  • Women are more financially independent these days. 
  • Their husband was like another child to parent and not an equal partner. Women come out of marriage exhausted, not wanting to risk the chance of falling into that type of relationship again. 
  • The space and time women gain after divorce to concentrate on themselves and their own needs after such a long time is too good to consider giving up again. 

But we can still feel lonely, and invisible, and at times like today, feel dead in the eyes of people that used to be in our lives. It’s especially hard knowing he has recreated a new family unit with another woman and my children.

So I ask this – why can’t more men be equal partners? Why can’t more men deal with their shit and get counselling so they can become better partners and more rounded individuals? Why are we not worth fighting for? How can we be so easily replaced? Does it come down to our standards and deciding how much we are willing to put up with? And why DO we have to PUT UP WITH so much??

I know that his actions are just that – his actions, his way of dealing with the breakup, and I can interpret that however I want. But it still hurts. To quote him when he first re-partnered “Why do you even care? You don’t want me so why does it matter?”. He’s right, I don’t want him, not the depressed, emotionally unavailable partner who didn’t appreciate me. But I think I was worth fighting for, I was a good partner, I looked after him, I carried our family for years - I did so much work! But all that work, sacrifice and love I put into my relationship and family over the years has come to where I am now: invisible and replaced.

Feature Image: Canva.

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