My divorce, which was unwanted from my side, was finalised over a year ago. My husband and I went through an amicable separation and have worked hard to maintain somewhat of a friendship as we continue to raise two young children together.
This last year has been a journey and I realise that as much as I have pretended that I am adjusting well to my new life, the reality is that I have not fully processed the emotional pain I have felt in losing the man who meant everything to me.
As far as my family and friends are concerned, I am doing just fine. As far as they are aware I am happy and enjoying being single. If I am fully honest, this could not be further from the truth. Recently, I have avoided many opportunities to be with friends or family members because I really struggle with their questions as to whether I am dating anybody new. Particularly now that my ex-husband has a new partner. I met her just this week and I have to say she is very lovely. I am happy for my ex, but it really hurts seeing him with somebody new. I feel so ridiculous to still feel such love for somebody I divorced over a year ago!
Where do I go from here? How do I move on?
Thank you, Niyati
Getting over an unwanted divorce is not an easy task. It reads as though you have focused hard to maintain your working life and to ensure stability for your young children. It also seems as though you are going out of your way to ensure the amicable relationship you now share with your husband is sustained.
Whilst of course it is important that you prioritise your children’s welfare at the moment and support them through their period of adjustment, you must not forget to take care of yourself and your emotional needs, which by the sounds of it are somewhat neglected.
It is in no way ridiculous that you still love your ex-husband. Part of you will always love him, after all, he is the father of your children and someone that you are in contact with on a regular basis. It is also completely understandable that you do not feel ready to enter the dating world. What matters right now is allowing yourself some space to mourn the relationship that you have lost. In acknowledging the depth of your feelings, you will pave a way forwards for what happens next.
It is important that you accept the change in connection that you and your ex-husband now share. He is no longer yours nor you his. Accept it and allow yourself to feel the pain of that. You have been masking this pain and the hurt you feel, to not only your family members and friends, but to yourself. It will not help you in the long run.
Part of accepting your new life is about making peace with your past. Is there anything you feel guilty about? Is there any part of you that feels responsible for the breakdown of the marriage? Are you angry about what has happened? As much as you are happy for your ex-husband, do you still carry anger towards him? This again, is a complex task as it requires you to forgive your ex-husband, but more crucially, to forgive yourself. When we feel like we have failed, we blame ourselves and internalise negative emotions such as guilt or shame. This could well be what is holding you back and it may help to access counselling to support you through this process of healing.
Coming to terms with the reality of your life as it now stands can be wonderfully cathartic. You deserve to lead the best life you possibly can. You deserve to feel strong and empowered, not only as a mother but for yourself. Take some time to consider what it is that you want out of life moving forwards. Feel the pressure to start dating and to find another man melt away. When you are ready for all of that then you will know it. For now, focus on yourself and ensuring you are taking care of your own needs.
Your divorce, although unwanted, has presented you with a new opportunity to start again. I suspect in time that you will reflect on this period of your life and be so thankful for it.
Be patient with yourself Niyati. You will get there.
Wishing you every happiness,
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