The biggest obstacle to “starting over” after divorce is the continued attachment to it. This can take many forms, including continued thoughts, words, or actions that keep us emotionally tied to our divorce or ex in such a way that we really cannot move on.
When we choose to live in the past we are essentially poisoning our future. We are compromising our own well being by focusing our valuable time, energy and resources on what was, or even worse, what is going on in the life of our ex. Taken to an extreme, we end up living a life that we believe is not based on our personal choices, but one that is a consequence of our divorce.
This is not to say that there is no consequence to divorce, or that divorce does not change us, or the life that we had or hoped to have; it does. While divorce may change us, it does not define us, and the easiest way to move forward is to detach from that which holds us back.
“Divorce Detachment Deficit Syndrome” is obviously not in any mental health manual or intended to be a “diagnosis” of course. But, go ahead and ask yourself whether you or anyone you know does any of the following:
1. Do you believe your divorce “ruined” your life?
2. Do you give your ex dirty looks, slam the door, or mutter under your breath when you see him?
3. Do you tell your friends, family or even strangers what a terrible ex you have?
4. Do you “google” your ex or check “facebook” to see what your ex is up to?
5. Do you spend even one minute of your day wondering what your ex is thinking or doing?
If you are capable of cultivating negative beliefs that about your past or present situation that relate to your divorce, you are certainly capable of creating new and different beliefs. Yes, it may be true that your divorce “ruined” your old life and has made your new life difficult, and seemingly impossible, but the very fact that you are reading this article is evidence that you know, or at the very least suspect that your own thoughts are holding you back.
When I see a client, or even my client’s spouse give the other a dirty look or get visibly agitated and lose control I used to think to myself “Oh don’t…don’t give him that power.” Now I come right out and say it. When you show your resentment it only gives your ex the validation he craves.
I say it over and over, “Divorced is WHAT you are, not WHO you are.” Your dreams are a much more interesting topic than your ex and your divorce. People love talking about their divorces but connect the listeners to a lie detector and you will quickly learn that they hate hearing about it.
As for Google and Facebook, I guarantee that if they sent notifications to the “ex” every time you checked him out, you would immediately stop.
Finally, even one minute spent wondering what your ex is up to is a second not only wasted, but forever lost.
Now ask yourself whether doing any of the above is helping you (or anyone else) in any way. My guess is that it is not. I guarantee that if we spend as much time focusing on ourselves and the life we want to have as we do focusing on the life we had or the life he has now, that we will not only get closer to what we want, but feel a lot better.