I, too have been trying to understand my ex. I did not have the "ideal" marriage as many of you have said you had. There were problems all along and I chose to try and "change" things rather than read the writing on the wall. I was the primary wage earner, mom, wife, cook, financial advisor etc. My husband played. Needless to say, I either missed all the signals or chose to ignore them because he was certainly doing more than riding his bicycle, kayaking, hunting, skiing, fishing.....the list is endless.
My therapist, for whom I have tremendous respect, challenged me today (Not the first time, thank goodness). She asked me to try and create a room inside myself where I feel completely comfortable being me and then to enjoy the time I spend in that room. She told me one of her clients asked if it would hurt to hang pictures in the room as the room is inside yourself. My therapist told her only if you choose to let it hurt.
I thought this was a great parable and I plan on working to create my room; one that provides me the ability to rediscover my gifts yet allows me to grieve when necessary. If nothing else, my experience has forced me to look deep inside myself and search for what matters to ME. Not to someone who neglected me, cheated on me, gave me herpes and lied about it while I allowed him to use me.