After the divorce you may find you have mixed emotions about your ex - spouse. While you may know that the divorce was for the best, you may find that some days you hate your ex - spouse, and, surprisingly, other days you miss him/her. You may wonder why you feel any fondness for someone you are divorcing. It is perfectly normal, and most divorced people report these mixed emotions. So how do you cope with these changing emotions?
- Emotions are not good or bad. They just ARE. When a couple divorces, the bad times they shared may be a recent memory, but there are times when each person feels vulnerable, lonely, or scared of the changes taking place. At these times, you may think of the good times. (Hopefully, they were not all bad!) Allow yourself these trips down memory lane. Don’t try to push down your emotions, but allow yourself to feel all the emotional stages of divorce. Expect that you will have your up’s and down’s.
- Divorce means change. Realize that every divorce brings about such change, and change is not always easy. There are times we are tempted to look back, because it is easier than facing the fact that you now have to rebuild your life. Trust yourself that you can handle anything that comes along and that you have made the right decision to divorce. Don’t let fear overtake your judgment.
- Make lists. It helps to make a list of the reasons you divorced, and the differences you had. Also, make a list of the good parts of your former relationship. Many newly divorced people are so focused on the bad that they grow resentful and hold such a grudge against their ex - spouse, it is hard to move on with their lives. Everyone has some good traits and some bad.
- Don’t blame. It’s easy to make your ex the villain, but in order to be successful in your own life and future relationships, you need to take time to look at your part in the failure of the relationship. Only one person does not hold most marriages together, and they don’t end because of one person either. So, deal with the anger you feel in a constructive way.
- Get support. Sometimes you may need a sounding board or a shoulder to cry on. Don’t shy away from seeking support and validation from friends and relatives. If you feel the need, get into therapy to help you sort through your shifting emotions and the resulting stress.
- Take care of yourself. Riding this roller coaster of emotions is taxing, so make sure you develop good self – care habits during this time.. Get plenty of rest, avoid stress as much as possible, put non-essential things on the back burner for now, and eat a healthy diet. Self-care during and after a divorce is a requirement if you want to maintain your health.
- Spend time doing things you enjoy. Most people say when they went through a divorce, it was on their mind every waking moment of their day. Take some time to do something you enjoy, something that will “recharge your batteries.” This could include spending time with friends or spending quiet time alone with a good book. Let your mind concentrate on something other than the divorce when you are feeling overwhelmed.
- Tell the truth. Be honest with yourself about your feelings. Journaling is very helpful for most people undergoing a major life change. If journaling is not for you, then maybe you need a counselor to help you deal with your emotions. It is helpful to have a professional you can tell your innermost feelings to, and never have to see again, when therapy is completed.
Divorce brings about changes, and you may feel like it’s hard to feel centered. By following these tips, you can cope with these changes in a positive way and be better able to make a new life for yourself.