Divorce, at its best, brings out the crazy in all of us. An unwanted divorce will drive some people to the brink of insanity. If you’ve invested decades of your life, raised children with and loved, unconditionally someone who walks away from the marriage, the pain is indescribable.
And, pain causes people to behave in ways that aren’t productive for them and anyone involved with them. Below are suggestions for what not to do if you’ve been on the receiving end of an unwanted divorce. My fervent desire is that anyone who needs this advice is able to move forward in life with their head held high, their dignity intact and their heart on the mend.
7 Thinks You Should NEVER Do After An Unwanted Divorce
1. Do not call your ex:
The sound of your voice isn’t going to make your ex want to come home. Especially if you are dialing and texting them several times a day. Your ex wanted a divorce, give them what they wanted, no contact with you unless absolutely necessary.
Keep these two things in mind. Distance truly does make the heart grow fonder so, if putting your marriage back together is your desire, that is more likely to happen if you put distance between yourself and your ex.
And, if they don’t come back you will never have to look back and shudder at how blatantly you threw yourself at someone who no longer wanted you. If your marriage isn’t restored you will survive with your pride intact.
The only time you should call or text your ex is if you have minor children and then it should only concern child-related issues.
2. Do not talk constantly to friends and family about your ex.
The less you talk about your ex, the less you will think about your ex. Yes, emotional pain is easier to process if it’s talked about but not with everyone willing to stop long enough to listen. Have a good therapist and a close friend to vent to and leave everyone else out of your divorce and feelings about your ex.
This may be hard to believe but, you are not the only one to experience an unwanted divorce. Your story, as much as you wish to believe, is not unique. It is your story and you have a right to feel your pain and confusion but, bending the ear of everyone isn’t going to lessen your pain and confusion. It’s only going to alienate people you need in your life to distract you from the pain and confusion. Put a lock on it!
3. Do not overanalyze what went wrong or, what you could have done differently.
It is your job to identify and learn from the mistakes YOU made during the marriage. Take advantage and learn the lessons you need to learn from the divorce. After you’ve done that, and that shouldn’t take long, put it in the past. It’s done and over with, no amount of analyzing is going to change what happened. Over-analyzing will keep you stuck and unable to move on and nothing is less attractive than someone who is still wallowing in self-pity five years after a divorce is final.
4. Do not try to keep tabs on your ex.
Unless you share children and your ex is endangering their lives what they do and don’t do now that you two are divorced is none of your business. He took up with an eighteen-year-old? That is his problem, not yours.
Your ex is your past, what they do with their life no longer concerns you. They deserve to be happy and so do you. You can’t be happy if you spend all your time keeping tabs on them. They are moving on, let it go and do the same. Hard, I know but possible if you allow it to happen.
5. Do not cry at the bank or any other public place.
I did that, I cried inside the bank while depositing a check. I cried so hard that the bank teller took me into the bathroom and told me I’d be OK. She said, “Honey, one day he will just be some man you used to know.” And, she was right, he is now someone I rarely give a thought to.
Having someone walk away from you is heart crushing and it’s understandable that the tears, hell the sobs, will come and come often. When they left they didn’t take your pride and dignity with them so, sob in the privacy of your home or therapist’s office. When in public keep your head held high and don’t let anyone see you sweat that loss.
6. Do not hurt them just because they hurt you.
Seriously! Two wrongs NEVER make a right. You have a choice, get even or get over it. Take the high road and don’t strike back, not doing so will show anyone watching that you are the bigger person. And, if you were left by a cheater or an abuser, the bigger person is a label you want to be able to wear.
7. Do not be too quick to forgive:
I’m not promoting that you hold a grudge, I’m suggesting your protect yourself from further pain by refusing to forgive someone before you know they’ve changed. If your ex begs forgiveness and wants to come home don’t be too quick to welcome them back.
They’ve hurt you terribly, don’t welcome them back with outstretched arms until you are certain they are fully on board with restoring the marriage. Many of us spend too much time planting flowers in the yards of people who aren’t going to water them. You can’t be the only one working on the relationship if that relationship is going to survive.
If they’ve realized their mistake don’t jump back in with your trust and faith until you’ve seen changes in the trait that allowed them to walk away in the first place.
Your plans for the future, your dreams and hopes have been dashed by the desire of one person to get a divorce. You now have to start over, figure out what you plan B is and drag yourself up from the ashes of the marriage you had. It’s possible to do but only if you are willing to take the high road and give the ex exactly what they wanted…a life without you.