Yes, I understand you’re unhappy about the way your relationship ended.
Separation sucks – your kids don’t live with both their parents any more, running two households is tough financially, getting ditched hurts …
Maybe you’re bitter about it. Maybe you’re angry. Maybe you’re vengeful.
Maybe you’re all three.
But waking up every morning filled with bile is not going to help you heal.
And that’s what you should really be doing right now – healing. You can’t do that if you’re trapped in the past and the negative cyclone of emotions that come with it.
Here’s a little free – unwanted – advice from me on the best ways to move on …
1. Move on
Yep, the number one way to move on is by MOVING ON.
Not with unseemly haste. It’s natural to mourn the death of your relationship. I cried for months. I wailed and railed to friends, family, random charity door knockers and a therapist about how terrible unfair it was.
But then a spark of happiness ignited. As I noted in a blog post last week revealing my scariest confession:
I felt something shift inside me. The worst thing in the world had happened, but I’d survived. I began to feel lighter, more positive, engaged.
I began to realise how miserable I’d been in the marriage and how relieved I was to be out of it.
I didn’t want to stay in the family home with it’s memories and empty rooms. So, less than five months after my husband left, I sold it. A few months later I put a deposit down on a modest place on a busy road.
It’s not my dream house, but it’s mine. And it’s got a lovely, warm vibe to it.
It would be so easily to be furious about everything I’ve lost and the way I’ve been trapped by circumstance. I worked long and hard to build the comfortable life my ex stripped away.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this!
No, it’s not fair. But what’s the point in dwelling on it?
Life is short – I’ve decided to get on with living.
I might not have the perfect home in the perfect location right now, but one day – after I get the kids through school – I will.
2. Don’t embroil yourself in endless angry phone conversations/texts/arguments with your ex
When we first broke up, I bombarded my ex with emailed links to articles on how he’d made a mistake leaving, how he’d never find true happiness on the path he’d taken, how he was a narcissistic bastard …
I’d call him and beg him to try counselling again.
(I’m a bit embarrassed about that now … where was my pride?)
He got really angry because he’d finally found the courage to end our relationship. Making that awful decision had tortured him for years. He was DONE.
He hurt me very badly with some of the things he said – it’s easy to be callous when you’re two years further down the emotional track than your ex.
It took me a while, but realised I wasn’t going to heal if I kept engaging in such damaging dialogue.
I can’t imagine sending him those texts and emails any more.
These days we just message each other about the kids. They are very friendly, positive exchanges. We haven’t uttered an unpleasant word to each other in over a year.
It’s so much nicer that way.
3. Love your kids more than you hate your ex
Actually, don’t hate your ex at all.
I can understand hating him if he was abusive … but even then I’m not sure hate ever does the hater any good.
Yes, part of me is still pissed off at my ex. It was pretty crap what he did.
But I don’t hate him. He’s the father of my children – he held my hand when they were born. They love him. He loves them. That’s a positive relationship I’d never want to spoil.
My kids are happy and well-adjusted because their parents get along. That’s way more important than screwing over my ex.
4. Get back on the horse
It’s important not to jump too quickly into a new relationship.
Everyone heals at their own pace. Only you know when you’re ready.
Dating on the rebound leaves you wide open to more heartache.
But at the same time I think it’s good to be reminded that not all members of the opposite sex are like your ex.
New relationships can be wonderful and fulfilling.
As for your kids and how they’ll cope … just make sure they feel secure in the relationship they have with you.
But, ultimately, I think you’re a better parent when you’re in a happy place.
I was pretty down on myself in those first six months after my marriage ended. After spending half my life – 23 years – with one partner I felt completely unloveable.
Meeting someone who really liked me and thought I was funny and smart helped my recovery process on so many levels.
5. Get a job
I quit my job a few weeks prior to separating from my husband, so I could (ironically) focus on being a stay-at-home mum/wife. Our mortgage was super-low, my husband had just inherited some money and I wanted to spend some quality time with my family.
We were finally at a point in our lives where we had enough financial breathing space to do it.
Then – boom – we had to pay for two households and, while my ex said he’d support me for as long as I needed, I didn’t want to be beholden to him.
I’ve always prided myself on being self-sufficient – I wanted to earn my own money and pay my own bills.
I wasn’t thrilled to be giving up my newly minted stay-at-home mum status so soon, but I was a realist.
I knew life would be easier with a wage, plus it would help restore my self-esteem and take my mind off my problems.
The juggle is tough, but it’s worth it.
The bottom line: choose happiness. You won’t regret it.
Song of the day: Carole King “It’s too late”