The Stages of Feeling Forgotten in Your Divorce

I feel like I’ve been forgotten not only by my ex-husband but also by the family I’d been part of for over 15 years. It’s felt like a slow, suffocating deprivation of oxygen. Sometimes I desperately want to breathe them all back into my life before they slip away forever. But I know that’s just magical thinking. I didn’t face the reality of what was going on in my marriage and since then I’ve learned to readjust my rose-colored filter.

Stage One. Panic.

I felt the first bit of panic when I handed the gold-framed Christmas family photo to my husband on the evening he offered me an unfulfilling apology for his quick exit from our marriage.

Eleven of us stood next to the Christmas tree at his parent’s house. It was the first year we wore color-coordinated outfits for the annual photo.

What are you going to tell them? I asked. Fear coursed through my body. I had a dreadful realization; I was going to be photo-shopped out of their lives forever.

Our divorce meant I wouldn’t be part of the family anymore. His family. My future died in that moment and has putrefied in my stomach for years, churning over the losses.

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