Bre Hanks

I married my high school sweetheart. We have 2 beautiful children & I had the life I always dreamed of. I was so happy.

Fifteen and a half years later, he had an affair with one of my best fiends. For a year and a half, I knew and I tried everything I could to hold my family together. Shortly after our 17th anniversary, he said he was done and was leaving. He never went to counseling, he never gave her up, he never tried to keep our family whole. He agreed at the very end to see a counselor but only to use her as a scapegoat for leaving. He threw away 21 years together and 17 years of marriage, destroyed our family, caused a deep, dark depression for my son who is still battling it, and shattered the fragile relationship that they had. My son tolerated the shared custody for 4 years until he turned 16 and then told his dad he didn’t want to live there anymore. My son now lives with me full time but visits his dad every other weekend and is showing improvement in his mental health. My daughter has handled everything well and most of time is well adjusted. I believe that at some point, she will also be with me full time too.

For the year and half that I knew about the affair I was completely lost. I could barely run my business. I was grieving the loss of my marriage long before he said he was leaving. I decided I had to meet new people and not continue to sit around and grieve anymore. I went on a couple of dates and then met someone who made me feel so at ease & comfortable. He showed me what the way I could have been treated for all of those years we were together. I didn’t know any better. My ex-husband was not happy about me moving on. We fought a lot, mostly about him still being with the woman he cheated with, not because I had problems but because she had problems with me and thought I was trying to get him back.

A year after the divorce, I married my current husband. Everything was going well until last summer when my ex-husband told me he never expected me to move on. He intended to figure out his shit and come back and that I’d be there waiting for him.

That statement, which he should never had told me, threw me into a darker place than I had ever been. I second guessed ever decision I had made. I regretted moving on. I was resentful of my now-husband. I felt like everything had become my fault. Had I just waited, my family could be while again, my son could be whole again. None of the reality about how my ex was never home, how selfish, manipulative and judgmental were in my thoughts. He had once again found a way to blame me for a problem that wasn’t my fault.

I stopped sleeping in the same room with my husband, I stopped being able to function. Most days I could only go from the best to the couch. I didn’t work for months. I told my husband to leave. That’s when he called my parents and I called the doctor and a therapist. My parents flew me to stay with them for a week where they did everything they could for me and talked about everything that was going on in my head.

After I got back, I started working with a different therapist than before. He asked all the hard questions and helped me put everything back into perspective. I took antidepressants, but only for a week because they had horrible side effects.

I still dream about my ex-husband regularly. It’s not awesome. I know I loved him far more than ever loved me. He was my whole world. It still hurts that didn’t realize or appreciate it sooner. My husband now has been amazing in my healing. He told me that we needed to get me well and then if I still want him to go, he will leave. Of course, he’s still here and I don’t want him to leave. After going through my own depression I recognized and finally understood what my son had been feeling every day for years. Even though I had gotten him into therapy a year before, I got him to agree to see the doctor about antidepressants. It’s been a process to find the right combination but he is finally starting to thrive again. The meds and being with me full time have been the biggest help to his mental wellness and happiness.

I’m not sure I ever will be fully healed. I still have to see, talk to, and deal with my ex-husband multiple times a week still. Maybe after the kids are adults and on their own, but I’m not sure even then. Kids are a life long bond.

I have come out of the depression from the grief of losing my marriage and thinking it was all my fault. I am more vocal about things I don’t like, I’m getting better at setting boundaries, and I am able to function and focus and work again. My laughter is back.


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