Moving On After Divorce or a Breakup, Here Is How
“Pain that is not faced does not go away, it stays inside and festers. If each time you have a loss you deny it, you will end up with a pile of unresolved grief, making each loss harder and harder to cope with”. (Susan J Elliott)
Your spouse or partner has told that your relationship is over. You are devastated, and you should be. You also know that there is no turning back the clock, the question is how do you move on from here? This article would show you how you can start to get your life back on track after such a devastating news.
Acknowledge that the relationship is over, done and dusted. So often, I have seen people live in denial of what has happened. They find it either difficult or shameful to admit to themselves that the relationship is over. Such denial prevents them to open up and talk to somebody they can trust. One of the reasons may be that they some how feel responsible for the breakup or they think their friends and family would say, “we told you so” especially where their friends or family raised some concerns about the relationship earlier. Acknowledging that the relationship is over does not in any way make you culpable but a way of letting yourself know that a part of you is gone or dead. A vacuum has been created in your life, that you have been wounded and that you need to and want to heal. By acknowledging the reality of the breakup would help you begin the process of inner relinquishment-letting go of the hopes, dreams and fears you attached to the relationship.
Identify your emotions, such as hurt, fear, relief, distance, impatience, resentment, doubt, and guilt, shock, betrayal, loss of control, victimization, decreased self-esteem, insecurity, anger, a desire to “get even,” and wishes to reconcile.
“Pain that is not faced does not go away, it stays inside and festers. If each time you have a loss you deny it, you will end up with a pile of unresolved grief, making each loss harder and harder to cope with”. (Susan J Elliott).
So look intently at the hurt, face it and see it as it is and find a metaphor to describe how and what you feel. In order that you would be able to determine how deep your wound is, you need to identify your losses resulting from this breakup, especially your psychosocial losses. These are the intangible losses known to you alone. These may be things that made you feel special in some way or gave you some pride and honor. Look at all of your losses, feel them, heal them, and then move on. For example, our loved ones add winks and whistles to our experience. They inspire and enrich our lives with their vitality. So when someone who has been an integral part in your life suddenly dumps you, a chapter in the book of your life is closed. There is a loss of self-that is, something of us that the other has brought alive in our relationship has died. This could range from the loss of the voice that said, “I love you”, laughter and winks, little kisses on the cheek/lips, warmth or some traits of your ex, etc all gone.
Support: Receiving emotional support from others is very important, so speak to somebody such as close friends, support groups or your physician. Dr Sbarra encourages people who experience divorce to “reconnect with people who enhance sense of self.” William Bridges points out that, what you need at this stage is not advice, though, that may sometimes be the case, but what you need is someone who would act as a sounding board, and offer you the opportunity to put into words your dilemmas and your feelings so that you can fully understand what is going on.
You should also seek support from other professionals such as a transition’s coach, a therapist or a counselor, your spiritual leader if you belong to a religion etc. A transition’s coach can help you identify your losses both physical and psychosocial, support through the three phase transition process you must go through: the process of disengagement (ii) the period of confusion and (iii) the process of re-identification.
Take time to grief. Grief is a natural response to a loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. The greater the loss, the more intense the grief would be. Embrace the tears and do not block them. Let them flow. You must give yourself the time to grief your losses and say goodbye to them
Treat the past with respect however you feel about the past, it is that which has brought you this far. That is to say you stayed in the marriage or relationship for as long as you did because there were some good things about it. There were obviously also some things that were not so good about it and this is why you are divorcing or breaking up. Therefore as Kathleen O’Connell Corcoran states, “to say that the marriage was a wholly unpleasant experience and escaping it is good. Or the marriage was unpleasant and now the other partner must make this up in the divorce. Thinking that the marriage was wholly unpleasant is unfair to both parties and can hinder emotional healing.
Don’t play the blame game: According to the psychologist, Kathleen O’Connell Corcoran, “a common response to divorce is to seek vengeance. When parties put their focus on getting even, there is an equal amount of energy expended on being blameless. What’s true is that blaming and fault finding are not necessary or really helpful”. Instead of the blame game, focus on the future and what it is you want for your life. Set an enticing goal for yourself. Explore the other side of your breakup. If you are not the initiator of the break, look at the opportunities that the breakup can offer you. If on the other hand you initiated the separation or divorce, explore the less desirable consequences. Much of your healing, says, Kathleen O’Connell Corcoran, will involve acceptance, focusing on the future, taking responsibility for your own actions (now and during the marriage), and acting with integrity.