Recovering From Divorce And Unhappiness: What’s Stopping You From Enjoying Your New Life After Divorce?
My first divorce could be described by the phrase: “struggle and failure.” I stumbled through the divorce process. Then I failed to make a successful recovery after the divorce was final.
MY FIRST DIVORCE: FIGHT AGAINST THE PAIN OF NOT STOPPING
My first divorce had to do with pain and my ineffective ways of getting rid of it. I thought, “Will the pain ever stop? If only the pain went away, I’ll be fine.”
The divorce shouldn’t have been a surprise. After eight years of marriage, my wife and I agreed that it was all over. We talked about it regularly for two more years, without taking any action. Then one beautiful morning in Florida, he called me at work to tell me that he would be meeting with an attorney that afternoon. I was completely shocked and devastated. It was a complete surprise, never mind that we’ve been discussing it for months. I panic. Uncontrollable crying. Begging him to reconsider.
Haunted by everyday life
He was haunted by the fear of not being able to face life as a newly minted single person who believed he would never have true love again. I was haunted by the fear of having to date again. I was hit by my crippling emotional reactions when I heard our favorite songs on the radio. Driving past “Sizzlin ‘Sirloin”, which was one of our favorite restaurants, resulted in holding back tears. Even shopping at the supermarket we had frequented for years was so disturbing that I had to drive across town to a new store.
The ultimate goal became: Whatever it takes, Stop the pain! I tried the common solutions: drink until I drop, date until I drop, work until I drop, and pretend that time would solve all my problems. Nothing worked. My misery only multiplied.
Then the judge signed the divorce papers. Finally, I thought, now I could get on with my free and happy life.
Not so fast my friend!
THE BEGINNING OF MY LIFE AFTER DIVORCE: helpless and desperate
Right out of the box I received a blow to the body that told me that things were not over and that I was in trouble. The day after the judge signed the papers and bid me goodbye, I am standing in the middle of the street waving to my two daughters who are greeting me through the back window of a car as their mother drives them 1700 miles away. and out of My everyday life. No loss I have experienced before or since comes close to the pain I suffered standing there in the middle of the street that afternoon in Gainesville, Florida.
Soon my friends were avoiding me, tired of me complaining about how bad I felt and complaining about the cause, that is, my ex. They gently encouraged me to get over it and get on with my life, which, conveniently for them, would mean that I would have no more drunk, upset, and depressed midnight phone calls.
I had no idea. I duplicated my prescription that I had used before the judge signed the papers: date, drink, work and let time heal me. Same result. Things only got worse.
I realized painfully that I didn’t know what to do.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM MY FIRST DIVORCE: IT’S NOT CHANGE BUT TRANSITION
After the divorce was final and my daughters left, I found that getting divorced was easy compared to having no idea what to do. after I divorced.
I was faced with a completely new life situation: single, new living arrangements, no immediate family, heartbreak over loss, fear of an unknown future, plus a new set of painful emotional reactions, and no roadmap to help me. guide you through such an important situation. life transition.
It turns out that making a simple change of marital status, painful as it was, had nothing to do with being happy in my life after divorce. What threatened my well-being was not knowing how to handle the transition from being married to being single again.
HOW CAN THIS HELP YOU?
In retrospect, I learned that divorce is divided into two parts: (1) the reality event to separate from your spouse and be formalized by a judge, and (2)) post-divorce process transition that lays the foundation for the rest of your life.
While the event of divorce is emotionally painful, it is irrelevant to the happiness in your life after divorce. However, handling the post-divorce process transition it is the key to enjoying a successful recovery. Managing the transition requires that you dissolve your resistance to accepting the changes in your new life situation. This will allow you to experience satisfaction and happiness in your life after the divorce.
The good news? You already know how to do it. You have managed and learned from previous major life transitions. For example, when you had a serious accident or major illness, experienced the death of a loved one, went through a major geographic relocation, got turned down for a promotion, got a new boss at work, broke up with your first girlfriend / boyfriend, etc. . The same skills you used to get through all of your previous life transitions can be used to get through your current transition to life after divorce.
While neutralizing emotions is important, it is only the first piece of the puzzle. To use an example from baseball, neutralizing your emotions only gets you to first base. Getting around the bases and getting true happiness in life after divorce depends on your ability to handle the entire transition process, not just the first step in dealing with your emotions. Fortunately you have that ability.
Your challenge? Use it.