Ernest and Cynthia Elliot’s 10-year marriage crumbled under the weight of her grief. She was a woman with severe depression who took to binge eating and self-medicating with white wine. He found it hard to be in the same room.
As he tried to heal from his heartbreak with a determination that turned into years of nagging efforts to make his wife happy, he chafed at his wife’s put-downs, where “no one loves you and wants to take care of you the way I do.”
He told her he wouldn’t love her anymore if she didn’t let him back into her life. Cynthia refused, claiming that she had already healed. At the couple’s son’s wedding, Cynthia became upset because her husband was bringing out the wine bottles from the trunk of the car, a reminder that he was never really out of her life. She said she’d have to be happy with someone else and not with him. He stormed out of the party, saying he was sorry he couldn’t share his happiness with his wife.
That night, Cynthia told Ernest how she felt. She told him she wanted the divorce. She blamed him for the hurt that she felt and what she knew he was suffering. Ernest said he couldn’t deal with that, and he couldn’t let it ruin their life. Instead, he told her, “We just need to work this out. I only sort of hope that he’s happy.”
It didn’t work. When Ernest returned, he acknowledged that Cynthia was not happy for him. The nature of their relationship was evolving from being happy to being successful to being a good part of the family. Ernest had been the family breadwinner for a decade but had been feeling pressured to move on. Cynthia was the more subdued, uninvolved mother, the one who raised the boys as a single mom after her divorce. Ernest’s children, who were now adults, no longer questioned the role his ex-wife played in the family and their relationship. It fell to Ernest to speak up to Cynthia and begin to rekindle his own relationship with her.
Read the full story at InStyle.
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