A woman engaged to be married was certain she was doing the right thing as she helped her fiancé battle depression. After the fiancé emerged on the other side, she is now questioning where things went wrong.
The woman turned to the Mirror’s “Dear Coleen” advice column for help and was given a poignant response about forgiveness and moving on after being wronged by someone to whom the person gave their all.
The woman explained she was with her fiancé for a year when his depression hit. It was severe, but the woman was determined to help him see it through:
Hope you can help. I was with my ex for a year and we were engaged. I was so happy. I have two kids, who really liked him, too. I gave him all I had emotionally and physically.
He was in the army, so I only saw him at weekends. In May this year he had bad depression and even talked about killing himself. I supported him through it all, even though it was hard and exhausting, but I loved him.
A month later, the dark clouds still hadn’t lifted, and the woman’s fiancé informed her that he could no longer carry on their relationship:
Then in June he dumped me, insisting he loved me, but that the depression was stopping him having a relationship.
Shortly thereafter, the woman made a devastating discovery:
We had no contact and then I found out last month that he’s seeing an American woman, and had cheated on me when we were together.
I was devastated and I felt sick. I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I’m 44 and I don’t know what to do. I miss him so much and it feels like there’s a big hole where he used to be. I cry all the time and I can’t eat.
I’m just heartbroken. I’m currently on a waiting list for NHS counselling, but I just feel hopeless and depressed.
Coleen summed up her advice for the woman with one sentence: “This is all on him.”
The advice columnist validated the woman’s actions, assuring her that she did everything she could have done to help her depressed fiancé:
The relationship didn’t fail because of anything you did or didn’t do. In fact, you did everything you could to support him through a dark time. You have to keep moving on because it will get easier.
And the feelings of sadness and depression the jilted woman was experiencing were actually grief:
You’re feeling grief for something you could have had. That life and that love have been taken away from you and it’s a big loss.
It’s easy to let the pain envelope you, but each day you have to push yourself to get out of bed and, over time, you’ll find it won’t be forced. Don’t allow yourself to wallow every day — it won’t change what has happened.
Coleen advised that as a mother, the woman should think about what she would tell her own children or friends if they were experiencing similar heartbreak:
Think about what you would tell your best friend or your daughter if this were happening to them. You’d be able to advise them logically because you’re not emotionally involved.
Instead of letting the grief consume her, Coleen suggested the woman consider how her fiancé jilted her and to get mad, not sad:
You have to try to listen to your head and keep reminding yourself of how he let you down. Get a bit angry and use it positively to get past him and be happy again.
Whatever the woman decides, she can’t let the overwhelming feelings prevent her from connecting with loved ones on an emotional level:
I’ve felt that pain you’re feeling many times but, what I can assure you from experience, is that it will fade. Don’t block out friends and family – talk to them about how you’re feeling.
And she can’t expect to change the past:
You can’t change someone’s actions and you also cannot force someone to be with you, even when you really love that person.
But she can look forward to the day that the fiancé reaches out to her:
You might find that once you have moved on, he’ll get back in touch but I promise you, by that time, you’ll be over it.
Because by then, chances are the woman will be over it.
According to the Journal of Positive Psychology, it takes the average person approximately three months to start viewing a breakup in a “positive light,” such as learning about themselves and the experience.
“Good luck,” Coleen wrote.