If You Are Still Talking About It Like It Was Yesterday, STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE
"Stop in the Name of Love" goes the great old Motown song from the sixties, by the Supremes. It's a great motto for those of us who find ourselves weighed down with regret after divorce. Maybe it's time to stop in the name of love for yourself and your children. Too often, we do not give a new day a new chance because all the baggage of yesterday continues to be carried on the trip to the rest of our lives. The thing about baggage is, you can lose it, leave it, set it down and not pick it up again. We choose to carry it, or not. Getting over a divorce is not something we can fake. We do need to go through the stages of grief over loss of a great life opportunity that hasn't been realized. The five stages of grief include Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.
Getting Over Divorce: The Decision to Move on is a Choice
Your children need you to move on and you know that you need you to move on, and you want to. But, it seems there is always an event, incident, or argument with your children's father that pulls you back into the regret. Someone will bring up the topic and ask a prying question that just takes you right back. Dealing with the topics of visitation and child support; all the things that make contact with an ex spouse unavoidable can become triggers for ongoing emotional pain and turmoil. This is true, only if we let it happen.
To get beyond divorce it is important to understand that you should allow yourself to grieve over your divorce as if it were the death of a spouse because it is a death, the death of your marriage. In some ways mourning the death of your marriage is more emotional and heart rendering than mourning the death of your spouse because it is the death of the dreams you had when you and your spouse committed to each other.
Denial is the first stage of mourning. Many people move back and forth between these stages, but they usually start with denial. It is very important in the grief process of a relationship ending because it happens at the beginning of the end. When you are trying to fend off the ending of your relationship, you know there is a problem but are unwilling to admit it aloud and deal with it. Even after you and your spouse acknowledge that your relationship is ending, you will both be in the denial stage and revisit it often as you both try to talk and work things out hoping to resolve your problems.
Anger is a stage everyone will have to acknowledge as we grieve the loss of our marriage. It is very important that you allow yourself to feel your anger and deal with it in ways that are safe and sane to get over a divorce. Write about your anger, see a counselor, or go to anger management, but don't repress your anger about the loss of your relationship. If you do you will never be able to move on because you will feel that same anger every time the topic comes up.
The bargaining stage may begin before the loss of your relationship. Bargaining may come before anger as you bargain with yourself and your spouse, offering anything to save the relationship. Sometimes bargaining can be a constructive way to reach an agreement and save your relationship. Usually, it is a process you go through to leave divorce behind and deal with the reality that your relationship with someone is ending.
Once you have dealt with denial, anger, and bargaining you will feel depression as you realize that your relationship is really ending. You will feel powerless and overwhelmed about the loss you are experiencing. You will feel sad and wonder how to move on quickly. It is important to acknowledge this emotion and admit to it. Yes, you will be sad and you don't know how long it will last, but eventually you won't be sad anymore. Even though depression is a powerful emotion, it is only an emotion and it will eventually pass.
One day, soon, after you have passed back and for the through the other four stages, you will finally reach the stage of acceptance. Getting over a divorce is not easy. You may not reach acceptance until many months, maybe even years post-divorce. No matter how long it takes, acceptance is a good thing and a good place to be emotionally. You will no longer feel the need to fix the relationship, wish things were different or that you could get back what you had. If you dealt with the other four stages properly you will eventually accept that things were they eay they were and the relationship ended the way it did. You will also know that your relationship and the process of grief you went through as it ended enabled you to grow as a person and you are OK, and maybe even better and stronger than ever.