The process of divorce is a rocky road, it begins long before stipulations and agreements are signed.
The turmoil of “should I stay or should I go?” rings loud in your head, keeping you up most nights. If there are children to tend to and plan for, the dissolution of a marriage is all the more agonizing. These feelings of confusion, shame, disappointment, self-doubt, and the list goes on, are all normal. As you imagine how your life is going to play out at this point try to give yourself space to mourn. The end of a marriage has the similarities of a death. Sometimes what makes the divorce more difficult is that it may never have closure, which can be more painful and tougher to recover from. If you have children you will always remain in some kind relationship so therefore in some regards it’s never quite over.
However, rather than wish your soon to be ex to magically disappear, imagine instead that you have the courage to stand up to the fact that this relationship went sour, it came to a bitter end with all the despair that goes along with it. Now.imagine instead that you both believe there is a life waiting for you after the break up. If managed with care, compassion, and patience the members of your family can move through this adversity and develop resiliency and expand into stronger deeper individuals.
About a year ago I had a woman with two children 14 and 11 who wanted to leave her husband, she tried to keep the marriage together but after years of disappointment, frustration and disrespect to both of them, trying not to show contempt and anger in front of the children, living a lie, she decided she needed to move her sons and herself closer to her family, her mother and siblings. One of the dilemmas was to be found out in other words, since she had been living out of state away from all of who knew her she was able to keep up a false front from the rest of the family who only saw what she wanted them to see which was an intact happy family right down to the Christmas and soccer photos where everyone is smiling on the outside but dying on the inside. When it finally came out as she could not keep the lie anymore she confessed to her sister she had been living in a hell. The enormous courage it took for her to reveal what really has been going on was astounding, but not without the multitude of tears flooding and expressions of shame, hopelessness, feelings of guilt and self loathing.
We worked through her separation, helping her regain her self-esteem, and self-determination. She became a single parent for a while, hold it all together until her ex-spouse realized that he was still needed as a parent and buried the hatchet. He then became more involved, no longer hesitant in fear they would argue and it would escalate. The emotion roller coaster slows down after time and acceptance.
It took months and work to forgive, reconstruct and develop a new perspective, but in a year’s time this family has made remarkable progress as well as learned what strengths they have and didn’t know they had. They are stronger, wonderful people today. Each of them has brought healing to the others and remained compassionate and loving amidst living in separate homes. When I met with my client recently, I asked how she was doing in regards to her social life. She stated that she has dated briefly and although she hasn’t thought about anyone seriously, she does feel excited and hopeful about the possibilities of meeting someone and being happy again in a relationship, She also said that she has learned a great deal during our sessions and knows more about what she wants in a relationship and realized where she missed the boat in her last relationship with her husband. These misses, she says will not be repeated but she is grateful for the wisdom they brought her. It has been a remarkable journey for all of them, and continues to be.
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