No matter how civil the two of you are, no matter how good of friends you are, or how supportive you are. No matter the lack of shared assets you may have or the separate bank accounts — separating is never a clean process. There’s a thing called emotions that will linger between the two of you. You’re either too emotional, or too emotionless. You either move on quickly, or not quickly enough. There are so many feelings that resurface, and you can’t control for them all. In all honesty, is it fair to ask for a clean break after all you’ve shared?
So you separated — maybe you already filed for divorce, maybe you’re going to ride it out for a while. You may ask yourself, or question your spouse’s intentions on the art of moving on. And let me just tell you – there. is. no. right. answer. Each one of us are different and we are all going to react to our spouse’s choices differently. You move on when you’re ready. You flirt, put in effort, casually date, or whatever the case may be, at your own pace. There is no golden rule. Now, would I suggest moving on the very next day, or week, or even month? Maybe not. But here’s the funny part: the choice is yours.
There is a sort of grieving you go through, whether you want to or not. This grieving can be quick and slip by unnoticed, or it can be long and painful. Sometimes these feelings linger, and you still grieve even in future relationships. When faced with ending another relationship, these feelings can resurface. Another friend lost. Another connection no longer there. Another failure. All of this reminding you of the marriage you used to have, and what you had lost. But you have to accept this will happen, and learn how to cope. You can’t compare new relationships, no matter what direction they are heading, to your prior marriage.
Sometimes it’s okay to admit that you don’t want to be a failure. You don’t want to be judged or known as the “divorcee” or “ex-wife (or husband).” These labels are scary. They are embarrassing. I cannot honestly tell you how many people out there are okay with “failure.” A marriage that ends, no matter how clean it was, will always be clouded by the negative stigma of divorce and the unwelcome opinions of others. But guess what, you aren’t another statistic. Unhappiness in marriage is not uncommon – and neither is divorce.
This may vary for some, but you start to blame yourself for your failed marriage and every failed relationship afterwards. You start convincing yourself that it’s your fault – there’s something wrong with you. But this is the biggest bullshit excuse out there. It is not your fault. So stop being so selfish by putting the blame on yourself. Yeah, you are being selfish. Stop internalizing excuses, feelings, thoughts, and any negative experience or comment that arises from your marriage and any future relationships. You can’t stop things from not working out, but you need to stop blaming yourself. Things happen. Don’t let it affect future relationships, because it will always be a two-way road.
There was a reason you got married, and no matter how much you deny it — you care. But at the same time, once you are divorced you have no obligation to care anymore. But let’s be real. The relationship you had with your partner has left a lasting impression on your soul. When they are in trouble, or unhappy, or somehow struggling – you can’t help but to care. This is natural. If you didn’t still care about their well-being, health, and happiness… what type of person would that make you? Accept the fact that you might care — and then embrace this truth: there are no expectations here. You can choose to care, you can choose to help them, but you don’t need to. It’s no longer your obligation. Embrace this, because it doesn’t make you any less of a person.
Maybe you separated yourself, your financials and assets, may even your kids. But do you know what’s hard to separate? The relationships you’ve made in the span of your marriage. It’s going to be awkward. You’re going to lose people you once thought were close to you. You’re going to feel lonely. Not only did you lose your spouse, but the circle of friends and support you may have previous had. This sucks. No one will tell you who will be there for you when it’s all said and done. But you have to accept this. This is something that would happen, regardless. And maybe it’s okay to be lonely for a bit and focus on yourself. Maybe you need to extract yourself from the comfortable, and learn to find comfort in the uncomfortable. Because you know what no one ever tells you? It’s okay to be lonely.
Eventually that “divorced” label will fade away — or maybe you’ll choose to wear it proudly.
But guess what? That’s your choice. Choosing your own happiness is also your choice – and sometimes you have to embrace the uncomfortable to live more comfortably.