What is a tsunami divorce? Well, just ask lessonsfromtheendofamarriage.com creator Lisa Arends. She is the author of a rather popular blog that I found in the early days after my wave hit. I didn’t know what was happening to me, or how to phrase why it was that I was so deeply traumatized by the events surrounding the breakup itself. Her description of a what a ‘Tsunami Divorce’ is absolutely nailed it.
To paraphrase, with very little or no warning at all, the wave comes crashing in on your life when you find out the truth. Those facing unexpected abandonment are often blissfully unaware of the approaching storm because of the lack of prerequisite marital strife that would normally sound an alarm. It’s a hair’s width away from your spouse walking out to get a carton of milk and never coming back, the distinction being that you get to watch their face as they flee, bag in hand, giving you unending footage for the highlight reel that will play endlessly for years to come.
Some call that moment ‘D-Day’. I call mine ‘the night of 1,000 horrors’. And because you didn’t see it coming, and because it comes from someone you trusted completely, it wreaks havoc on your heart and psyche in the most traumatizing ways possible.
The destruction is total.
And while you’re on the floor unable to breathe or walk or make sense of what’s happening, the wave retreats back into the sea. No accountability. No help to pick up the pieces of your vintage Van Morrison record collection that’s now floating down the hallway. Just gone.
The one person in your life you’d turn to in your worst moment on earth is the one who’s caused it, and they’re nowhere to be found.
They’re already well out past the breakers, headed off to some romantic new beginning while you gasp for air and claw your way out of the wreckage in an attempt to orient yourself to the horizon. Your home is splintered into jagged, nonsensical pieces. Your memories are stained and broken, irretrievable. Your life is destroyed…and you never even saw it coming.
My wave hit, destroyed everything as far as the eye could see, and was gone in just 20 hours. I’d forced my husband of 14 years to reveal something I was NOT prepared to hear. He’d been having an affair for 5 months. He was moving 2,300 miles away, and his bags were already packed. He was not going to raise our children with me. Our young family was being torn apart. We were on our own.
In a split second, I went from valued member of my own family to a single mom of a one and a two year old. My love was actually my enemy. The joy was gone from my life in the blink of an eye. I stood with my babies, surveying the wreckage and wondering how I could even take a step without my knees failing me. Shaking and confused, traumatized and crying, one singular thought replayed in my head over and over again. ‘What in the hell just happened?!’
That is a tsunami divorce.
My husband left our 29 yr relationship and marriage for someone he had only talked to on the NET. Mine took off cross country also. I wish he would of stayed there. I think the OW in your case and mine playing by the same handbook. I see your a Criminal Justice student. So am I. I worked as a Supervisor in a prison most of my life. The difference here is the OW started a blog on the NET to slam me (the wife).
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As if the original injustice of what your husband did wasn’t enough. My nervous system would have burst into flames. How did you handle that situation with the blog? Angry on your behalf, Susan. I’ve heard some things that would blow most people’s minds since this all happened, but the OW writing a tell-all blog slamming YOU? That takes the whore-cake. Best to you in your recovery from such craptacular treatment..
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I will be starting month 4 of my dday and tsunami divorce on December 5th. I knew there was stress and tension but I thought it was related to being pregnant. I just had our second daughter. She was not even 2 months old when the wave crashed down on our family. He did the trickle truth telling that day. I should be grateful he did talk and try to explain things. Others just get a letter or a text from what I’ve read. He said he had been unhappy for a long time. (News to me, we just planned and had our 2nd daughter. why did you do that if you thought about leaving?) He revealed he used Ashley Madison twice in last the last 3 years. He wanted to stay until November to help me with the girls. First I wanted him to stay. I thought I could win him back. I’d prove we were worth it. I wanted to work through things and keep family together for the girls. But the more I talked to my friends it was obvious he didn’t want to be with me so I kicked him out. I gained self worth talking to my friends and knew I deserved better. I’m a good person. I shouldn’t have to prove anything. A good man would stay to work through things. To work through it for his young family by telling the whole truth. He was being selfish and stupid.
In about a week and a half there were discoveries made. He had sex with an ex girlfriend the previous summer. “Not intercourse, but may as well have” he said. I found this out by accident. (Long story) he didn’t tell me about her because “she didn’t need to be involved.” On dday I specifically asked if there was another woman or someone in mind to go to. He said no. Our friends asked him the same thing and he said no. I found an email from his affair partner when I snooped his email. I had not planned on snooping, I completely believed him. I went to look at my financials since I’d soon be taking them over and there was his email and password. I went hysterical in 2 seconds flat. I could barely think, I could barely see through my tears to read the email. I took a picture with my phone and forwarded the email to myself. He got notice that his email was open somewhere else and kicked me off. I’m not sure if there was more but I got what I needed. More truths came out after this. The Ashley Madison women were 2 times each not once each like he implied. Twice with the first woman after our first daughter was born and twice with a second woman after we JUST CONCEIVED our second daughter. And the ex girlfriend the summer in between these women. We had 3 talks about his need for more sex. Once before marriage. Once before our 1st daughter and once before second daughter. I knew it was a weak point in our marriage but “isn’t it always an issue in any marriage ?” is what I thought. It’s not that we werent having sex. It just wasn’t enough for him. I will take some of the blame but it is not an excuse to step outside the marriage. He said Ashley Madison was the solution. I said I was the solution. He sees Ashley Madison as keeping families together. It’s a good thing in his eyes.
Well I filed for divorce after finding the affair partner. He sees it as he’s leaving me. It wasn’t an affair b/c he had emotionally checked out of the marriage a long time ago. He fooled me. He would kiss and hug. Say I love you before work. Talk and text all the time. We were a happy little family with normal problems in my mind. We both didn’t know how to communicate. I see that now. I come from a family where issues worked themselves out or went away under a rug. My parents have been married 44 years. I thought it was a good marriage. Not what I wanted exactly but I did model ours after it. He had a harder childhood. His mom passed away from cancer at age 6. His step mother came along soon after. She raised them but it was not a good relationship. They didn’t have a good relationship with their dad either. He admits to being broken inside. He says this woman is his soulmate. He loves her in the 6 months he was seeing and texting her. Which maybe all together added up to 1-2 months of a normal dating relationship. He was with us majority of time. So anyways. Divorce is set for March. I told him I’m leaving door cracked for him to choose us(family). But it won’t be forever. He says he’s sure. Deep in my heart and soul I don’t believe him. I think he will regret it. He has to fix himself and find happiness in himself. No one can fill that void for him. He says this woman can. I predict history to repeat itself. I tried. I’m at peace with every thing now. (Except this woman being around and touching my babies. I’m still working on that.) I’m having people pray for him. I’ve had amazing support from family and friends. I had most of my maternity leave to grieve, process, reflect research and plan. It definitely changed what should’ve been a wonderful time at home bonding with my daughters but I’m grateful for that time. And I still did have a wonderful time being at home with them. She is such a happy and easy baby. A blessing in all this mess. I hope this makes their bond as sisters that much stronger. Surprisingly, I feel very optimistic and excited to see what my future brings.
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How in the world did I miss this comment from November? Jak, that is all so terrible and heartbreaking. No, Ashley Madison does not save marriages, it gives spoiled children in grown up bodies the keys to a candy store with no supervision. I’m just sick about how little your babies were when he did this. Honestly, ALL these cheaters claim retroactive unhappiness without a word to their spouse about it. Don’t fall for it. It’s a convenient narrative, one I’ve read literally hundreds of times. It’s a convenient excuse to cover up the real reason, which is that they simply felt entitled to cheat because that’s what narcissists do. He enjoyed the security and comfort and home life with you and the exciting new sexual adventure with her, and he didn’t care if that arrangement bothered you in the least. That’s not a partner, husband…hell, that’s not even a friend. I hope you have gotten out and away from him, or at the very least that things have improved since you wrote this. Check in here and let me know if you can! Oh, and go to http://www.chumplady.com IMMEDIATELY if you haven’t already. You must trust me on this. Hugs – Wife
My tsunami happened after 33 years of marriage. I’m so sorry you have little children – so much worse. I guess I can give mine “credit” that he didn’t leave the state and still maintains a relationship with our two young adult sons.
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