How do I cope after being dumped?

Posted in: 

Q: I have been in a committed relationship for 3 years. I am 60; he is 69. He dumped me a month ago for a woman he was engaged to 45 years ago and married her immediately. I was blind-sided and broken-hearted. How do I cope?

A: That's as cruel as it gets. That man's heart is not even half an inch deep. But you deserve a funeral for your relationship, because your love was good. Your grief feelings need to be expressed and honored, or you may go numb and half-dead inside. What you're going through is a divorce through abandonment, and your feelings deserve your respect. I hope you have friends who care and will spend time with you.

I suggest you get the book "How to Survive the Loss of a Love," because your future ability to love a man who actually can love you back equally depends on honoring every part of your grief process. I advise you to gather all of the objects and mementos you have that remind you of him and begin disposing of them, either by burial, burning, throwing away or giving away, or if something is worth a lot of money, getting someone else to sell it for you.

Another thing you will need to do sooner or later is give a voice to the anger you must feel for his betrayal. If you are not usually a loud person, a very good way is to write a letter to him and say everything in it that comes to mind -- with no care about your language or grammar, because you're not going to send it. You might write more than one, as often as you feel the anger rising in you -- for even up to 1 year! You might decide at some point to put some into a form that you actually send to him, if that will not get you trapped into needing a response. If you ARE a loud person, you may want to pretend he's a large doughy pillow on a couch and yell your disgust and contempt, while beating the pillow with a tennis racket or something else that feels powerful to swing.

That's a start. You should keep up with some daily routines to keep from letting yourself isolate too much. Walking in nature and treating yourself to experiences of beauty can be very helpful at first. And writing down your dreams, because they often help bring emotions to the surface that need to be released, and they can point the way forward for you to work through your grief to a new emergence on the other side.

-- Answer from Dr. Norman Brown, a marriage therapist on JustAnswer.

Daily Answer is excerpted from the JustAnswer archives and features information provided by a Expert on JustAnswer.

Follow JustAnswer on Twitter or like us on Facebook to get useful daily updates.