I don’t know if any of you are old enough to remember the advice column, “Ann Landers.” This was a pen name created by the Chicago Sun-Times advice columnist, Ruth Crowley, in 1943. It was passed on to Eppie Lederer in 1955, and for 56 years the “Ask Ann Landers” syndicated advice column was a regular feature in most national newspapers.
I adored Ann Landers. She was willing to talk about the “hard stuff” publicly, back in the day when most folks didn’t. The advice column continues to be one of my favorite parts of the newspaper, so when I read “Ask Amy” (Amy Dickinson of the Tribune Media) this week, I was not disappointed. I thought it was something worth sharing in this blog today.
DEAR AMY: Three years ago I found out my husband had been unfaithful many times during our eight-year marriage. We have three young children, and I have done everything in my power to save our relationship and spare them divorce. Our life became ridiculously tumultuous. He lost his job. We moved four times, first across the country and then back across the country.
I am exhausted and depleted. My question is, how do I let go of this grief? It has haunted me for three years, and I am tired of how I feel. I’ve decided to separate, and I am living in a tiny three-bedroom place with my parents, sisters and three children. There always seems to be something to justify the “why me” attitude. I am struggling to find something positive, and I desperately need some peace. — Exhausted
DEAR EXHAUSTED: Living with the chaos of your disastrous marriage has exhausted you to your core. But living in the relative stability of your family – especially if they are kind and supportive – will help restore you gradually.
You are grieving because your marriage has died. Divorce has become so prevalent that people don’t seem to acknowledge how devastating this loss is. In addition to the obvious loss, you are also grieving the loss of possibility and the death of the dreams and ideals that sustained you during the years of your marriage.
Stop. Breathe. Sometimes when your life is externally chaostic, the peace you crave has to come from within. It takes time to re-create a life after it has crumbled. Stay put for a while. Avoid any drama with your ex.
At night after the kids are in bed, take 10 minutes to yourself. Write down a list of some things that happened during the day that felt good. It could be something as basic as the warmth of the sun or the fact that your car is working. Start there. Resolve to notice and build upon these simple things.
Life unfold one day at a time. Strive to make those days a little better. ——–
Well done, Amy. You have taken on Ann’s mantle well. Keep that wisdom coming. M