When you’re in the divorce process there tends to be the idea that once it is over things will get back to normal. You’ll move on. You’ll put this behind you. You’ll adjust to your new life. So, while you are signing papers and dividing property you keep telling yourself that you are almost there—just one more signature, one more court appearance, or one more email.
When you walk out of court a divorcee, you imagine that somehow everything will have fallen into place.
Only it doesn’t.
Ten months later you’re still dealing with the same issues, still waiting for normal, and so frustrated with your lack of forward movement that you could spit.
If this is all too familiar then consider these five reasons you may be stuck in a rut.
Wallowing in Self-Righteous Indignation
Divorce hurts. There is just no way around it. Getting a divorce is a painful process, and, in general, the events leading up to the decision to divorce are even more painful. Whether it is some sort of narcissistic abuse or infidelity or some other issue, there is sure to be pain and suffering involved—especially if you were wronged in some way. There is a tendency to hold on to the hurt and nurture it.
It feels good to be able to have other people give you sympathy and tell you what a jerk your ex is. It’s nice to have your friends gather around and build up your fragile ego, bring you your favorite ice cream, and wipe away your tears. There is an affirmation that we get from all of that sympathy—and sometimes it’s the first bit of affirmation that we’ve gotten in years. Often, it’s the only attention we get. Why would we want to let go of it?
Well, if you want to move on you’ll need to let it go. You were hurt, admit it, deal with it, and resume being an independent adult.
Talking about Your Divorce
This is hard for me. I tend to be pretty transparent about what is going on in my life, what I am thinking, and how I am feeling.
Oh? You’ve noticed?
Talking about the divorce just keeps you there. Sure, it was unfair and there are things that you need to work through. Sometimes you really need to talk it out! Be picky about who you talk to, though. You want someone who will listen and encourage you to move on not someone who will listen and crawl down in the swamp with you. Talk to work through issues not rehash them.
Hanging on to Keepsakes
This one is tricky. There are things that you will want to keep because of the memories involved, but try to keep it to a minimum. I handed our big box of pictures to my oldest daughter and asked her to take the images that belonged to her father out and send them to him. I separated the wedding pictures out, too. I didn’t throw them away, but I do have them in a place where I won’t be looking at them and wondering how we went from there to here.
Put the pictures up and box the keepsakes to be stored in the attic until you are ready to deal with them, or one of the kids is moving out and wants them—whichever comes first.
Refusing to Accept Change
Once again, I am tattling on myself here. I hate change. For example, yesterday I got a new computer, and I went from a Windows operating system to a MacIntosh. I love the Mac, but I hate changing things up. It messes with my brain.
My relationship is so much better now than my last one, but I still hate the change involved. I find myself continuously trying to replicate the way things were and getting frustrated because I can’t. I want to be organized like I used to be, but ADD, C-PTSD, and middle-aged brain have all conspired against me. My house is a wreck most of the time. I lose things.
Accept that your life is going to be different. There will be good differences and differences that you don’t like—it’s OK.
Giving in to Fear
This is probably the biggest one. You don’t do things that can help you move on because you are afraid.
- What if I get hurt?
- What if it doesn’t work?
- What if I lose everything?
- What if I’m wrong?
Well, what if everything works out and you find you are living in your very own fairytale? What then?
Fear keeps us from doing the things that would most benefit us. The only way to move ahead is to believe that you have a wonderful life in front of you and reach out for it. Accept that you’ll make mistakes and have setbacks but that ultimately you will reach your goals.
If you haven’t set any goals, there is no time like the present to set some!
These are only five of the many things that might be holding you back. Look at your life and make a list of what you are allowing to hold you back, and then work to remove those attitudes from your life. Celebrate each small step forward!
If you feel like you are the only one who has ever dealt with these feelings, you’re wrong. Join First Wives World and speak with others who have been where you are.
Image Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, User: Chris Marchant