Surviving A Painful Break-Up or Divorce – Part I
I never anticipated this post to be so lengthy, but as I began to write, so much more began to flow from me. So instead of trying to limit what I was being ‘given’, I decided to break it up into a few consecutive pieces. You know how we are these days…most of our attention spans will only allow us to read for a good 15-20 minutes. We scan and then move onto something else quickly. But if you are, or you know of someone who could benefit from the tips offered here, please share the link. Its purpose is to provide healing and Light for all. – Bradford Speaks
I am what some might call a two-time loser. No, no, I’m not in trouble with the law or anything like that; that’s never been a problem of mine. But I do have a record, however…I am 0-2 so far in the game of marriage, as earlier this year I finalised the paperwork to end my second set of vows with the woman I truly thought was “the one”. A lot of us are just as familiar with this feeling of losing, as we are with the feelings of finally owning up to the fact that the feelings of Love and adoration we once held
for another, have begun to dissolve. Many of us are quite accustomed to what it feels like when those butterflies that once fluttered with life deep within our Beings, begin to slowly dissipate. At first only a few die, so the feeling isn’t always immediately noticeable. As more of them begin to die off, though, the fear of what is undeniably happening begins to awaken us. We find ourselves perhaps laying in bed one night, trying to figure out where we have misplaced that feeling we once had and believed was so real and true. Where did it suddenly run off to, we ask. We don’t want to believe that it is happening…not AGAIN! So we will do everything in our power to make that feeling of loss go away; and the most common way of doing so is through denial. We simply ignore it, or tell ourselves it’s only a “rough patch”, a temporary state of the relationship that will eventually cease and things will soon return to normal. Sometimes this is true, but more times than not it isn’t. We are shockingly disappointed when the feeling does not return after weeks, months, even years have gone by. We wake only to find ourselves trapped inside of a relationship that was once so full of zest and vitality, but is now completely devoid of life.
Twice now I have added to the 50 plus percent of failed marriages in the good old U.S. of A, a country (in my opinion) that fails miserably at providing the type of support and social structure needed for families to remain in tact today. But when you decide to file for a divorce, resources and attorneys are readily at your disposal. The opportunities are so abundant when deciding to call it quits. But that’s another post for another day.
I am not proud of being a part of these dismal statistics by any means, but do I consider myself to be a loser in general? Certainly not. And neither should you if you’ve been there before, or are currently facing the possibility of a divorce. However, these two experiences surely caused me to slow down and question many things about myself, including my ability to successfully sustain a long-term monogamous relationship. It even caused me to question monogamy in general. After all, the common denominator in both marriages was ME – that’s how we tend to analyze these things when we seek introspectively. For the first time, I began to look at me as the problem, and no one else. Let me clarify quickly. When I say “successfully”, I am speaking of sustaining a relationship that is in a blissful state on a consistent basis. This is how I have come to partially define “success” in a relationship. And I do believe this constant bliss is possible – it is the how that I haven’t quite figured out yet. What I am also not certain of is how long a couple can reasonably maintain such bliss. Sure, we all know a couple or two (on Earth – hehe) who have been together for what seems like forever and a day, but often have stayed together for the wrong reasons; or at least what those on the outside looking in perceive to be the wrong reasons. To top it all off, behind closed doors many of these couples have suppressed the fact that they secretly don’t even like each other anymore. Note that I didn’t say love each other anymore, I purposely said “like” instead. And sometimes that is just what it boils down to – liking someone enough to want to stay.
By the end of my second marriage, I had concluded that my ex-wife simply did not like me anymore…as a person. My very presence disgusted her, it seemed. The word “disgust” is a very strong word. But honestly, that is exactly what it felt like to me at that time. This was extremely tough for me to swallow because she had previously shown such great adoration for the man and person that I was; she was my biggest fan. I have spoken to others who have also experienced a similar shift in their partners’ dealings with them. I have learned along my journey that when we carry a strong feeling of disdain toward another, it is a good indicator that we should find the nearest mirror and peer into it deeply. We are all reflections of each other, and we attract people and situations into our experience based upon what we see in them as it relates to ourselves. This is not a conscious seeing that I am speaking of. So the things she appeared to be disgusted with about me, were likely qualities she was seeing inside of herself that she was unhappy with. She had to push me away so that she could deal with them for herself, without my interference with wondering and asking constantly ‘why she didn’t love me anymore’. This places a lot of pressure on someone, to exert the energy needed to prop you up while also trying to search for themselves within the web you have created together. This woman who had admired me so much years before, and held me up on this pedestal so high, had dropped me smack down to earth on my head. Talk about a shattered ego! How did I lose such high status in her eyes? Maybe she finally realized that I was actually human, that I wasn’t this perfect picture of a man that she had previously hoped for and imagined in her mind? Perhaps some things that I did (or failed to do) disappointed her to such a degree that it brought about a resentment toward me? I have since determined that none of this was true. Our time had just run its course. She was no longer able to hide who she was and what she truly felt. I was still the wonderful man she fell in love with and chose to make her husband. I cannot know this for certain because I was not privy to her thoughts, but I do believe that she loved me still, but just not in the way she once did that made her want to be in a marriage with me. She felt that she was holding me hostage in a sense. Just because someone chooses not to be in a relationship with you anymore doesn’t make you any less wonderful. She probably felt guilty for holding onto me when she no longer felt the kind of romantic love for a man she was to be married to. So in order to open the door for me to find that again in someone else, she had to set me free. But she actually opened the door for me to find the love of myself that had been missing. This would be the greatest gift she could have given me.
At the tender age 42, I still consider myself a young man in the prime of his life. Not in a cocky way at all, but I consider myself to be a good catch; a better catch than before, actually. I am much wiser now, and more refined about what I desire in a partner. My world view is much clearer, and my perception of Love is much broader and all-encompassing. But…I also know now for certain that there are no guarantees in any relationships, and I have accepted this; I recommend you should as well.
So, what happened? What went wrong? Could it all have been avoided? Was it poor choosing of partners on my behalf? Was it poor relationship management by both of us? Did we “grow apart”? Did we marry and have kids too young and/or too soon? Did we have too many kids? Did he/she change, did I change, did we both change? Did I not give either them what they needed? Was I emotionally inept to handle such a major commitment? Was I not done “playing the field”? These and many other questions have danced in my mind during my Self discovery process, of course, and I’m sure that anyone who has gone through divorce or any semblance of a serious and painful break-up, has explored a similar line of self questioning. Should I have done some things differently? Maybe. Could I have done some things differently? Most definitely. Would either have changed the outcome? Who the hell knows!? It is important to ask questions such as these, and to analyze the experience at a very deep level. But not so much in an effort to ensure that our next relationship will not end up the same way, but more so in an effort to gain a greater innerstanding about ourselves, for ourselves; not for anyone else or for any future relationship. Remember, your journey is about you and no one else but you! Yes, you will without a doubt accompany others in finding themselves along the way, but always remember that your journey to You is absolutely paramount. It is very easy to lose sight of this when we bring others into the mix.
Ok, here is how I survived, and how YOU will, too:
1) Time – While I don’t necessarily agree that time heals all wounds, as many would lead us to believe, I do believe that time is one of the most important components of making great progress toward healing from a painful divorce/break-up. But allowing time to do its job of assisting with the healing is dependent upon the individual(s). The importance is in how you use the time. In this article, I will share a few of the best ways to do so.
The hands on my watch were simply not ticking fast enough. There seemed to be additional hours hiding in between the twenty four we already know about. Finding my healing place was like a kid trying to go to sleep on Christmas Eve, so that the highly anticipated morning under the tree would come sooner. It just could not arrive fast enough! I knew that my healing was somewhere ahead of me, but my vision was so blurry from the perceived bludgeoning of my life that it was not visible to me at all. In the beginning, there were so many days I just did not think I would survive. I couldn’t see how I would ever be OK again. I couldn’t see how I would ever love again, give my heart to anyone that way again. As each day slowly came to an end, I didn’t feel as if I was getting any closer to the healing I was hoping to find. For months on end I felt like I was stuck in the same place, unable to shift gears. I ground and ground them, but no movement. I cannot pinpoint exactly when the turn toward healing began, but as more months began to appear in my rear view and I continued to only look forward, I could finally observe my progress happening. And even though it was in very little bits at a time, it was progress nonetheless…and for the first time, noticeable to me. It had been right there the entire time, just waiting for me to take hold of it. But I was blinded by the pain I couldn’t seem to conquer.
This buffer of “time” that we have been gifted – though illusory – is precious and quite necessary to make the human experience possible, fun, and even beneficial. Time allows for reflection and contemplation; time allows for reconciliation and forgiveness; time creates the pathway for healing to occur. Respect the time you are given after a divorce or break-up. The emotional and legal disconnects are only the beginning of a journey you should really learn to love.
2) Acknowledgement – Some people spend a ton of energy trying to just ignore what has happened, to ignore the pain they are experiencing. This is the absolute wrong approach. If it hurts, acknowledge that it hurts. Acknowledge that the pain does exist and that whatever caused it needs to be dealt with head-on. Know that you may be down, but you are not out! Denying that the pain is present doesn’t make it go away. It only numbs us for moments at a time while we temporarily find a place in our minds to which we can escape. You have to move consciously through the entire process. If you don’t, you will fail to retain the explicit lessons you are supposed to gather. Look at the situation square in its face – this is a face off! Get mad, get pissed…not pissed at the other person, but pissed at yourself for allowing another person to affect your life in such a negative way. Realize that you are the solution. Be careful not to carry resentment toward the ex. Instead, show an attitude of gratitude.
There is great strength in letting your opponent know that you see them, and that you realize their having gotten the best of you this time. There is also strength in letting them know that you will take these lessons they’ve handed to you, learn from them, and use them to prepare yourself for the next go ’round. Life itself is not your opponent, the circumstance is. Let it flow through you, and take confidence in knowing there is not a single circumstance that you will be presented with that you cannot successfully manage through, beyond, all the way back to your authentic state of bliss. Just be patient…great segue
3) Patience – Patience is another very critical piece of getting over the trauma that break-ups can cause. The faster I wanted my healing to begin, the slower it appeared to happen. Every day I would awake – virtually poking myself – hoping to feel better than I did the day before, hoping the pain was not still present. I would lie in bed some mornings, and feel around inside of myself to see if what I felt the night before was still there. And for what seemed to be a countless number of days, it was. No matter what I did to try to keep myself occupied, I would always find myself drifting back toward thoughts of trying to understand why this had happened to me – again.
When going through these situations, it is important to be patient with the process – let the process run its course. Don’t look for the feelings of despair to disappear overnight, because they won’t. You will only disappoint yourself by thinking they will, and then finding that they simply won’t. Give yourself the opportunity to savor every moment, to soak up every single emotion you are experiencing, especially the most uncomfortable ones. Lean into that discomfort because there is where your healing lives. Be patient with yourself – avoid becoming frustrated with yourself because you aren’t moving through it at the same pace you may have through other challenges in your life. This one is different, so coincidentally, the healing process will be also different. There is a psychological concept called the “Stages of Grief”, and you will feel every single one of them at various points throughout the process. These emotions are: Denial>>Anger>>Depression/Detachment>>Dialogue/Bargaining>>Acceptance. They won’t necessarily occur in any particular order, but they will be felt, and likely multiple times. Patiently await for your healing – trust that it is coming, if it is what you truly desire. Remember: The Universe only knows how to answer “Yes”. So if you are truly asking for healing, healing is what you will find. If you are seeking pity and desire to stay in the darkness in order to get it, then that is what you will find as well. So decide what you really want. No one can lead you to healing more effectively than You can!
I hope you find these initial tips to be helpful in locating your healing. There is more great info to come in Parts II and III, so stay tuned! As always, I am here with you if you or someone else you know would like support.
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