Ask Cindy: I Feel Totally Ashamed - What Have I Done to Him?

Two years ago I left my husband. This was after 15 years of turmoil caused by step children. I left him for my best friend - a woman. I am not a lesbian I just loved her. She has children and more and more I can see first-hand the difficulty my husband faced and that I was not as understanding as I should have been and I am beginning to feel distraught about what I have done to him.

I was so sure it was his fault. That he had treated me badly. But now I can see he was just human and had bad feelings that he probably didn’t want but couldn’t control but did his best to do so. He has been devastated and I know he still loves me even though he is now with somebody else. I don’t even feel I want to go back to him I just feel that I can’t continue hurting him by being with this person. We live quite close together and he has had to cope with me being with this person in our social circles etc. and I feel totally ashamed. What I have done to him?  ~Ann


Hi Ann, and thank you so much for writing. I have read your email several times. I understand that you have a great deal of guilt about leaving your ex. It also appears to me that you may not have come to terms with accepting all of the changes in your own life.

One of your first statements is, “I am not a lesbian I just loved her.” I can’t help but wonder if this is a denial statement. You may not be a lesbian, but you might be bi. I understand that it is extremely difficult for people to accept their own sexual preferences. And, when you are “in love” with someone, you just are. You should not feel ashamed by this. I would suggest that you explore your own feelings around this issue and your relationship with this woman. You obviously have some turmoil over being with her and hurting your ex. Let me ask you, do you believe that you can be unhappy enough to make someone else happy?

I appreciate the fact that you have come to understand that your ex did the best that he could at the time. However, you must also accept and realize that YOU also did the best that you could.  Remember he is 100% responsible for his words and actions and you are 100% responsible for yours. The important thing is to learn whatever lessons are there and move forward.

You state that you know he still loves you even though he now has a new woman in his life. Let me ask you, can you be 100% positively absolutely for sure that he loves you? How do you feel when you think this thought? AND how would you feel/act if you did not have this thought? Then ask yourself the same questions regarding your statement, “I can’t continue hurting him by being with this person.”

You state that you are ashamed of what you have done to him. It sounds to me like you are completely beating the crap out of yourself, because you cannot forgive you. This is the biggie! Forgive Yourself. Because, you are having a difficult time forgiving yourself, you may be falsely thinking other people are hanging onto the past just like you are. Did you hurt him? I’m sure the answer is yes. Did he hurt you? I’m sure the answer is yes. Have you forgiven him for hurting you?

First choose to forgive yourself. Love yourself. Accept yourself completely. You were put on this earth for a reason. Every choice you have made, you made because it was the best choice for you in that given moment.

Here are some exercises you can try:

1) Write a list of everything good about you - Why would you be your own best friend?

2) Write a letter of all the horrible rotten things you have done (this might be to your ex.) Then, burn it as a symbol of letting it go. You cannot change the past. All you can do is learn from it and be the best person you can be today.

3) If you have a decent relationship with your ex, you might want to consider asking him to lunch, and apologizing to him.

4) Write down why you want to be with this woman. Accept your feelings. They are not wrong - they just are.

5) Ask five people to list 5 positive qualities about you. Own these qualities.

Choose to love and accept yourself just as you are. Stop feeling ashamed. Choose to learn from your mistakes and to be a better person today than you were yesterday. Start concentrating on what makes you happy. Believe me, when you love yourself, and you treat yourself with love and respect, than others will follow. When you forgive yourself, you open yourself up to having an amazing life. You deserve an amazing life!

Do you have a question that you would like to “Ask Cindy” about divorce? Go to the “Ask Cindy” page and ask away!

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