Divorce – The Loss of a Relationship
When we marry, most of us believe it really is for the rest of our lives. We often create a combined life as well as an individual life. It is the combined life, however, that usually has the priority in marriage. Separating from our life partner is painful; feelings of anger, abandonment and, yes, relief may also be present. There is no escaping your feelings, whatever they are.
I have seen some people avoid their feelings by dating constantly or drinking or drugging. I have seen others plummet into despair for periods of time. It is natural to miss the warmth, friendship, financial security, relationship and sex you had or hoped you would have.
If you have children, parenting becomes much more challenging, as your role does change and the frequency with which you will spend time with your children will change as well. Questions such as “when do I introduce my children to the person I am dating?” will arise and possibly cause you anxiety, as there is no ‘right’ answer, only better ones.
Divorce is often one of life’s most stressful experiences. I refer to divorce as a mini-death. In some ways, it is more challenging than a ‘real’ death in that the person you have separated from, and possibly feel abandoned by, is alive. If you have had children together, you will be seeing your ex for the rest of your life. This, for many, is re-wounding, especially if you are unable to forgive yourself and your ex for the divorce. It is common for both parties to have feelings of failure regardless of who initiated the divorce.
On the positive side, a divorce can be a time of discovering yourself again, creating new relationships, learning and growing. In order to move forward, taking responsibility for your part in the divorce, rather than blaming your ex for it, is paramount. As well as allowing yourself to grieve your loss and honor your feelings. Then you will be in a space to grow into your new life, the one you will create out of joy: the life you used to dream about having when you were married and unhappy but always thought you could not create it.