Every engaged couple and newly married couple looks forward, with great anticipation, to a honeymoon together. The concept of a “honeymoon” has ancient origins, including abduction, rape, consumption of a honey and mead beverage (believed to boost the libido and fertility), and became associated with phases of the moon that mimic the evolution of a married relationship.
Kind of makes you wonder how this became a “thing”!
For modern newlyweds, a honeymoon is often a romantic trip away together to bond as husband and wife. Many firsts may occur during the honeymoon and their time as newlyweds including sex, establishing a first home, basking in the glow of married life, and even first disagreements.
Anyone who has been married knows that this period of time includes huge adjustments from life as a single person to becoming a married couple. Suddenly everything is shared from money, space, time, and even an identity!
No surprise, then, that a similar adjustment period is necessary to untwine from a marriage during divorce! All the routines involving daily life, major decisions, and everything collected during years of marriage take on new meaning. Many divorced people find themselves feeling lost without their former structure and partner, even if they eventually desired the divorce.
This is where so many boundary issues are born, as well.
Not long ago, you may have called or texted your spouse a dozen times per day, inserted yourself in every aspect of their schedule, finances, friendships, health, and other issues, only to now be locked out and unwelcome in these areas. Similarly, your former spouse who once thought nothing of offering advice or criticism without second thought, relied on you to help solve problems and to fulfill every need is persona non grata in your life!
I think that most of us are actually quite terrible at being an ex, or even a co-parent, for as much as a year or more after a break-up. We are suddenly on foreign soil, not yet sure of what we will make of our own life, let alone how, if at all, we still fit into our ex’s life!
Perhaps we can call this time an “antimoon!”
Post-divorce is certainly no bed of roses complete with champagne, pillow talk, and moonlight, as a honeymoon is known for!
On the contrary, post-divorce can seem very chaotic and volatile, Break-up emotions are at their peak, and life as anyone knows it is now upside down!
Life typically returns back to a new state of normal after several months. In some ways it will never ever be the same; but, not always necessarily for the worse. You keep plodding away putting the pieces of your life back together while your ex does the same. Sometimes we have to arrange and rearrange the pieces a few times before they come together to our satisfaction.
I wouldn’t expect that both you and your ex will reassemble all of those broken pieces to look just like they used to be, only in two separate homes. This is a time for assessing what each of you liked or disliked about how things were during the marriage, and an opportunity to reinvent some or all aspects of life, as desired.
You may not agree with or understand why your ex chooses to live in new and different ways since you parted. It’s no longer your place to have a say about how they operate. This is one of those new boundaries you will have to become accustomed to. It isn’t natural, or habit, to butt out of that particular person’s affairs, especially if the children you share are in the middle; but, each of you lost the right to be involved in that capacity.
You may have to construct a wall around your new life to prevent unwanted involvement from your ex, and this may be the only way that you can re-establish peace and your identity as an individual. These new barriers aren’t often met with appreciation because they are foreign and not yet understood.
You have a right to maintain your wall and control the flow of what goes in or out. You have a right to say “no,” to tell your ex to back off, and to live your new independent life as you choose!
The longer you allow your ex to remain involved in the details of your life, permit them to control you, or invite them into your business, the longer you can expect your “antimoon” to last!
Problems arise when one or both of you try to operate, on some level, like business as usual, and instead of one ex putting a stop to it, they let it continue for fear of rocking the boat. Then, it becomes tremendously harder to ever get unwanted intrusions to stop.
“You did it before, why can’t you do it again?”
“That’s not how you used to do it!”
Well, guess what? Nothing is like it used to be, and will never be again!
Unfortunately, bringing the antimoon era to an end is not as simple as ripping off the bandage to make it stop. If only both you and your ex knew exactly how you would want life to be upon leaving your divorce hearing, this might be possible. It takes time, though, to regain our footing as a single; so, time, is what the doctor ordered for both exes to heal, re-build, and get on with life!
Allow yourself, and your ex the time you each need to transition from one phase of your life into the next. It’s not an easy task for anyone; but, the rewards are there along the way!
Do yourself a favor and start to implement some lines to define where your ex does and does not belong in your life anymore. When you command this respect, in a reasonable way, then stick to your guns when the changes are challenged, you will win one small victory after another toward establishing your life and control of it!
Cheers to your antimoon!