Let’s face it. If you’re reading this, chances are your marriage is already past the point of salvaging. Perhaps you’re already separated. Perhaps you’ve even started divorce proceedings but are still torturing yourself with thoughts that it was the wrong decision – or that your ex will still see sense and come back to you. Perhaps you’re scrambling around for evidence that proves to your ex that they’re wrong and you really ought to stay together. That divorce isn’t the answer.
I’m sorry to say it, but if your divorce is already in motion, it doesn’t matter how many articles you read about rekindling romance or improving communication or making sure you support one another and take pleasure in the small things that make each other happy. One or both of you has already made the call. Once your spouse has checked out, you aren’t going to win them back with a BuzzFeed listicle.
Divorce might be painful, unthinkable, even utterly incomprehensible to you, but it’s happening. Rather than looking for arguments to stave off the inevitable, it’s time to start moving forward.
Are You in Denial?
Some people struggle to come to terms with their divorce because they see it as a humiliation. They think everyone is whispering behind their back, looking at them like they’re a failure. The breakdown of the marriage seems worse than any level of misery within the marriage. As a result, they shut themselves off, insist it isn’t really happening or it’s all a bad dream.
But if you can’t even tell those close to you that you are getting divorced, how can you possibly move on? How will you build a new life or find a new relationship? And the longer this goes on for, the worse it will be. Lying – whether to yourself or to others – delays your recovery and reverses the process, backpedalling you into anger or denial.
Instead of convincing yourself this is fixable, have the courage to tell those closest to you about the breakup. Force yourself to say it out loud. Absorb the reality of the statement.
If you can’t bring yourself to do this just yet, draw up two columns on a page and, on one side, make a list of all the things you are afraid will happen (or are afraid people will think) if they find out you’re getting divorced. On the other side, for each point, answer the question, “Why do I care so much about this?” This will help you understand what is really driving you. It will also help you to recognize which parts of your resistance to the divorce have nothing to do with your ex at all.
Are You Turning into a Zombie?
Sometimes, the shock of the separation is so overwhelming that people go into autopilot, either abandoning their routine and slumping in front of the TV or going through the motions of their day in a daze. They might manage to turn up to work or see friends, but all the time they are numb, empty, distant.
If this is the state you’re in, you may feel tempted to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. You might sink into a slump, chain-smoking, overeating or not eating at all. You might get wasted and have ill-advised one-night stands just to feel something. All of which makes you feel more empty, more numb, more inclined to think you’ve just thrown away a good thing. When really, going backwards isn’t the answer. Rather, you need to start building a better future for yourself.
Are You Obsessing Over Your Ex?
Or perhaps you’ve gone the other way. You’re consumed by how much you still love your ex. You’re still trying to do everything you can to win them back. You’re constantly restless, negotiating, desperate to work out how you can win them back. Perhaps you’re stalking their social media accounts constantly. Perhaps you took a detour to drive by their flat or found a reason to be in the pub when you knew they were celebrating a friend’s birthday. Perhaps you can’t stop texting them. Perhaps you’re still sleeping with them.
If this is you, you will inevitably feel like you’re losing your mind. You probably talk to yourself. You may need to figure that one thing you can fix to make it all go back to how it was before. And as you ratchet up explanations and excuses, as you bargain with your ex or make increasingly aggressive demands, you know, on some level, that you are being crazy. You feel embarrassed, cornered. Which in turn makes you all the more desperate to win them back, if only to make all this worthwhile. To prove your sanity in the long run.
But this craziness will pass… as soon as you start to let go. You need to recognise that the problem isn’t the absence of this person from your life, but rather how your reaction to it is hurting you. Focus on setting yourself healthy boundaries. On not communicating with your ex or trying to see what they are up to for at least 8 weeks. Ask yourself why you are so keen to cling on in the first place. What are you afraid of?
Start Asking the Right Questions
If you recognise yourself in any of this, the question isn’t whether or not divorce was the right call. That ship has sailed. The question is: where do you go from here?
Because now’s not the time to trawl through the past. Now is the time to start figuring out what you need to do to let go of your ex. How you will process your pain. It’s time to take the first step towards truly healing and moving on. Take this test to discover your divorce personality today OR take an assessment to see if divorce is the next step for you or if you should try to save your marriage.