Last night I spent time with two women. It wasn’t until they were both seated at my kitchen table drinking a glass of wine did I realize the commonality between them. Both had horrific happenings in their lives in just the past 2 years.

One woman, lost her son to suicide at 19 years old. Her story, one of a single mother losing her son because of his own doing, is beyond tragic. Horrid. A mother’s pain from a child (no matter what the age) suicide is endless. Forever. A mother is in prison. Hell. To live a life on Earth without the child she bore is unfathomable and HELL.

Over the years this woman has become bitter and angry. Her zest for life has been fogged over by the guilt. Any feeling of happiness is stopped when she remembers her son. How can she possibly experience happiness when her son ended his life because he never found any.

The guilt also comes on the days she wakes up happy and forgets (for just a few hours) that she is indeed a mother of a child who committed suicide. When this happens her anger at herself becomes so fierce she forces her way through her day at work or chores till she can come home and bury herself alone in her bed.

How does she get out of this cycle and pain?
She can’t.
What helps?
Time.
The only way out, is through.
Self Love.
Understanding.
Time.

The other woman, lost her husband to a midlife crisis. Her story is one of regret. Of all the things she could have done differently when the door was open for her husband to return. Looking back she now recognizes several times where if she had reacted differently to him, the road that separated them would have brought them together. But back then she was full of ego, anger and resentment. All of which, no matter how hard she tried, would not go away.

Truthfully…did she try?

She smiles an awkward smile, “Nope. I was not able or willing to figure out how to overcome this insanely intense feeling of wanting to punish a man who hurt me so deeply. Cause I didn’t want to. I was waiting for him to drop to his knees. That never happened.”

So she stayed sad, angry and unkind. Always hoping the day would come that he would snap out of it, be different and come to her with open arms of “please forgive me for being an asshole for so long.”

Here’s the truth. Men don’t return to women who are bitter, angry and unforgiving. If they are out there, I’ve not interviewed any. Not one.

I’ve been doing research on this for almost 7 years straight. Any human in my space, where my dialogue can come out of my mouth and reach into their ears, are an option to be inquired upon. What does that mean? If you are near me and I hear that you fall into any of the below situations, I will ask you what happened. I have no fear on my search for answers. I will ask parents, grandparents, single folks, divorced folks or anyone else around who went through a separation or a midlife crisis.

I even ask divorced people what happened to them, “Why? What happened? What went wrong? What did you do? What did your spouse do? What do you regret? What would you have done differently? What was going on in your head to make you break up your family? Do you think it was worth it?”

I’m the ultimate curiosity whore. I want to know the details. All of them. Because the answers, are priceless.

The question: “Was it worth it?” has never received a “YES.” I have never gotten a yes. It was not worth it.

Because it never is.

Divorce is NOT the answer.

Oddly enough, the stories are all the same. Those seeking to leave to find happiness, may find it, but it doesn’t last, because where they seek happiness is not where it will be found.

Those that get left behind, those without a choice, have no choice but to move on to a new normal. A new path. But they find it.

And these people left behind, if they spend their time alone in search of a new way of understanding and behaving, they will be more equipped to deal with their spouse so that a return is inevitible.

Why? Because in a Midlife Crisis, at some point, men want to come home. Come back to the normal life they remember. Even if it wasn’t perfect, it’s still home. And they will test the water to see if there is an opening that’s warm enough.

If the woman is angry and ready to punish, he will not come back.

If she if full of forgiveness, love and hope, it may take awhile but the moment of his return is 100% more possible.

How does she get out of this cycle?
Time.
The only way out is through.
Love.
Understanding.
Time.

The only difference between the loss of a child and a loss of a spouse to MLC is that with a death, there is no option. The child is gone. No longer here on the earth. Nothing anyone can do will change the ending. With the loss of a spouse to a MLC, the spouse is still here. The spouse is on earth and the options of hope are still open.

Both are the worst things in life that happen. Both completely suck.

And in both – no one gets a choice. You don’t choose what happens to you. But you DO get to choose how you REACT to it and how you live your life moving forward.

That is in your control.

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Laurie McDermott is a Writer, Marriage Coach, Speaker at women events and conferences and posts regularly on Youtube.com. She also is a recurring guest on many radio & TV shows. Book her here!