"My husband left me and I still love him."

He’s told you it’s over.

He’s told you it’s not you, it’s him.

He’s told you it’s all your fault.

He’s told you there’s no other woman.

He’s told you he’s in love with another woman, and was never in love with you.

He’s told you _______________________.

And, yet.

You know you were meant to be together.

You can’t imagine any life without him.

You feel that it if you had been perfect enough, he’d still love you, and you’re willing to spend the rest of your life trying.

You don’t know who you are without him — there is no you without him.

You lie awake nights, believing that there is a way to win him back, because you believe that you were meant to be together. That God wants you to be together. That what is happening right now is really a terrible mistake.

Stop.

If he no longer wants to be together, that’s your answer.

If he’s telling you now that he wants out — no discussion — he’s telling the truth. If the backstory is that he now says he never loved you, or he’s head-over-heels in love with someone half his age, this is not someone you would want to spend another day with, let alone beg him to stay. He’s trouble, and you’ll be doubting yourself every day, if he stays only on the condition that you turn yourself inside out to make him happy.

Do you want to be that person who gives everything and receives only an illusion that can vanish again at any time? Even if you could patch this up, would a temporary patch-up be enough for you?

Groveling will get you nowhere.

If You’re saying, “Yes. I’ll take crumbs. Anything is better than nothing.”

Is it? Is this really what you dreamed of before you were married? Or, did you never dare to dream? Did you think that if anyone would marry you, you’d be lucky? Think back to what you originally signed up for. And is what you signed up for really worth the rest of your life?

Do you believe that your husband doesn’t know what’s best for him. That he just needs to come to his senses?

If you really think that he can’t make the best decision for himself, that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, is he the kind of man you can trust and depend on? Even if you could convince him that he’s wrong and that you should stay together, would it stick? For how long?

Do you have the power to stop him?

Can you really stop him from being in love with another woman? Or from having fallen out of love with you? What is it within you that won’t allow you to let go? Is it that you believe you’re unlovable and that your only chance at companionship is to hang on to someone who no longer wants you? Is it that it’s scary to be on your own? Is it that you were comfortable with how things were, and that this isn’t fair?

I recently read the statement, “A man replaces, a woman reflects.” Meaning that, typically, a man who is vaguely dissatisfied in his relationship simply replaces the current woman with someone else. A woman who is dissatisfied, typically tries to get to the root of what is wrong in the relationship (often driving her man crazy in the process becuase he’d rather just move on to someone else).

Let’s read between the lines here. Why would a man just replace his wife with someone else? Because he tends to think that the woman is the problem — just replace her. A woman tends to think that she, he, or both of them is the problem and that the situation can be remedied. A woman tends to think that the man in her life is more valuable than the man tends to think his woman is.

These feelings can cast a shadow over your life for years — so don’t let them.

Pining over your ex can carry on for years after the divorce. A woman continues to believe that, if only she could have come up with the right “fix,” the relationship could have been saved. While she spends years continuing to hash this out in her own mind, her ex-husband has moved on, remarried, started a new family, and hardly even remembers his former wife, except as a mistake.

It’s not a mistake, it’s just the past.

Am I encouraging you to think of your long marriage as a mistake?

Not at all. But I am suggesting that you think of your ex-husband as part of your past. Case closed.

Once you close the books on your ex, you can make the conscious decision to stop suffering and invite the present into your life.

He is an adult, and he has decided to reach out for happiness in a way that made sense to him. And he may have hurt many people in the process of putting himself first. After all, men are raised, from birth, to put themselves first. Why would they think of anyone else?

Let his behavior teach you that now, you come first.

Even if you could get him back, do you truly want someone who doesn’t consider your feelings? Who wouldn’t want to try to honor his marriage vows? And who wouldn’t put his family’s welfare first, even if divorce is inevitable?

Let this be engraved on your heart for all time: It’s your responsibility to honor yourself and put yourself first so that any future men in your life are aware of your high value from the very first date. Your life is as precious as his (and, to you, it should be more precious). No one in this life will care for you more than you care for yourself.

Only you can know the secret of who you were meant to be.

No other person, no parent, no husband, none of your children can create the life you were meant to live. Only you can. Only inside you is the secret of who you were meant to be. Only inside of you are the seeds of all of your dreams that you are still meant to live. Your life is bigger than your children, bigger than the bond you had with your ex-husband, bigger than any of the commitments you have made so far in your life.

There is no limit to your worth and value. There is no limit to your worth and value. There is no limit to your worth and value. (Yes, I know. I said that three times.)

You are not in control of the changes that others may cause to come into your life. But you are in charge of the conclusions you draw from their actions. You are in charge of whether you interpret their actions as diminishing your value as a person, or whether you see their choices as nothing more than their personal choices.

“What if my husband is self-destructing and I’m the only one who can help?”

If your husband’s self-destructive life choices have started a chain reaction of dominoes falling, you can step out of the way and not be one of the dominos. It is not your job to go down with him. It is not your duty to support him through drama after drama.

It is not your job to cry, year after year, “But I looooovvvvve him!”

It is your job to inquire of yourself, “Why do I love someone who brings so much pain and chaos into my life? Is the charm and temporary excitement and drama worth the inevitable fallout and disappointment?”

Let him come back when he can be a blessing to you (and your children). Let him return when he has become honorable, honest, trustworthy, and dependable. (And only after he has demonstrated those qualities consistently for at least a few years.) With those qualities in place, you can both see each other through the difficult times in life. Without them, nothing of value can be built.

“All men lie, all men cheat, all men watch porn . . .”

These days, in the media, all we hear is that men are babies, all men cheat, all men watch degrading porn, all men lie, men are not monogamous . . . . If men want us to get the message that we should expect nothing of value from them, then why should we ever marry them and why should we care what they think or what they do?

I don’t think that’s what all men want.

At least, that’s what I’m going to continue to believe.

And the baby men who will always need some woman (or a host of women from sex workers to wives and everything in between) to prop them up: They can’t get into your life, if you don’t let them in.

Your husband who just left you because (fill in the blank)? He just gave you the precious gift of the rest of your life — to be loved, cherished, and respected for all that you do. We take our first steps in that direction by loving, cherishing, and respecting ourselves. It’s the only way to be loved, cherished, and respected by others. Including men.