Divorcebusting.com
Thanks to all who have contributed and been patient as I navigate some tough times!

Quick summary: married over 30 years, wife files for divorce and walks out without notice or prior discussion. Divorce is still in process after 14 months. Adult children in their 20s so there are no custody issues. Wish I had discovered DB back when she filed but I only found it 4 months ago. Current view is that there is zero chance she is coming back. Working hard on GAL and 180s, and 180s can be found in previous threads.

Part 3:
https://www.divorcebusting.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2910956&page=1

Part 2:
https://www.divorcebusting.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2909819&page=1

Part 1:
https://www.divorcebusting.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2905366&page=1
Hi Tom,

Remind me again about the living arrangement of your kids.
Originally Posted by harvey
Yes, we all have negative personality traits, but I think my positive personality traits (thick-skinned, forgiving, self-deprecating, non-jealous, even-keeled, good natured, loyal) far outweigh my negative personality traits. On top of that I make really good money, I'm not addicted to drugs/alcohol, I'm a good father, etc. I think that is appealing to many women. It is to my GF.

Thanks for saying this. I thought my positives outweighed by negatives by at least 2:1, especially when comparing myself to other marriages of friends and family. My ex's sister is married to a very troubled fellow with volcanic anger problems and huge issues with self-esteem mostly because of an abusive father. Yet, this sister remains married to this (sorry, it's true) monster while she counsels her baby sister (my ex) to leave me! [Please, no one needs to respond to this point ... I still have to let hurt out once in awhile.]

Originally Posted by harvey
... she was also the one that wanted the huge house and fancy things, so we just couldn't afford for her to quit her job. At the time of our divorce, we were in the process of building a 5600 square foot house on a 2.5 acre lot in a gated community.

Did she keep the house? I assume you had no interest in it.

Originally Posted by harvey
I think of a relationship as a jigsaw puzzle. The pieces that you and your SO bring just have to fit right. My GF appreciates what I bring to the table much more than my XW, and my negatives don't bother her that much. My GF is kind of a procrastinator--like me.

This is a great point, Harvey, I'm going to remember this.

Originally Posted by harvey
At my age I'm not going to do much about my personality traits. The ones that affect relationships (lack of empathy) I work on. The rest are just who I am.

We should explore this a bit more. I know that my ex and I were very different people yet during our courtship we complemented each other very well. I filled in many pieces that were missing in her life. She liked that I was outgoing, bold, fearless, adventuresome, and passionate. Never at a loss for words. Made friends anywhere and everywhere. Analytical and logical. Yes, I have always been a little high strung but I would always, always back down if she thought I was being too dramatic. It worked well for so many years.

My negative traits will no doubt be found buried inside the positive ones.

Originally Posted by harvey

This has to be my longest post on this forum.

Thanks for trusting us all, Harvey!
Originally Posted by Ready2Change
In regard to finding the right person, Steve85 advises to wait a year to start dating again. I'm not set on any rules. I felt ready after 9 months. Other guys probably aren't. However, I think you need to really get to know somebody before proposing. I proposed to my XW after one year of dating (pressured by her). We were married a year later. That will never happen again. I've been dating my girlfriend for 16 months. I will not propose to her until I know deep down that it can work. I will not rush into marriage. Marriage is years down the road for me.

I will start addressing this point in the New Year. There are some developments for me, but I want to talk through my 180s first a bit more.
Originally Posted by Ready2Change
Hi Tom, Remind me again about the living arrangement of your kids.

Ages from early to mid-20s, one at home permanently, two others home until early January.
Originally Posted by tom_h
Did she keep the house? I assume you had no interest in it.


We sold the house. It took us a year to sell the house after the divorce. We split the mortgage payments until we sold the house. I bought another house after the divorce, so those double mortgages were tough. We also had something happen to the house in that year, and it cost us $6K (deductible). We sold the house for about the same price as it cost. It was a really nice house, and we had an offer on the day we put it up for sale for $50K more than we bought if for. I won't get into details, but there was a party connected to the builder that basically sabotaged the sale. Pissed me off, but ultimately chose not to sue. The difference in the sale + mortgage payments + damage cost me around $50K.

Originally Posted by tom_h
We should explore this a bit more. I know that my ex and I were very different people yet during our courtship we complemented each other very well. I filled in many pieces that were missing in her life. She liked that I was outgoing, bold, fearless, adventuresome, and passionate. Never at a loss for words. Made friends anywhere and everywhere. Analytical and logical. Yes, I have always been a little high strung but I would always, always back down if she thought I was being too dramatic. It worked well for so many years.

My negative traits will no doubt be found buried inside the positive ones.


I think there are personality traits (lack of empathy, overly jealous, too beta) that can kill a relationship. I think it's important to identify and work at those.

My biggest failure in my marriage was lack of leadership. My XW is an alpha. To keep peace, I submitted the role to her. Big mistake that I won't make again. Women like my XW will test a man. I failed the test.

Leadership, listening, empathizing - those are the things that I've worked on. Every LBS has their own 180s to make.
Originally Posted by Rose888
You choose to quote only part of only one of the three paragraphs I wrote, thus making it appear my point was something other than what it was.
Didn't do it deliberately, but I sure know the feeling.

Originally Posted by Rose888
I'm bowing out for now.
I most certainly respect your decision.
Originally Posted by harvey
I think there are personality traits (lack of empathy, overly jealous, too beta) that can kill a relationship. I think it's important to identify and work at those.

My biggest failure in my marriage was lack of leadership. My XW is an alpha. To keep peace, I submitted the role to her. Big mistake that I won't make again. Women like my XW will test a man. I failed the test.

Leadership, listening, empathizing - those are the things that I've worked on. Every LBS has their own 180s to make.

I can't help but wonder sometimes if the personality traits that an ex-spouse really really liked when you met don't become the source of her dislike later on.

I said in a previous post that I suspect the source of my bad personality traits will be found in my good ones. For example, I'm accustomed to leadership and have been in leadership roles for decades; I am good at canvassing for facts and, if necessary, making swift decisions. I have been told that people want me at their side during tough times (I have no military experience, by the way). But this leads to a curtness that I'm certain is one thing that my XW got torn up about. For example, she once came to me (years ago) and told me that we could shave ~$50/month in expenses by deleting a few things on the cable bill (a second land line and some sports channels) and by using smaller trash containers. I was busy and distracted and probably had finished a very stressful day, and was very dismissive of this suggestion; I was also making fantastic money. I recall she was very hurt by my reply "honey we don't need to save the money and once in awhile I like those channels"; I recall her walking away with hurt in her eyes. I didn't mean to be cruel or curt; I adored her, I worshiped her character and spirit! But in retrospect, I expect that wound never healed. We certainly never worked it out or discussed it. I never forgot that moment, but I expect there were other times where she tallied more and more hurts like that.

Yes, I hang my head in shame for what I did. Sigh. Some of you might recall a previous comment of mine where I quoted her saying she felt like a piece of furniture. Well, this would be exhibit A for that sentiment.
Happy New Year everyone!

To all my DB friends, it's now time to announce that, yes, I am seeing someone. Based on prior comments I expect to get a lot of, shall we say, "challenging" feedback for this situation. But it's important to divulge this now because I have been working on my 180s, and fixing myself, together with this lovely lady and I can't leave her out of the dialogue anymore.

It's been going on for a number of months (recall that BD was Sept 2019, 15 months ago). She is a former girlfriend, from over 30 years ago; we were both totally smitten with each other back then. But we were young, and although we had a great time together, we were typical of any couple in their mid-20s -- worked hard, played hard, and broke up twice. Then I met the sweet girl next door who, over a year later, became my wife (and future WAW). We'll call my girlfriend, for the purposes of this forum, Sally.

Earlier this year, trying to pick up the pieces, I looked up Sally and found out that she too had recently become single, her husband of 30 years having passed on from cancer. It was pretty mind-blowing; we had both become single again at the same time! I arranged a dinner, we spent 3 hours awkwardly catching up, and then literally fell into each other's arms. Everything was so familiar.

So I am in a significant, serious relationship now. With someone who already knew me well, someone who says quite frequently, Tom you haven't changed! We didn't have a startup phase to the resumption of our relationship this year. We plunged in. And I'm loving it. I am made for relationship with a woman.

I'll leave the story at this point for now. Happy to reply to anything all my friends here want to say. Also happy to explore all the important issues, such as "am I ready for a relationship, have I fixed myself yet?" and to tell you all how I'm working through my 180s together with Sally.
Hi Tom,

Happy New Year. Quick question, if your STBXW came back to you tomorrow and apologised for the hurt she caused you, for abandoning you and recognised all your changes and wanted to give it a second chance, what would you do?
Hi Tom,

Not sure why you think people would treat you harshly for being in a relationship, if youíre over your ex. Congrats if you found someone you like! The lines that most gives me pause are where you say you two havenít changed much and ď But we were young, and although we had a great time together, we were typical of any couple in their mid-20s -- worked hard, played hard, and broke up twice.Ē I broke up with people for real reasons. Iíd face why you actually broke up twice, and consider what has changed if anything due to the intervening years (meaningful stuff-/not stronger feelings, wanting it more, etc.) to maximize the chance of a different outcome or abort early if the same outcome is likely. Good luck!
Originally Posted by OnlyBent
Hi Tom,

Happy New Year. Quick question, if your STBXW came back to you tomorrow and apologised for the hurt she caused you, for abandoning you and recognised all your changes and wanted to give it a second chance, what would you do?

This is an excellent question and one I have been working on with my therapist and have discussed with Sally.

I would talk. I have been waiting to talk for 14.5 months. But I would have to approach any discussion independent of Sally, meaning it would have to be just me and the ex. And after 15 months I am very doubtful I would go back with my her. I would forgive her, of course -- in fact, I already forgave her. But among all the things I have realized over this time, including my deep look into my own failings, I have realized that my ex did not really know me, even after having been married to me for so long. She didn't understand me. I made a million mistakes, of course. But her key decision was probably 2-3 years ago, when she decided to plan for a divorce rather than give our marriage a try. She thought I had anger problems. She was certain I would never change. She has insisted to her friends that she tried and tried and tried and finally gave up when it was hopeless -- but it never was hopeless! I forget which other DBer here said it, but at BD, the WAW views the LBH in only bad terms, and the LBH views the WAW in only good terms. After time goes by, the WAW starts to mellow in her critical thoughts, but the LBH looks are her more skeptically and wonders why he should stay with someone who doesn't want him and was willing to betray him by walking out without notice. I am at that stage now.

The chances of her doing that are miniscule. My ex is not especially sophisticated, and when she makes decision she sticks with it. Some people are not wired that way, but she is. I am certain that she is relieved to not have to be around me now, that it is a relief to have a kitchen, a bedroom, and a living room to herself. She's not coming back.
Originally Posted by CWarrior
Hi Tom,

Not sure why you think people would treat you harshly for being in a relationship, if youíre over your ex. Congrats if you found someone you like! The lines that most gives me pause are where you say you two havenít changed much and ď But we were young, and although we had a great time together, we were typical of any couple in their mid-20s -- worked hard, played hard, and broke up twice.Ē I broke up with people for real reasons. Iíd face why you actually broke up twice, and consider what has changed if anything due to the intervening years (meaningful stuff-/not stronger feelings, wanting it more, etc.) to maximize the chance of a different outcome or abort early if the same outcome is likely. Good luck!

CW, a couple DBers here were pretty adamant that you had to wait 2 years before dating again, much less being in a relationship. As for me? I couldn't let this pass. I couldn't say to her, let's start dating in a year. I would not be dating under other circumstances, but I know her, she knows me, it's like we have a 1-year head start on things and all we have to do is catch up on 30 years of life and figure out how our marriages have changed us.

Saying "you haven't changed" is mostly rhetorical. Of course we have. But it's the little things, mostly. She holds her fork the same odd way she did back in the late 1980s, and I remembered. She slips her arm through mine and nuzzles my shoulder the same way she did. I roll my eyes the same way as back then, and my laugh is the same.

The story of the breakups back then is both funny and poignant. When you're 24 or 25 you do dumb things, you say dumb things. Yet ... I broke up with Sally to develop the relationship with my STBXW! We have talked about this at length. Sally was not ready to settle down, but I was. And that was the primary reason. And why didn't I stay with Sally and just give her a few more years? Because ... my insecurities coming out again ... I was terrified of her. I grew up in a modest, crazy and ethnic (mostly Italian) household. I was born frugal and practical -- that's the technical man in me. She was neither. I wanted a girl next door type who believed in "for better and for worse," who wanted a white picket fence and a large family. Sally was worldly and wanted to go out to clubs and vacation at the South of France. She was beautiful and sexy and fun but I was looking elsewhere.

I didn't give Sally a chance back then ... I made my decision in a vacuum and just announced to her the second time (the first breakup was for silly reasons) that we were done. She told me that it devastated her. I never knew. She ended up settling down 18 months later. She laughs and said maybe we were so close to getting married, the two of us, back then. But I tell her that I never want to speak of it that way, because wishing that we had married undoes her child and my three. So we just have to smile and look ahead.
This is a forum. People posting in a frank manner is not "being treated harshly". Come on Tom! No one would begrudge you if you could answer OB's question with a firm "I would not take her back no matter what". The problem posters were trying to get you to understand is that many Less rush into dating to get over the pain of the break up of their marriage, and that is not healthy.

In the end, none of us can stop you from dating or being in a new relationship. Knock yourself out! But we will rightfully point out when a LBS wants their spouse back and dates anyway.
Quote
I broke up with Sally to develop the relationship with my STBXW!


Quote
I made my decision in a vacuum and just announced to her the second time (the first breakup was for silly reasons) that we were done. She told me that it devastated her. I never knew.


Uhhhh, what? You dumped her for another woman out of the blue and it didnít occur to you that she would be upset by that?

This is a prime example of your lack of empathy. Did you ever put yourself in her shoes and imagine how she might have felt?

Iím surprised she gave you another chance after that.
Originally Posted by Steve85
This is a forum. People posting in a frank manner is not "being treated harshly". Come on Tom! No one would begrudge you if you could answer OB's question with a firm "I would not take her back no matter what". The problem posters were trying to get you to understand is that many Less rush into dating to get over the pain of the break up of their marriage, and that is not healthy.

In the end, none of us can stop you from dating or being in a new relationship. Knock yourself out! But we will rightfully point out when a LBS wants their spouse back and dates anyway.

Whoa, Steve, "harshly" was not my words! Please make certain of that ... I recall being curious that some of you had pointed opinions, but I never said harsh; I said "challenging" tongue-in-cheek.

Forgive me but I'm a bit sensitive about having words or meaning ascribed to me that I did not say or mean. You've seen the exchanges. And yes, I want you all to keep me accountable so ask away about things.
Originally Posted by scout12
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I broke up with Sally to develop the relationship with my STBXW!

Quote
I made my decision in a vacuum and just announced to her the second time (the first breakup was for silly reasons) that we were done. She told me that it devastated her. I never knew.

Uhhhh, what? You dumped her for another woman out of the blue and it didnít occur to you that she would be upset by that?

This is a prime example of your lack of empathy. Did you ever put yourself in her shoes and imagine how she might have felt?

Iím surprised she gave you another chance after that.

Well, maybe I'm a better catch than you think, Scout! You're always looking at my glass half (no, 10%) empty. And perhaps Sally is a better judge of character than you as well. There are of course more details but you wanted to just jump all over me and reconfirm your notions about me, fine.

Sally and I were dating back then but we hadn't expressed love for each other. We were both seeing other people (our relationship was long distance) and we had been candid about our respective situations. Perhaps the only "unfair" part of things back then is that she had fallen in love with me but hadn't said it, and I broke up before she had a chance to tell me. We were both slowly making our choices. It happens every day -- one person is more in love with a partner than the other, and is heartbroken when the other one moves on. It's called life, not a lack of empathy, to the heartbroken one. And yes, of course I cared how she felt back then; I was kind to everyone. I didn't know she had been in love with me, though, at the breakup. She called me once, a year later, to see if I was still dating my future wife, but it was a short and awkward call -- I was already engaged. I didn't really find out she had been in love with me, back then, until this year. I didn't know the term empathy back then but I would have been kind to her to be sure. So ... sorry Scout, you were quick to judge and quick to complain and wrong on both counts.

As for empathy, you might have shown some yourself by asking how I broke the ice this year. You didn't care to ask but I'll tell everyone else anyway.

I tried to be as empathetic as possible. I first wrote her a short note, handwritten on an embossed card, that said it appears we had both undergone significant life transitions recently (I saw the obit for her husband) and would she be interested in reconnecting? I ended the note saying, if she found this letter to be unwelcome, just let me know by email or USPS and I would not reach out again. Such was not the case; we began an active email conversation the following week that went on for a full month before our first date.

During that first date, at dinner, I was of course very apologetic; I had rehearsed my words to her for weeks! I told her she had every reason to be angry that I had broken up to eventually marry someone else, and was now back because that woman had divorced me! I told her as much as I could remember about the times all those years ago, what went through my head, all the thoughts I hadn't expressed back then. In essence, her reply was, how could I be angry at you, you were kind and gentlemanly, we just didn't have the chance to date long enough to where we both had the same feelings; and I wouldn't show desperation, at the breakup, by saying, "please don't do it, I'm in love with you!"

Sally knew then, and knows now, that I am a sincere fellow; if I wasn't, there would have been no second date this year.

As I said in the previous post -- I was ready to settle down, Sally was not. I was the marrying type but she wasn't. I wanted a home and a family, and to start 401ks and investing money. Sally wanted to live in New York, go clubbing, and have a boyfriend who could take her to the south of France. We really were just at different stages of life, even though our ages were about the same.

We still are both blown away at the timing; her husband's obituary was in June, my wife walked out in September. There are so many reasons why it almost seems beyond a coincidence; after 30 years we both turn single at virtually the same time! We both look into each other's eyes now and wonder, openly, "is this finally our chance?"

Still, even today she teases me about it, and even her daughter teases me about it, that I "dumped her but came back." Yet, so much time has passed, so much water is under the bridge. I think I showed maximum empathy when I reconnected with her. And that's what I hope my friends here at DB care about. What am I doing today. I am thrilled to be with her, positively thrilled.

Now -- this relationship with her is not a done deal. We have a lot to work out; our marriages were very different. We have talked over how wounded we are, in our own unique ways, after our first marriages. We have some different political and social views. We still have different attitudes about money. And -- it is still a long distance relationship.

She knows I am on a divorce forum, by the way, but she does not know the URL. I felt that it would be healthier that way that she not see what I say here. But she knows all about GAL/180s/Detach. Also love languages. We talk about those regularly.

I welcome any other questions!

** Final point -- there is a concept out there about First Loves, which explains why middle aged and elderly people have great second marriages with someone they knew in their youth, and why this might be better than just meeting another single and starting from scratch. If anyone here knows about this I'd appreciate talking about it.
You say you welcome any questions or feedback, then are rude and condescending when you read something you donít like. You continue to tell someone their perspective is wrong, you assume they want to jump all over you ( which scout did not , you had been open to learning about empathy, and thatís what she was showing)

You are very defensive and abrasive with people who try to help because thoughts arenít expressed exactly in the manner you would like to hear them expressed. And no one has ever been rude, but unless they say something you want to hear, you come back with venom. How is that effective communication? Do you communicate with sally like that? Or does she speak to you in the tone and in the way and say only what you want to hear and how you want to hear it?

And Here is my question regarding sally. You reached out to her for romantic reconnection when you say her husbands obituary and he had only been dead and buried for 3 months? Did I read that correctly?
The time line is also a little confusing. You came here 8/27/2020 to save your marriage, but you were beginning a relationship with sally at that time, one that was never mentioned until now? So you were dating someone no one had any idea here, and you were given advice on divorcebusting thinking you were uninvolved with someone else and single?

Iím so confused. Please clarify if I am wrong
Originally Posted by tom_h
Originally Posted by Steve85
This is a forum. People posting in a frank manner is not "being treated harshly". Come on Tom! No one would begrudge you if you could answer OB's question with a firm "I would not take her back no matter what". The problem posters were trying to get you to understand is that many Less rush into dating to get over the pain of the break up of their marriage, and that is not healthy.

In the end, none of us can stop you from dating or being in a new relationship. Knock yourself out! But we will rightfully point out when a LBS wants their spouse back and dates anyway.

Whoa, Steve, "harshly" was not my words! Please make certain of that ... I recall being curious that some of you had pointed opinions, but I never said harsh; I said "challenging" tongue-in-cheek.

Forgive me but I'm a bit sensitive about having words or meaning ascribed to me that I did not say or mean. You've seen the exchanges. And yes, I want you all to keep me accountable so ask away about things.


Ok, I stand corrected on the word "harshly", it was CW's word, not yours.

Everything else I stated stands. I agree, you're sensitive, but not just about words being attributed to you. It appears you are quite sensitive about anything other than attaboys. Remember, the posters here are trying to help. I found in my threads that it was better to ignore advice you don't like, rather than challenge everything you disagree with. Maybe insight into a bit of a dynamic that helped in your marriage ending and resulted in your STBXW not speaking to you? Maybe she doesn't want a scolding everytime she gets a minor detail incorrect? Something to consider.

Happy New Year Tom, may 2021 bring you peace and prosperity.
^^^^ I agree. I imagine your wife just stopped talking because anything you donít agree with is shot back with venom and being told the way someone perceives is wrong. I would certainly not want to engage in that. Itís exhausting, hurtful, and you feel like you canít communicate any true feelings because your feelings and perceptions are automatically invalidated and ridiculed. I would absolutely shut down completely
Originally Posted by Steve85

Everything else I stated stands. I agree, you're sensitive, but not just about words being attributed to you. It appears you are quite sensitive about anything other than attaboys. Remember, the posters here are trying to help. I found in my threads that it was better to ignore advice you don't like, rather than challenge everything you disagree with. Maybe insight into a bit of a dynamic that helped in your marriage ending and resulted in your STBXW not speaking to you? Maybe she doesn't want a scolding everytime she gets a minor detail incorrect? Something to consider.

Happy New Year Tom, may 2021 bring you peace and prosperity.

Thank you Steve. Happy new year to you too. I will do what you advise. I do not think all posters on my threads have my best interest at heart. Some of them lurk for weeks until they find a reason to criticize and leap into view . Scout, for instance. She could have asked whether I had shown empathy to Sally 30 years ago and this year, but instead she assumed I had not been empathetic so as to reinforce her perceptions of me and to feel good about lambasting me as a j-rk to everyone. These little brush fires are not started by me.

I accept your advice, I will ignore those who do not appear like theyíre trying to be constructive.
Tom, Iíll be honest. I find your posting style very weird. You dole out incomplete pieces of a story, bait people into commenting, then lambast them for offering perspective based on incomplete information. You also hint at other things happening that would give a clearer picture, but force people to ask rather than just being open and sharing it all. Why is that? The attitude I get from you is that we have to prove that weíre worthy of reading your story and participating in this thread. It comes off extremely entitled.

Quote
I tried to be as empathetic as possible. I first wrote her a short note, handwritten on an embossed card, that said it appears we had both undergone significant life transitions recently (I saw the obit for her husband) and would she be interested in reconnecting? I ended the note saying, if she found this letter to be unwelcome, just let me know by email or USPS and I would not reach out again.


I think this demonstrates again that you donít fully understand empathy. Going purely off the information you shared in that paragraph, your actions just seem self-serving. I donít actually see any empathy here. Empathy would have been sending the card with the sole purpose of offering sincere condolences for her loss, NOT talking about yourself with the goal of rekindling your romantic connection. Iíll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you did address her husbandís passing and just didnít mention it here, because itíd be pretty damn cold if you didnít. Maybe you sent flowers along with the card too, since youíre such a kind person? Iíd be interested if you were willing to clarify?
Originally Posted by scout12
Tom, Iíll be honest. I find your posting style very weird. You dole out incomplete pieces of a story, bait people into commenting, then lambast them for offering perspective based on incomplete information. You also hint at other things happening that would give a clearer picture, but force people to ask rather than just being open and sharing it all. Why is that? The attitude I get from you is that we have to prove that weíre worthy of reading your story and participating in this thread. It comes off extremely entitled.

Quote
I tried to be as empathetic as possible. I first wrote her a short note, handwritten on an embossed card, that said it appears we had both undergone significant life transitions recently (I saw the obit for her husband) and would she be interested in reconnecting? I ended the note saying, if she found this letter to be unwelcome, just let me know by email or USPS and I would not reach out again.


I think this demonstrates again that you donít fully understand empathy. Going purely off the information you shared in that paragraph, your actions just seem self-serving. I donít actually see any empathy here. Empathy would have been sending the card with the sole purpose of offering sincere condolences for her loss, NOT talking about yourself with the goal of rekindling your romantic connection. Iíll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you did address her husbandís passing and just didnít mention it here, because itíd be pretty damn cold if you didnít. Maybe you sent flowers along with the card too, since youíre such a kind person? Iíd be interested if you were willing to clarify?

OK, Scout, I'll continue this. I was reluctant to but I will.

I noted early on that most people do not respond to long posts. So while I don't write teaser posts per se, i have assumed that if questions arise from a 3-para post people will ask for clarification. As it is, I still write lots of long posts, but if I told full stories the would be much longer and no one would read them. I don't call that wierd, by the way. I'm just trying to understand what works.

The initial outreach to Sally was a short notecard. Brief. We hadn't spoken in 32 years, and I did offer my condolences, although it had been over a year since her husband died. We began our active communication via email the following week. It was mostly just chatty, about lives and vacations and careers and children. She apologized for my marriage having ended as well. We didn't really break the ice until our dinner a month after the written connection.

And you assumed that I asked to rekindle the romance in the first note. I did not. I just asked how she was, offered condolences for her husband having died the prior year, and wondered whether she would like to get together, and said it would be good to reconnect. Then my postscript that if the note was unwelcome, to let me know.

Perhaps Sally is the best judge of how things worked, by the way, and whether there was enough empathy and sincerity. She opened the note, saw my name embossed across the top, and immediately got both nervous and excited. We had both still had a candle burning for each other, even after all those years! To her it was the most thrilling note she had received in a long time. For the following month, we both admitted that we each awaited each new email with baited breath. It was a real reconnection of sundered hearts.

Now my commentary. I still think youre looking for reasons to criticize, Scout. I have to be honest here. Your words seeth disdain. If you can't see this, maybe you need to look inside your heart more carefully at your motives. Certainly the prior comment did. Or, maybe it is your practice to shoot from the hip, and anger people, with reflexive words. Either way, I found that earlier comment offensive. If such is to be your style it might be best if you bowed out from particpating in my threads.

[Written in a hurry, on an airplane and the doors are closing.]
Originally Posted by tom_h



She knows I am on a divorce forum, by the way, but she does not know the URL. I felt that it would be healthier that way that she not see what I say here. But she knows all about GAL/180s/Detach. Also love languages. We talk about those regularly.

I welcome any other questions!



Does she know why you came to this forum and the nature of it?

Do you?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Tom.

I was trying to determine the reason behind the note. Was it to acknowledge the pain she must have felt at losing her husband? Or was it to open the door to the possibility of a new relationship with you? The former is empathy, the latter is not.

Would you have contacted her if you hadnít seen the obituary and realised her husband had passed away? Thereís a difference between ďMy old friend is grieving, I wonder if sheís doing alrightĒ and ďMy old friend is single, I wonder if sheís open to dating meĒ.

Sheís obviously okay with your approach, so congratulations on your newfound happiness. I, too, wonder what motivated you to start posting here if youíd already started a new relationship and werenít trying to save your marriage.
Tom_I,
Wonder why I am posting, do you?
What do you want?
Wow, a GF before you came here.
What relationship do you want?
You are a complex person
Wish you the best.
dunnm
Originally Posted by SamCal
Originally Posted by tom_h

She knows I am on a divorce forum, by the way, but she does not know the URL. I felt that it would be healthier that way that she not see what I say here. But she knows all about GAL/180s/Detach. Also love languages. We talk about those regularly.

I welcome any other questions!



Does she know why you came to this forum and the nature of it?

Do you?

Yes she does. Sally knows that I have a lot I am wrestling with about my failures. She and I have discussed my 180s, all seven of them. She actually has been talking about her own 180s as well, mostly because I have talked about the principles of detach/180s/GAL at length.

As for your last question, SamCal, I came to this forum because I still had an enormous hole in my heart and had a lot of healing to do. Still do, even with my romance with Sally. [She does too, by the way, after her husband passed on. We sometimes laugh and call ourselves the walking wounded couple. We examine our prior marriages all the time.] I stumbled on DB only because of Michelle's article on the WAW syndrome, which fit my ex to a T, that she wrote about 10 years ago. I found it on google. That same article talked about how the men whose wives leave them without warning are brought so low that they are ready to make any and all changes to become great second husbands. So Michelle's article, and DB, have given me great hope. Even my therapist is impressed with what I get off of DB!

My healing now comes from three quarters: DB, my therapist, and Sally. It's working. Sometimes it's two steps forward and one step back, but it's working.

Originally Posted by dunnm
Tom_I,
Wonder why I am posting, do you?
What do you want?
Wow, a GF before you came here.
What relationship do you want?
You are a complex person
Wish you the best.
dunnm

These are good questions. Yes, it might seem like things were happening backward. But I didn't discover DB until 11 months after BD, and I decided I had to move on long before that when my ex walked out in Sept 2019.

I came trying to understand why things fell apart and how I can improve myself. That need was there regardless of whether I had a GF or not, most definitely. As for your other comment -- complex, me? Yes, guilty as charged.

What relationship do I want? I do not want to remain single. I am made for connection and I do want to remarry. However, I have learned an enormous amount here on DB and am quite sobered by the statistics about the failure of second marriages; I am also very interested in WHY second marriages fail. I explore that weekly with my therapist and with others here on DB, especially Steve85. Even Sally and I have discussed this. A friend of hers just had a second marriage fail after one year and Sally and I have discussed this intensely. Personally, I would rather not remarry than remarry with a high risk of a second divorce.
Originally Posted by scout12
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Tom.

I was trying to determine the reason behind the note. Was it to acknowledge the pain she must have felt at losing her husband? Or was it to open the door to the possibility of a new relationship with you? The former is empathy, the latter is not.

Would you have contacted her if you hadnít seen the obituary and realised her husband had passed away? Thereís a difference between ďMy old friend is grieving, I wonder if sheís doing alrightĒ and ďMy old friend is single, I wonder if sheís open to dating meĒ.

Sheís obviously okay with your approach, so congratulations on your newfound happiness. I, too, wonder what motivated you to start posting here if youíd already started a new relationship and werenít trying to save your marriage.

Scout, OK, since you are still interested I will go a bit deeper.

First, this has happened to me over the years. Beginning in my mid-30s, to as recently as 2018, maybe 3 or 4 old girlfriends reached out to inquire about me. All of the outreaches were quite innocent although I'm certain they weren't just interested in my health. They had become single themselves and were just wondering about my status. I can hardly blame them for trying. None of them were obnoxious or obsessed. Each found out I was happily married and never reached out again. I told my wife each time, showed her the letter or email.

I would never have reached out to Sally with that letter if she was still married. Never. Even if I was unhappy in my marriage, I would not have crossed that line.

My primary motive wasn't "I wish I wish that we can go back to what we had." I didn't know what she looked like, what her health might be like, how wounded she might be after 30 years of her own marriage. But I did have to know. Even if it meant a quick dinner date that ended without a hug or a "call back next time you're in town."

As for your final question, I started posting here because I still needed answers. I said a moment ago in a previous post how I found Michelle. Even if I am married 12 months from now, I still need some healing, some renewal, some positive changes in who I am. I'm pretty sure I said within my first few posts that I thought my marriage was hopeless. I'm guessing that as long as I am in therapy I will still be here on DB exploring things.
Tom,

Quick question, why did you change from tom_h to tom_l?
Originally Posted by OnlyBent
Tom,

Quick question, why did you change from tom_h to tom_l?

Nice catch! I did it in case my STBXW stumbled onto this page. She knows I used to use tom h a lot. If she discovered what I wrote here it could all be used in court if this divorce ever goes to trial.

It's not much of a dodge, I know. I suppose I could change my name to something like "Trigger" or "Rover," and then if she went to the Newcomers page she would never know. Do you think I should?
I think the horse has bolted on that one, but it can't hurt. "trigger" would not be a good choice given how you have clashed with some of the posters on here IMHO.

I asked the question because I was wondering whether you were trying to hide your new relationship from your STBXW or just you presence on here in general from Sally and/or your STBXW.
Originally Posted by OnlyBent
I think the horse has bolted on that one, but it can't hurt. "trigger" would not be a good choice given how you have clashed with some of the posters on here IMHO.

I asked the question because I was wondering whether you were trying to hide your new relationship from your STBXW or just you presence on here in general from Sally and/or your STBXW.

Hahaha ... I was thinking more about Roy Rogers' horse Trigger but I get your point ...
Originally Posted by tom_l
Originally Posted by OnlyBent
Tom,

Quick question, why did you change from tom_h to tom_l?

Nice catch! I did it in case my STBXW stumbled onto this page. She knows I used to use tom h a lot. If she discovered what I wrote here it could all be used in court if this divorce ever goes to trial.

It's not much of a dodge, I know. I suppose I could change my name to something like "Trigger" or "Rover," and then if she went to the Newcomers page she would never know. Do you think I should?


So what if she did? You moved on from her, right?
Originally Posted by Steve85
Originally Posted by tom_l
Originally Posted by OnlyBent
Tom,

Quick question, why did you change from tom_h to tom_l?

Nice catch! I did it in case my STBXW stumbled onto this page. She knows I used to use tom h a lot. If she discovered what I wrote here it could all be used in court if this divorce ever goes to trial.

It's not much of a dodge, I know. I suppose I could change my name to something like "Trigger" or "Rover," and then if she went to the Newcomers page she would never know. Do you think I should?


So what if she did? You moved on from her, right?


Exactly
Originally Posted by Steve85
Originally Posted by tom_l
Originally Posted by OnlyBent
Tom,

Quick question, why did you change from tom_h to tom_l?

Nice catch! I did it in case my STBXW stumbled onto this page. She knows I used to use tom h a lot. If she discovered what I wrote here it could all be used in court if this divorce ever goes to trial.

It's not much of a dodge, I know. I suppose I could change my name to something like "Trigger" or "Rover," and then if she went to the Newcomers page she would never know. Do you think I should?


So what if she did? You moved on from her, right?

But the divorce isn't final. I'm still not sure it isn't going to trial. She's been doing some screwy stuff lately, like calling my employer and asking for information she isn't entitled to. I have to be prepared for anything and everything. It seems to me that any lawyer with bad motives can take a look at my candor here on DB, twist the meaning, and use it against me.

That's the funny thing about this, she was always such a level-headed, fair, decent, honest person. But divorce does very nasty things to people, turns them hateful and spiteful. I know she is getting advice from other quarters who urge her to fight-fight-fight and take actions that might be immoral but are still legal. Sigh ...

Originally Posted by Steve85
We are telling you that until tom is happy just being tom, he will never be happy being 1/2 of a couple ... if you don't work on Tom in the meantime then you are going to make the same mistakes, fall into the same trap, and end up in D court all over again ...

Here is the thing, it is IMPOSSIBLE....ABSOLUTELY NOT EVEN A POSSIBILITY, to be happy and fulfilled as one half of a couple if you cannot be happy by yourself ...

Unless you take the time to realize that your own happiness is your own responsibility, you will be setting yourself up for another D with a new person in the future ...

Originally Posted by Vapo
Dating is a NONO, because you are looking for a quick fix, not unlike a drug addict. You want to use someone to feel better. That is wrong ... [Dating] will stunt your growth and development, because it might make you think that you do not need to grow and develop further. Trust me, you do. And A LOT! And the sooner you get your a$$ in gear, the better ...

Do not go on a hunt for a wife number 2, you are waaaaay to damaged to think clearly now. Damaged attract damaged and you might attract someone in your life that is just as damaged if not more. You need time to heal and you need time to recover. Prior to 2 years of single life do not even attempt to date, you have to learn to be content and happy to be by yourself. Thinking that some else will bring joy to your life is a receipe for disaster. The only way you can be happy if you find happiness from within. So immerse your self in work, your hobbies and kids. You are in for a looooong haul ...

Originally Posted by Valeska
I personally did not have another relationship until my D was final with my XW (the process took 22 months). When it was over... I knew I upheld my commitment to the marriage until the end. It had NOTHING to do with her and everything to do with the person I wanted to be. It was my commitment to her. When we signed the papers - she thanked me for staying "loving towards her" even in the midst of the D. Sometimes the high road is more painful... that's why it's less traveled.

You are sad, tired, lonely. I am not trying to invalidate those feelings. But please be honest with yourself about them. The decision is ultimately yours to make... and all I'm seeing is that you keep pushing it off as "my w is making me do it" ...

Originally Posted by Steve85
As a follow on, we've seen a lot of posters buck this advice.....only to come back and admit that the forum was right.

These are the comments I received about dating and new relationships in the past several months. They are direct and very pointed.

So I'm reaching out to Steve85, Vapo, Valeska and everyone else. I told my story earlier about my relationship, and how it came about. Can we explore just how much progress I have made toward being happy with myself, toward being ready for a relationship?

Steve85, Vapo and Valeska, you gave me this advice before you all knew about Sally. I take it seriously. Sally and I were already involved, and believe me it stung. So I don't know if your first thoughts will be to rough me up because I'm involved with her, or just work the current situation. Either is fine. I value the advice I get here.

To refresh everyone, BD was 16 months ago. I reconnected with Sally 9 months after BD; I found this forum 11 months after BD; and it's now 16 months after BD.
Originally Posted by tom_l

Originally Posted by Steve85
We are telling you that until tom is happy just being tom, he will never be happy being 1/2 of a couple ... if you don't work on Tom in the meantime then you are going to make the same mistakes, fall into the same trap, and end up in D court all over again ...

Here is the thing, it is IMPOSSIBLE....ABSOLUTELY NOT EVEN A POSSIBILITY, to be happy and fulfilled as one half of a couple if you cannot be happy by yourself ...

Unless you take the time to realize that your own happiness is your own responsibility, you will be setting yourself up for another D with a new person in the future ...

Originally Posted by Vapo
Dating is a NONO, because you are looking for a quick fix, not unlike a drug addict. You want to use someone to feel better. That is wrong ... [Dating] will stunt your growth and development, because it might make you think that you do not need to grow and develop further. Trust me, you do. And A LOT! And the sooner you get your a$$ in gear, the better ...

Do not go on a hunt for a wife number 2, you are waaaaay to damaged to think clearly now. Damaged attract damaged and you might attract someone in your life that is just as damaged if not more. You need time to heal and you need time to recover. Prior to 2 years of single life do not even attempt to date, you have to learn to be content and happy to be by yourself. Thinking that some else will bring joy to your life is a receipe for disaster. The only way you can be happy if you find happiness from within. So immerse your self in work, your hobbies and kids. You are in for a looooong haul ...

Originally Posted by Valeska
I personally did not have another relationship until my D was final with my XW (the process took 22 months). When it was over... I knew I upheld my commitment to the marriage until the end. It had NOTHING to do with her and everything to do with the person I wanted to be. It was my commitment to her. When we signed the papers - she thanked me for staying "loving towards her" even in the midst of the D. Sometimes the high road is more painful... that's why it's less traveled.

You are sad, tired, lonely. I am not trying to invalidate those feelings. But please be honest with yourself about them. The decision is ultimately yours to make... and all I'm seeing is that you keep pushing it off as "my w is making me do it" ...

Originally Posted by Steve85
As a follow on, we've seen a lot of posters buck this advice.....only to come back and admit that the forum was right.

These are the comments I received about dating and new relationships in the past several months. They are direct and very pointed.

So I'm reaching out to Steve85, Vapo, Valeska and everyone else. I told my story earlier about my relationship, and how it came about. Can we explore just how much progress I have made toward being happy with myself, toward being ready for a relationship?

Steve85, Vapo and Valeska, you gave me this advice before you all knew about Sally. I take it seriously. Sally and I were already involved, and believe me it stung. So I don't know if your first thoughts will be to rough me up because I'm involved with her, or just work the current situation. Either is fine. I value the advice I get here.

To refresh everyone, BD was 16 months ago. I reconnected with Sally 9 months after BD; I found this forum 11 months after BD; and it's now 16 months after BD.


Tom Iím doing a drive by post. Actually you only value advice you agree with.
Originally Posted by LH19
Tom Iím doing a drive by post. Actually you only value advice you agree with.
Not true, but by prior arrangement, please loiter somewhere else.
Tom, I wish you and Sally nothing but the best and hope for happiness for you two. I sincerely do. There are always exceptions, and maybe you'll be. But in general, in the vast majority of cases, starting a new R when you have unresolved feelings and business with a previous person will end poorly. That is why dating before coming to closure with the Mr that is ending is not encouraged. We've talked before about the statistics regarding 2nd and 3rd marriages, and I think a big reason for those statistics is people jumping right into something new too quickly.

Tom, it is your life. Don't let strangers on the internet "sting" you. Maybe you'll be the exception, and it isn't like you don't have history with Sally. But for her sake you need to be honest with yourself. What would you tell Sally if your W wanted to R? What would you do?
Completely true. Posters must post at a frequency in which you approve of and only say what you want to hear, in the way you want to hear it. If not, you get rude and mean and belittle others.

You came here looking for advice and left out something that would change how and what people post to you. In the same breath, you accused people of not asking for all the information saying their assessments are wrong because they donít know anything.

Basically, if you lied to us about sally for months, how is anyone supposed to trust what you post and put forth valuable advice?

Now you only call on a few folks for the purpose of validating your ďprogressĒ when for 6 months youíve not been truthful.

Good luck with that .
Hi Tom,

Originally Posted by LH19
Actually you only value advice you agree with.

Originally Posted by tom_l
by prior arrangement, please loiter somewhere else.

Your reply to LH indicates not much improvement in listening. Being able and willing to listen to criticism is a key relationship skill, useful in business, too. I LOVE when my customers complain. That attitude sometimes catches them by surprise, but without criticism, it's harder to decide what to improve on next.

Better Replies--

1. "I get you don't feel I considered your advice to do X. I did, I just felt X wasn't right for me because of Y. I'd definitely like to hear what you think about me and Sally so I can get it right."
2. "I value any advice you're kind enough to offer about Sally and I.
3. "I'm listening."

I'm sure you've grown in other areas. I recall you have a list? Consider adding this! If I recall correctly your ex-wife asked for therapy, indicated communication was a problem, and now won't talk to you. Make listening a habit, so it's easy even on a hard day after your honeymoon period with Sally.
Back after a four-week hiatus. I needed some time to figure out a few things. I will be responding to previous comments in a bit.

I want to reiterate some things that were said earlier. Some of the advice came from Steve85.

I'm going to ignore comments from people who don't have my best interests at heart, whose motives are not edifying. You know who you are. Your motives are very clear, you want to criticize and hurt and throw zingers. Look inside your own hearts at your motives. And by "edifying" I include criticism as long as it's constructive and not personal. I received and accepted a lot of jarring yet constructive criticism here during my first few weeks. Later on I got some from may22 which I very much took to heart.

To the rest of you -- I don't say this because those with the dirty motives are personally hurtful. I didn't get to be a senior exec at a tech company because I didn't have thick skin and know how to thrust and parry with the best; and also get pretty good at assessing motive when someone starts talking. In the workplace, people with dirty motives don't last long in my meetings or on my staff.

Like everyone else here, I am a work in progress. If you don't like something I said, be patient and see how it develops over time. Demanding things through a keyboard is never effective. Also, it takes time for someone to recognize good advice, wisdom or common sense. It might not happen the first time those words are put on a page here in DB. So accusing me of "not listening" is ... well, perhaps premature. Maybe what was said needs some time to simmer. Or maybe what was said was baloney. People need time to process information, and processing isn't instant. And not all advice given here is good advice. We can all equally be the judge of that.

Final point. I was accused of being dishonest for not telling about the relationship with Sally upfront. But please hear me out before concluding such. When I joined DB last August I wanted a perspective on the things I didn't understand yet -- the end of my marriage. Saying, "I already have a girlfriend" would have distracted from the perspective I really needed, which was "why did my wife leave me?" Girlfriend or not, that was a legitimate burning question I had, and the answer is independent of whether I was seeing someone. And, when Steve and Vapo and others were saying emphatically "don't date!" my cheeks blushed because, while I respected their opinions, I was already involved with someone and couldn't undo it. I knew I would eventually have to reveal the relationship, but I wanted to explore the other things first.

Like any good book, not all parts of the story need be told in chapter 1. At least that's what I had been thinking when I joined DB. Still -- to those of you who claim it was deceptive anyway, I plead guilty. But my intentions were not to be deceptive.

Now on to some thanks. Everyone was extremely helpful here on DB during my early few weeks, and the information was pretty jarring. I was told not to be a victim. I learned about WAWs and LBHs; I read that WAW testimony that brought me to tears because I could hear my STBXW saying those very words. I learned about the three DB principles and took them to heart; they have been the centerpiece of much of my therapy since last fall and I also have discussed them in depth with Sally. Rose's comment about love languages was also immensely helpful; I had heard about them but not taken them seriously, and now Sally and I talk about them all the time. DB has been immensely helpful for me, and I am eternally grateful to DBers for having been part of that.

OK. Enough said. Happy to dialogue about this further.
You may be overestimating your own importance when you accuse people of having it out for you. At worst, people are commenting because they're bored. At best, people are trying to help you realise your blindspots.

I guarantee that nobody is lying in wait on your thread, rubbing their hands with glee whenever you post, asking themselves 'how can I f*ck Tom's sh!t up today?'

With all due respect, you are not important enough to have haters. None of us are. We are all just anonymous chumps fumbling along in life trying to do the least amount of harm.

(Pretty sure I'm on the ban list so not expecting a response, but I encourage you to keep working on humility and self-awareness in therapy).
Tom, what would be useful to understand is that most of us here have been the recipients of a lot of deceit and lies at the hands of our WS. So you can understand why people on here have a low tolerance for dishonesty and BS. Your initial posts talk about being single, getting ready to star dating again, etc. itís not a great look. Add to that your aggressive and defensive nature and itís not hard to see why you have clashed with many on here.

That said this is a great roadmap for areas that you could focus improving yourself. I know that I used to resort to being defensive and argumentative, once I started to see these traits in myself and others I realised how ugly traits they are.
I just read an article on how narcissists are very successful at work. Tom, that article came back to me as I read your latest post and you pointed out your success as an IT executive. What scout wrote also resonates along those same lines. I hope you will take that as an outsider making an observation, and not a personal attack. I don't know you well enough to attack you personally. (That was another thought I had reading your post, how can strangers on the internet personally attack another stranger on the internet?)

Hope all is going well Tom.
Originally Posted by tom_l
I'm going to ignore comments from people who don't have my best interests at heart, whose motives are not edifying. You know who you are. Your motives are very clear, you want to criticize and hurt and throw zingers.

Hi Tom,

We can only guess at what motives you ascribe to us. I've interacted enough with scout, OnlyBent, Steve, and myself much more than you. I doubt they or I have the motivation of hurting you.

Originally Posted by Tom
Look inside your own hearts at your motives.

Hm? To help Tom, within the 15min I have before my son's breakfast warms up, lol. I like helping people and this forum. I spent a minute considering if I was or wasn't on your ignore list and whether to have a cup of joe before or after. To the first point, figuring out was too much work. To the second point, a cup of joe after sounds better when I'm in no rush. So, I wrote this message to you with care!

I'll mention my last message again, and support much of what Scout, OnlyBent, and Steve said. I get some of their or my advice may be blunt, or not in the form you want from free advice. These are genuine perspectives from real people, offered from a place somewhere between boredom and a desire to help. I have interacted with these people for months or years, and suspect more of the later. I'm glad you feel Tom 2.0 is an upgrade, and you're enjoying life (last you told us) with your new girlfriend.

Well wishes. Take care, Tom!
Originally Posted by CWarrior


I'm sure you've grown in other areas. I recall you have a list? Consider adding this! If I recall correctly your ex-wife asked for therapy, indicated communication was a problem, and now won't talk to you. Make listening a habit, so it's easy even on a hard day after your honeymoon period with Sally.

Thank you and this is excellent advice I took to heart, in fact many months ago.

One of the things I learned (therapy has helped a lot here) is that respect is so central to all relationships, and is even more central than communication, only because if you live a life of respect then communication almost becomes automatic!

We are all guilty of not listening actively, especially when our spouse, SO, or close friend is talking too long about something that is not of interest to us. Sure, we might claim to respect that spouse, but if we really REALLY respected them we would actively listen not when it's important to us, but when it's important to them. Especially then.

I've been working on this actively with Sally. Sometimes I even take notes. Usually it's about those friends of hers that I can't meet because of covid, or something about her mother or family. If the topic comes up a month later, and I remember itsy bitsy details that everyone else forgets, I get a wonderful reaction -- "Tom, you remember that? Thank you!'

To me at least, communication problems are often the result of putting up walls, or being unreachable, or not caring enough. If I can respect those I love enough to care about what they care about, and try to be consistently good at it, then I think I have taken a big first step.

My ex would have called me a terrible communicator. She would be right, although we had both fallen into this pattern. But here we are with a broken marriage, and Tom 2.0 is doing his darndest, as if he were a teenager, to show more respect and through that be a better listener and communicator.
Well said on communication, Tom! Love that you're practicing at it. It's hard to get right sometimes.
Originally Posted by tom_l
Originally Posted by CWarrior


I'm sure you've grown in other areas. I recall you have a list? Consider adding this! If I recall correctly your ex-wife asked for therapy, indicated communication was a problem, and now won't talk to you. Make listening a habit, so it's easy even on a hard day after your honeymoon period with Sally.

Thank you and this is excellent advice I took to heart, in fact many months ago.

One of the things I learned (therapy has helped a lot here) is that respect is so central to all relationships, and is even more central than communication, only because if you live a life of respect then communication almost becomes automatic!

We are all guilty of not listening actively, especially when our spouse, SO, or close friend is talking too long about something that is not of interest to us. Sure, we might claim to respect that spouse, but if we really REALLY respected them we would actively listen not when it's important to us, but when it's important to them. Especially then.

I've been working on this actively with Sally. Sometimes I even take notes. Usually it's about those friends of hers that I can't meet because of covid, or something about her mother or family. If the topic comes up a month later, and I remember itsy bitsy details that everyone else forgets, I get a wonderful reaction -- "Tom, you remember that? Thank you!'

To me at least, communication problems are often the result of putting up walls, or being unreachable, or not caring enough. If I can respect those I love enough to care about what they care about, and try to be consistently good at it, then I think I have taken a big first step.

My ex would have called me a terrible communicator. She would be right, although we had both fallen into this pattern. But here we are with a broken marriage, and Tom 2.0 is doing his darndest, as if he were a teenager, to show more respect and through that be a better listener and communicator.


You are correct, and you aren't alone. Many men are poor at listening and empathizing. (We do have our strengths.) I think A LOT of men struggle with this in relationships. Two guys can sit around watching a game all night and barely talk or listen to each other, and neither feels the worse for wear.

My #1 goal after my divorce was to improve in this area. It doesn't come naturally. About a month ago I realized I was starting to fall back into old habits with my GF, and I've been determined not to backslide since. I'm glad to hear that you are actively working on this.
on the whole communication thing....

I'll just note that you lied here to people who were truly trying to help you, for months. You talked about "sampling the wares" which was disgusting enough thinking you were lonely and trying to heal, but now knowing you were in a new relationship at that point it really is awful. (No, I don't care enough to go back and figure out exactly what it is you said, so I'll probably get that wrong and you can ding me for misquoting you.)

Maybe I've missed it (again, not going to scour your posts to confirm) but I don't recall you ever apologizing for this breach of trust to any of us here. Like any good book, not all parts of the story need be told in chapter 1? Honestly. You have an incredibly high opinion of yourself and your story, Tom. And continue to seem to think that everyone here is supposed to be serving you.

I think it was pretty $hitty of you to lie to everyone here. Also, $hitty not to apologize when you decided to come clean for deceiving all of us for months. You're snarky and mean to many posters. If you're really thinking about communication, know that the content of communication, not just listening more actively or not putting up walls, is pretty important too.

Don't worry, I'll loiter elsewhere after this.
Tom,

When you came here you seemed dumbfounded why your W left you and never spoke to you again. I took time out of my day and went through your thread to show you exactly why. Instead of thanking me you acted like a dic and tried to ban me from your thread.

Again consider yourself lucky she waited for your kids to grow and did not leave you for another man. Good luck with your sequel ďWhen Tom met SallyĒ.
Originally Posted by Steve85
Tom, I wish you and Sally nothing but the best and hope for happiness for you two. I sincerely do. There are always exceptions, and maybe you'll be. But in general, in the vast majority of cases, starting a new R when you have unresolved feelings and business with a previous person will end poorly. That is why dating before coming to closure with the MR that is ending is not encouraged. We've talked before about the statistics regarding 2nd and 3rd marriages, and I think a big reason for those statistics is people jumping right into something new too quickly.

Steve, you have hit the nail on the head. So I'd ask that you please continue engaging with me and the others here to see if I am mended well enough. Ask the tough questions, I respect your opinion!

I'll say this for now -- Sally and I were both pretty wounded when we reconnected last year. Her marriage didn't end by divorce, but there was a lot of pain and conflict during her 30 years with her husband. Since reconnecting we have walked two steps forward, one step backward, and sometimes staggered to the side. But I'll say this -- it has been a joy to have walked alongside her as we both recovered. Frankly, I find it hard to believe that any fellow can work on himself (or vice versa) without have someone close at his side -- not necessarily a romantic someone, but someone nonetheless. I have been open and raw with her about my failings, more so than even here.

In fact, the three pillars of my recovery have been my therapist, Sally, and DB. But not necessarily in that order. I have to be careful during my hour each week with my therapist -- to not spend the entire time talking about what I learn on DB!

Originally Posted by Steve85
Tom, it is your life. Don't let strangers on the internet "sting" you. Maybe you'll be the exception, and it isn't like you don't have history with Sally. But for her sake you need to be honest with yourself. What would you tell Sally if your W wanted to R? What would you do?


I could spend hours on this answer. But the short version is this. If my ex said, "I've withdrawn my divorce petition, I want to explore counseling and therapy and take some time seeing whether we could stay together" I would not go running into her arms. I've pondered this from two perspectives -- with Sally in the picture, and with her not in the picture -- and both ways come to that same conclusion.

Would I talk to her? Yes. I've been waiting for that for nearly 18 months now. Would it be painful? Heck yes. Would Sally be impacted? Of course, she would be in tears, she remembers my choice 30 years ago. Could reconnecting with my ex, through therapy or some other way, change my views, make me want to reconcile? Always possible, any new relationship or reconnection impacts current relationships. But I didn't give my heart away easily 30 years ago, and I didn't do it easily last year to Sally. The contrasts between she and my ex are even more dramatic now, so are the connections that Sally and I have, mostly communication that I never had with my ex.
Originally Posted by harvey
You are correct, and you aren't alone. Many men are poor at listening and empathizing. (We do have our strengths.) I think A LOT of men struggle with this in relationships. Two guys can sit around watching a game all night and barely talk or listen to each other, and neither feels the worse for wear.

My #1 goal after my divorce was to improve in this area. It doesn't come naturally. About a month ago I realized I was starting to fall back into old habits with my GF, and I've been determined not to backslide since. I'm glad to hear that you are actively working on this.

Harvey, you are right!

Here's my example from this week (I'm at Sally's house now). I've been hearing about her parents now for months, but have been unable to meet them because of covid. But yesterday were were both going through pictures and I asked to see some videoclips of her parents. So I finally got to hear her mom's voice, from a recent Christmas. It was a beautiful voice. It was a loving and sweet voice. It made her mom come more alive. And you know something? Just asking to see the videoclips was important to Sally, along with the compliments about her mom. Sometimes we have to let instinct guide us.

Suggestion -- do you know about your GF's relatives and friends? If you don't, since it's still winter, find some rainy or cold day and spend the entire afternoon going through pictures and learning about them. Take notes. Remember where Uncle Jim and Aunt Betty went to college, the city they live in, that funny story about them. Listen actively when she tells you the name of her best from childhood, and where she is now, and details about her. This is not only good communication but it is also respect, as I've learned. My therapist said that among everything else, respect is about "accepting someone's influence on your life." I still ponder what this means but it most certainly includes letting her life have a big impact on how you think, how you behave, what interests you, and what things you think about, e.g., her friends and family.
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