Why the Hell is
My Ex-husband so Happy While I am Miserable?

Many divorced women are full of anger and hurt because they believe that their ex-husband is living a happy life. They may see him out and about and he is always smiling. The kids come home from visiting with their father and go on and on about how great the weekend was, how their dad played with them and where he took them. Or your ex-husband has a new woman on his arm and you believe that makes him happy.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How are you so sure that he is as happy as you think he is?
  2. Can you feel what he is feeling?
  3. Could it all be just a ploy to make himself feel better? Or to make you feel miserable?

You cannot get into his mind and feel what he is feeling. He is not your responsibility. What he is doing (or not doing) should not reflect how you feel. Let him lead his own life. While you are so busy being concerned with him – who is looking out for you?

Just because I laugh a lot, doesn’t mean my life is easy. Just because I have a smile on my face every day, doesn’t mean that something is not bothering me. It is just that I choose to move on with the negative in my life, and keep my head up, instead of dwelling on the past. ~ Unknown

Many people look externally for happiness. They believe other people and circumstances are what create their happiness. They do not believe that they have control over their life. The truth is that the happiest of people believe they do have control in their life. You can control your life. You can choose to be happy.

The truth is you are unhappy and miserable because of what you are thinking. Happiness stems from the internal workings of your own mind. It is a state of well-being. It is being content with where you are and where you are going.

Happiness is a result of treating oneself and others with love and compassion.

People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. ~Abraham Lincoln

Here is an exercise for you to try:

Right now, get out a notebook and write today’s date on it. Next to the date write “My happiness level today is … (from 1 to 10 with 10 being very happy and 1 being the least). Now turn the page. Each and every day for the next 30 days, write down everything that happened during the day that you are grateful for. Come up with at least five things every day. You could be grateful that there was no line at the grocery store, or that you got all green lights on the way to work. It could be that the sun was shining or you got some much-needed rain. Other things to be grateful include a kiss, hug or an “I love you mommy” from your children. Are you grateful for the carpet under your feet or for your cup of coffee in the morning? How about the hot shower you took? At the end of 30 days, write the date and then next to the date write your happiness level. How much has it increased?

Happiness is a result of treating oneself and others with love and compassion.

Happy people are on a never-ending path of self-discovery. How many years were you identifying yourself as Bob’s wife or Jenny’s mom? Begin your path of self-discovery. Try new things. Go places you have never been. Meet new people. Join clubs or exercise groups. Find out what makes you tick. What gives you joy in life.

Give to others. Some of the happiest people are those that give to others. Consider volunteering at a soup kitchen, women’s shelter, children’s hospital or a library. Many charities and organizations are always looking for people to help. When you give of yourself, it increases your happiness level.

To answer the question “Why the hell is my ex-husband so happy while I’m miserable?” lies in the fact that you are focusing on him. You are so angry and hurt that you want him to hurt. The truth is you really do not know how happy he is or is not. You put all of your energy into wanting him to hurt, rather than letting go of him and focusing on yourself. It is your choice to be happy or not to be. What are you going to choose?

To be happy is a choice that you either consciously or subconsciously make moment by moment. When life gives you lemons, you choose to make lemonade. You choose to find the good in every situation.

 

Comments

  1. Natasha McClain says

    Oh, Cindy. You are so right. I think it’s a combination of factors, though.

    – We were invalidated for so long by our exes (and perhaps by others in our life – family, friends, employers, etc.) that we feel the need to be validated.

    – We suffered during the marriage AND the divorce AND afterwards, for healing can be painful and jarring and unpleasant, no matter how much of a happy smiley face we attempt to put on it. We need to go through this and deal with it.

    – We may have lost our venting partners. We certainly don’t have our ex spouses to turn to or reach out towards, there are often many others we’ve lost: in-laws, friends, even neighbors shun the newly divorced.

    – We need to process and understand, which takes a lot of questioning and dissection, which can seem like negative focus. If we do poorly at work and are fired, it would be foolish to let it go and just shake it off. We need to figure our part, their part, circumstances, etc. And then see what we can change about us, or how to choose differently next time.

    – Our culture is so surface and shallow. Between social media, keeping up with the Joneses and the general “I’m fine how are you” Western communication style, it’s the rare friend or counselor who can actually handle the depths of our despair. We tend to keep it in, and then ruminate b/c we are not given a normal way to grieve.

    – In fact, it seems that almost immediately, the focus is on moving past it all, on making something positive out of it, and “focusing on ourselves”. I think we do this prematurely, which leaves us in limbo. Really feel the depth of your pain, sit with it, journal, punch pillows, go running or hiking or to a gym, scream in the car, etc.

    And finally, those #*&$%*$*#!!!ing jerks pissed us off and continue to do so. It’s not just about our perception; they often WERE selfish and needy and hypocritical DURING the relationship, so we see them sponging off another human being and it is upsetting. That’s normal. Humans shame each other, it’s how societies stay intact, in some ways. There are laws, but there are also social mores, morals, and ethics. When they are overstepped, it’s a human reaction to fixate on it. I wouldn’t say it’s the best or most effective or healthiest aspect to humanity, but it’s part of our DNA. I mean, if you see someone yelling at their kid excessively, you may give them a concerned/dirty look. If someone dangerously cuts you off on the road, you may honk in anger and fear so others are alerted and they get the signal that what they did was not OK. If you know of someone who cheated on their partner (your good friend) and run into them at a party, you may shun them out of loyalty to that friend. So, if you see your ex – who was a jerk to you, your kids directly or indirectly, and is now projecting a BS image to the public, it’s in your nature to want to shine the light on the deception.

    Sure, we need to focus on our lives. Yes, it’s best to not get caught up in it, but it’s also a lot to ask someone who has been put through the wringer and is having their nose rubbed in the exes’ hypocrisy and falseness to pretend everything is peachy keen.

    I almost wonder if going the other way in a creative fashion would be more healing. Like writing a sarcastic letter or a satirical overview about the ex (without sending it). Or imagining their life being perfect until the absurdity bursts that pretentious bubble. Or wallowing until you reach the other side, where all you are mired in becomes ludicrous and ridiculous. “It’s the end of the world because that idiot is with a new clueless woman! She will enjoy all of his wonderful qualities like his stonewalling, immaturity, and poor spending habits!” something like that.

    • Cindy says

      Thanks for your comment Natasha!

      I do agree with you that its a combination of factors. And, I do agree with you that one must feel their way through the pain. I would never expect somebody to be instantly happy after a divorce. I am trying to portray the fact that happiness is an internal job. Happiness doesn’t come from others, but from within. Another person cannot make somebody happy, sad or any thing else. We choose our feelings in our subconscious. I am responding to each paragraph you wrote in order.

      You stated that women may feel invalidated and are trying to be validated. It’s important for one to validate themselves from the inside. When you feel validated, you do not crave validation from others.

      Yes, one must go through the painful grieving process in order to heal. When you have a safe and nurturing place to feel all the unpleasant feelings, it is easier to put on a happy smiley face when you need to.

      Yes, you have lost your venting partner and other people in your life. There is almost always a HUGE void during a divorce. This is why it’s important to find a safe nurturing place to deal with the pain.

      I don’t believe the processing and understanding phase is a negative focus. I believe it is the denial and bargaining stages of grief. Most people will never “understand” all of the whys. This is why it is important to come to the acceptance stage. It is what it is. One must review and accept their part in the divorce. They must review to see what they did right and wrong as an individual and take whatever life lessons they can.

      Our culture can be very shallow. And people do keep their feelings in. This is what keeps one stuck. This is why I became a divorce coach, to give woman a safe and nurturing place to grieve, along with steps to go through the process as fast as possible. There is no real “normal” way to grieve, because we are all individuals and will grieve in our own way. This is why I offer complimentary Getting Unstuck sessions.

      You state, “it seems that almost immediately, the focus is on moving past it all.” If you are taking about this article, remember that I cannot write everything in one article. I have hundreds of articles on this site, in which many relate to the different feelings one goes through in a divorce, as well as techniques to deal with them and let them go. When I say to “Focus on yourself,” I mean to focus on what you are feeling now and how you want to feel. You are focusing what is in your control. If you are obsessed with what your ex is or is not doing, you are not in the healing part of grief. You are giving him all the power in your life.

      Ahh, yes the jerks definitely pissed us off because of the way they treated us. We are all selfish in our own ways. We want others to do what we think they should do – or what we believed they would do. I would disagree that societies stay intact out of shame. I believe they stay together out of common interests and beliefs. In some societies shame may be a common interest. Yes, there are the moral laws, however different societies have different morals. As do families and individuals. This is where the perception comes in. Each individual has their very own unique perception of what is right and what is wrong, their own belief about how life should be. And there is a part of us, that believes everyone thinks like we do.

      I don’t believe its in everyone’s nature to want to shine the light on the deception. Its interesting that you state we need to focus on our life but to not get caught up in it. When I say focus on you, I’m talking about focusing on what you can do to feel better, to be happier, to be the person you want to be. I would never say to pretend that everything is peachy keen. There are several ways one can deal with and/or respond to the ex that continues to put them through the wringer without getting caught up what the ex is or is not doing.

      Your ideas of writing a sarcastic letter etc is right on. Especially because you will not be sending it. You might also put a pillow on the couch with his face on it and beat the crap out of it, or just tell him exactly how you feel, without holding anything back. You could also write a good-bye and a good ridden letter to him and either burn it or bury it – with a funeral symbolizing that you will not allow the past to control you.

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