Divorce can be tough, okay down right difficult, especially if you were not the initiator of a divorce.
Divorce changes your life forever, you are faced with co-parenting responsibilities, if you share children, financial, social and emotional turbulence. So much so, that sometimes people stay in marriages rather than face a divorce!
A divorce has often been compared to the grief one experiences when a loved one dies. The only difference is that your former partner exists …just not with you.
It is difficult, and you will have a period of grieving, uncertainty about life and your future and where do you go next, it is indeed a process, and one that is too often underestimated. The good news is somewhere along you can begin to think about creating a life that you want even after divorce and still create an awesome, or rather better than before divorce life.
The challenge is so many get stuck in the experience of the divorce and never live again but go about life existing. How do I know this? Because I existed for many years after my divorce.
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Here are five signs that may indicate you are existing in life after your divorce.
Locked in the past
Divorce is painful. There is no way around this, it affects all parties directly and indirectly involved. It takes time, and if you are facing a divorce, I encourage you to take the time needed to heal.
There is no set time for healing the wounds, the cause of divorce will play a major role in determine the length in part, along with personality, social, emotional and economic support to name a few.
The point is we are all different and respond to experiences differently. The challenge is when many, many years down the road, one can see life only in the rearview mirror.
I was like that after my divorce, I spent many years looking through the rearview mirror of “what if’s”. I saw life as having passed by and no longer available to do and grow.
If you constantly see yourself, as not being able to get up and achieve and grow as an individual many years after your divorce, it could be that you are locked in the past. I urge you to determine new goals, new directions and step out. There will always be some hurt that remains after a divorce. However, don’t allow your life to stop forever.
Blaming Your Ex-Spouse
This is all too common, ten years, fifteen years later, you blame your ex for the job you are in, you blame your ex, because you are not making the income or living the life you want, you blame your ex, even if possible for your very existence!
Of course your ex-spouse would have done things that led to the divorce. Here is the difficult aspect that most divorced persons can’t accept. You also would have played a role in your divorce, whether actively or passively.
It could be that you saw certain qualities that may have eventually down the road cause problems and you ignored based on the fairytale fantasy of happily ever after or it could be that your dreams or desires intimidated your then spouse and as such control was exercised to ensure that you stayed in place and you knowingly or unknowingly allowed it.
The point is, when two people reach a place of disagreement and unable to resolve, each party has to accept responsibility. Blaming your ex, will only keep you locked in a place of anger, unforgiveness and bitterness to name a few. Leading to health problems and the host of other issues such will give rise to.
Rather than blame your ex, learn what you would do differently in a new relationship. Learn where you went wrong and as difficult as it may be to do forgive your ex. Quite often in private practice when I introduce the topic of forgiveness, persons get agitated and indicate that is impossible to do. Forgiveness is not for your ex-spouse, forgiveness is for you, as it releases you from the prison you have placed yourself in.
Blaming your ex-spouse forever will do nothing to erase the hurt. So instead, learn, forgive, grow and move on.
There is no interest in personal development
Another sign that you may be existing after your divorce is if all interest in doing anything for your personal and professional development is nonexistent.
I understand and have been there, it takes a while to start to believe again, to create new goals, interest . However, twenty to thirty years later, if talents you have that no longer interest you and you are just going by from the day to day, chances are you are now existing.
Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying, if you are the parent with whom the children from the marriage reside, the challenges of pursuing new endeavors, could be overwhelming and even daunting and time can be even more limited. Yet you have to do it for you…. even when it is difficult. If you don’t you will exist with regret about not reaching your full potential and blaming your ex will do nothing to ease the sense of unfulfillment you experience. Will it be easy? No, but will it be worth it? Yes.
What better experience to share with others, than how you got through the tough times and inspire others to not give up, even and especially when it is tough!!
No future plans
I get you, I get that your plans were your marriage, your family and all this, gone, I get you.
You may say what is the point.
You had pictured your life progressing in such a way that you would be planning yearly family vacations, and all the things a family will do together.
Here you find yourself alone, or with the responsibility of children and unsure as to what to do next.
It is difficult, but as time passes, push yourself to set one goal for your future. Why? Because you owe it to yourself, more than your children, family and anyone else.
Let not your life be only defined as married and divorced, there is so much more to you than that. So get up, start dreaming, start believing and though life is uncertain and would always be to a point, begin to think and plan for a life post-divorce. You owe that much to yourself.
Waiting for someone to make you happy
More so than others a true sense of just exisiting comes to forefront as a divorce person waits for a new partner to come along to make them happy.
Sadly, on many occasions even after starting a new relationship, you may become painfully aware that it is not making you as happy as you had hoped, and the period of waiting may have been wasted. The reality may finally begin to creep in that only you can truly make yourself happy and while others can contribute to your sense of well-being. The true worth of find happiness rest solely as your responsibility.
So many persons get divorce and wait on another person and just exist from day to day. Only to realize that the person may have quite similar traits to your ex-spouse !! and while willing to go through the various phases of a relationship with you…can’t make you truly happy!
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Here’s the take away from all this.
Divorce is difficult and takes time to heal, the time varies from person to person. However, some tell-tale signs that you have stopped living your life, but now existing, is by being locked in the past relationship that has ended in divorce, blaming your ex-spouse for things that continue to go wrong, long after the divorce. Having no interest in your personal development. Making no future plans in your life and waiting for someone new to make you happy.
If you find yourself doing this, or any similar signs, get up, get moving, because as tough as it may be, the responsibility for creating a life after divorce, lies primarily with you.
Why should you do anything? Because contrary to what you may think, your best life could be ahead of you and not in the past!!
The only way to know, is to begin to live again.
It would be tough initially but as you step out and step into knowing and rediscovering you, you may find yourself, truly being grateful for who you have become and not just exist, but truly live!!
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
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