Tommy & Cheryl are a story of the regret of Divorce. The studly looking couple met in college and were married for 23 years. Four kids and both worked in high profile jobs after graduating from Yale and Harvard.
When Cheryl won a position overseas, Tommy supported her fully and vowed to make it work for her. She would move overseas with their children and a nanny, he would remain at home and visit as often as he could.
Cheryl, like her husband, was a go-getter. She was busy working and taking care of the needs of her children…putting her husband first was always difficult but she figured she’d have time to make all that up later.
Tommy figured in a single year, he’d spent more than 30 days up in the air on an airplane. He was exhausted, mentally and physically. Each time he’d arrive looking for love and support, Cheryl would dump on him the difficulties of life w/o him and her job and kids. Meanwhile Tommy felt shafted. She never asked him about his life and when she did, she’d take back the conversation.
Tommy began to feel lonely and resentful. Then his mom died. He was devastated. Back in the US, he asked his wife to come back and bring the kids. No. She flat out told him she was too busy and it was going to be too difficult. Tommy, alone in his home, felt unloved and unsupported…and slowly let his mind talk him into the decent of divorce.
Cheryl was shocked. She did not want a divorce. What was wrong. No. We are staying together. But Tommy was done. He wanted out and quickly their divorce split the family apart.
Recently I had a session with Tommy (names have been changed) and although it’s been 12 years, he still thinks about his decision to end his marriage.
“Looking back now, I clearly see I could have done things differently. We could have worked harder. But instead I bailed. It seemed easier to leave but you do what you do…”
How is life for him now? Well, his dating stories are hilarious. Women try and close him on marriage after date 8. And for those of you who are new to dating after a long marriage, apparently you are supposed to have sex with each other on date 3. UGH!! I still can’t believe that one…but that’s what I’ve been told by both men and women. It’s not “making love” it’s just sex. Hmmm…. I get the difference, but once you do the sex, the making love thing is harder to find…simply because you don’t know each other well enough to disregard all those things that may happen during sex that turn you off. If you love someone, you let it go. If you don’t even know someone’s middle name, you can get really picky.
Bottom Line: Tommy is okay. He does not want marriage or even a long term relationship. He travels and stays close with his ex. I suggested the idea that he get back together with her and instead of a flat out “NO” there was a long pause.
People forget (while they search for that perfect person) that the grass is not greener. Then they finally realize, and regret what they did because now they see what they had wasn’t that bad. But you can’t tell them. We all must learn it on our own.
My prayer to my clients is that they don’t learn it too late.