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Many years post D, re-emergence

hurtbs posted 9/29/2019 11:30 AM

Hi all!

Mods, I'm not sure

I haven't posted here in a long time. I'm 13 years post D-Day and 6 years post divorce. We did not have children, so I've been no contact since all threads from high-conflict but short time-frame divorce were all tied up (so about 5 years). He's tried to reach out a few times since but I've ignored.

We have mutual friends so I hear about him from time to time. I know that he's been engaged 4 or 5 times since our divorce. He's lost a series of jobs. He moved back in with his parents at one point.

I've moved on with my life. I moved states, advanced my career, I'm dating an amazing man for several years. I'm happy and content in my life. Not to say it's perfect, but I'm in a good place.

A couple of years ago, last time ex-WH reached out, it was to tell me about his MS diagnosis and the pity party he was having. I deleted the email and marked his (new) email address as spam. It shook me a little, but not in a "I must talk to him" kind of way, but more of "I don't like this part of my life re-invading my future" kind of way.

Recently, I discovered that ex-WH is now in assisted living. He is a (relatively) young man in his 40's and he is living with elderly patients. I don't know why, but it's been really invading my thoughts. I do not love my ex-WH. I don't want to be with ex-WH. However, I'm having a lot of feelings about it that I find confusing.

Some of these feelings are of relief - that I'm not now taking care of a man who is an invalid. Then I feel terribly guilty and I'm terrible person.

I feel pity for him. If I were in that situation, I think I would be suicidal.

I feel guilty for letting this distract me from my current life.

I don't quite know how to describe it. It's a distraction and I'm feeling... off.

Has anyone gone through anything similar in their lives?

WhoTheBleep posted 9/29/2019 12:22 PM

I have not experienced that. I assume the assisted living is due to his MS? That's actually very sad. I don't know anything about MS, but can you manage it better if you take good care of yourself with meds the right diet, exercise? If so, it seems like somebody like your ex doesn't take care of himself. And this is where he has landed. Detach yourself from i. It has nothing to do with you.

I found out after I left WH that he dabbled with anabolic steroids. Probably much more than I'm even aware. All of the health problems he is having right now can be attributed to that. Right after I left him, within a few months, he had leaned down and shredded and physically looked very good. Absolutely it had to be steroids. He didn't even look that good the whole time we were married. So even though he has all these health problems, his vanity still ruled his decisions. He wanted to walk into a room and have everyone stare at him. What an insecure loser. If his enlarged heart explodes one day, or his giant swollen head explodes, I will have no guilt. He is an adult and has made his choices.

It is the same with your ex. Recognize your emotions, feel them, but do not get caught up in them. This is nothing to do with you.

[This message edited by WhoTheBleep at 12:23 PM, September 29th (Sunday)]

BearlyBreathing posted 9/29/2019 12:51 PM

I think your reaction is totally normal. A friend from high school just died from breast cancer at 53. We had not spoken or emailed or anything since the early 80s (not a super close friend, but a friend). And it has invaded my thoughts. Good people with empathy and kindness don’t really want ANYONE to suffer. And when you know they could have prevented it or at least made choices that would have helped slow it down if not change the outcome, you wish they had done differently. And lastly, if/when he passes, it will be such a final door closing. The finality is jarring, even if you had no desire or intention of ever being with him again.

As for feeling relieved that you don’t have to deal with him now... sure. That seems normal, not bad. Maybe that is a tinge of survivor’s guilt or something, but don’t worry about that. You are a good person.

You don’t love him, but he WAS a part of your life. So of course it brings up some feelings. And I think we all have a little of the “but for the grace of god...” thing.

Accept the feelings, send up a prayer or mojo or send a card.... do what feels right for you. And then hug your new guy and be grateful that you are in a good place with good health and a healthy relationship.

(And congrats on moving on so well— I hope to get there soon!)

Darkness Falls posted 9/29/2019 13:41 PM

WhoTheBleep, there are different types of MS and it sounds as though hurtbs’s H has primary progressive MS to be so disabled so quickly. Some people with MS do well with disease-modifying therapy, diet, exercise, and the like, but it’s a neurological condition with no cure and doesn’t automatically respond to anything.


I have relapsing-remitting MS. I was diagnosed after my H and I were divorced (I was the cheater). We remarried a year and a half after my diagnosis. Knock on wood and thank God, I have very few symptoms and no ongoing disability.

I did not want to say “in sickness and in health” during our remarriage ceremony because I was worried he’d eventually feel as you do and I didn’t want him to promise something like that, but he told me that was silly and if he felt like that he wouldn’t be marrying me again. Hopefully I have a long, long time until I have to worry about it.

[This message edited by Darkness Falls at 1:42 PM, September 29th (Sunday)]

Superesse posted 9/29/2019 15:59 PM

Hurtbs, I just logged on to share my late Sister's experience with her SAWXH in assisted living before age 49, due to what the doctors initially diagnosed as MS, but there was some discussion it was due to syphillis. He was a rampaging, whoring two-timer. Maybe this will not be appropriate, but I recall my sister telling me doctors for her XH thought he had contracted syphillis and never knew it (as happens, even in this day and time). The many "white spots" the CAT scans found on his brain were thought to be due to that cause, not organic disease. My sister felt bad, yet she felt he had made so many damaging choices in his life....they were divorced only a year or so before he needed assisted living.

At her funeral at age 54, we saw him there, in a wheel chair, and incontinent. One of their children had brought him from the ALF. It was tragic all around, as we have reason to think he also gave my sister cervical cancer that metastasized to her breast, and she died of a rare form of squamous cell carcinoma of the breast, several years after getting a "bad Pap" but not following up on it; which my gyno doc said could have led to the kind of cancer she died from.

As others have said, your feelings are understandable, but please don't in any way put some kind of guilt on yourself for something outside your knowledge that happened long after you D'd.

Darkness Falls posted 9/29/2019 16:19 PM

^^ These days, they rule out syphilis along with Lyme disease and vitamin B12 deficiency via blood test before sending you to a neurologist.

hurtbs posted 9/29/2019 17:54 PM

Thanks everyone for responding. @Darkness, I'm sorry for your diagnosis and hope that you stay in remission.

In terms of the "bringing it on himself," I don't know if he did or didn't. I think that's a slippery slope to blame illnesses on people's actions (there's such a mix of things that go into chronic and surprise illness), I'm not a fan of moralizing it. Ultimately, it doesn't matter. I stopped caring long ago that he "get his." Besides, there are many other things he did to end up alone and in facility instead of in a home with a partner or other family (we've been divorced 6 years and he's been engaged 4 or 5 times; twice while we were married). He lost jobs due to his own actions. His illness? Just seems like one of those sad things that could happen to anyone.

Anyway, just sitting with these odd feelings that I'm trying to reconcile. I won't be reaching out to him in any way. That door closed long ago.

Darkness Falls posted 9/29/2019 20:29 PM

Thanks, hurtbs.

Superesse posted 9/29/2019 21:13 PM

I am sorry if volunteering what I know of my late sister's similar-sounding experience with a youngish XH being moved in 2001 to assisted living was not helpful. I responded to the posted question as I knew how, sharing what I know about my Ex-BIL's diagnosis at that time, which she told me over the phone, and that was quite minimal. So while it may or may not have been an infectious cause in his case, I have no way to double-check what my late sister told me his doctors said. My sincere apologies.

WhoTheBleep posted 9/29/2019 21:48 PM

Darkness falls, thank you for that information. I learned something new, today. And I'm glad you are doing well with your own diagnosis.

Darkness Falls posted 9/30/2019 04:44 AM

Superesse, syphilis is indeed one such condition that in its advanced stages can have similar symptoms to MS. I had no idea myself until they told me it was one of the things that would be included in the bloodwork prior to seeing the neurologist. I wasn’t saying your information wasn’t helpful. I just wanted to reassure hurtbs that they do rule that out nowadays because it does mimic MS—I didn’t want her being concerned syphilis might be involved here.

risingfromashes posted 9/30/2019 07:56 AM

Hurtbs, I can relate to your situation although there are differences in what we both have had to deal with. I am also many years post Dday and divorce but having children required contact. EX had a pattern for years of trying to worm his way back into my life. There have also been numerous gf's. I have been dating a nice man for 5 years.

Over the years he has figured less and less in my everyday life but I have struggled with lingering anger/pain but in general keep thoughts of him out of my everyday life.

Recently according to my now adult DD's he has health problems, was fired and somehow managed to blow thru a rather large inheritance (probably spent on escorts and gambling). He is living in a crappy apartment, looks like hell and word has it his parents have cut him out of the will. His DD's barely tolerate him.

Like you, I actually feel badly for him. I feel pity and can't imagine how awful his life must be.

It's disconcerting to have these feelings but glad that to know I can still feel empathy for this person who held my life in such disregard. Not sure if it's forgiveness but it's a better way to let him slide out of my thoughts again.

You won't let this linger in your life. It's sad and tragic and of his own doing. Feel this then put it all away.

hurtbs posted 9/30/2019 08:02 AM

@Superesse - no need to apologize. I appreciate your trying to help.

Thanks to everyone for sharing. It's an odd feeling and I have no one to talk to about it. I suspect that any friends/family who went through the D with me would respond with "Why do you even care?!" or "Good! He got what he deserved!"

Honestly, I think it's impacting me more than if he died. Something about him facing 20-30 years in assisted living is more disturbing to me....

thebighurt posted 9/30/2019 21:44 PM

Hi Hurtbs,

Good to see you! And glad to read that you have good things in your life now, including an amazing man.

Please don't let your ex's pity party drag you into that old part of your life. I understand how you feel empathy for him, as you might for anyone facing life like that at his age, but more so with him because of history. Ask your mutual friends not to mention him to you and continue to send any communication from him to oblivion.

His health condition may not be "his fault", but the fact that he is facing it alone is. His choices left him without a caring partner.

I don't know what I would do or feel if I heard something like that about xpos. Not sure I could care at all after all the things he did to me during M, during D and even long after. I would likely care more about an acquaintance or even a stranger. You are definitely a better person than I, hurtbs.

Phantasmagoria posted 10/1/2019 22:26 PM

I would chalk it up to your humanity at work. Who wouldn’t feel empathetic for someone living under those circumstances, especially in their 40’s. That it’s someone you know and once cared very much for makes it all the more sobering. I would take comfort in that your feelings are more a natural reaction, rather than any form of emotional connection.

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