Something I hear a lot of is women mourning the loss of their partner - sometimes even years later.
They become paralyzed. They still love the ex, and can’t seem to move forward. They look for any reason to contact them, call constantly about issues with the kids, and have little voodoo dolls that look like the ex’s new girlfriend that they stick pins into. (OK, maybe they don’t go that far. But does this sound familiar?)
Let me ask you this: Do you miss the ex, or do you miss the idea of him?
So often, we are mourning the loss of the familiar, rather than the person himself. We mourn the concept of a partner, rather than the person. It’s wonderful to have someone to come home to, someone to share fun times with, someone to help fix the leaky faucet, someone to snuggle with on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Yes, it is. But they’re gone now. That’s the reality.
In light of that reality, let me ask you something else: If you were able to get him to come back, even if he didn’t want to, what would that look like? What would a marriage feel like when one partner doesn’t want to be there?
One big, fat, piece of advice, then. LET HIM GO.
If someone doesn’t want to be with you, let them go. If someone doesn’t love you anymore, it’s because their feelings have changed, not because there’s something wrong with you. Let them go. If someone is having a midlife crisis, and needs to have tons of fun and neglect their responsibilities, then for Pete’s sake, LET THEM GO.
Now we’re faced with the scary task of moving on. Creating a life for yourself that doesn’t have him in it anymore. Now what?
The first thing to do is create a new mindset. Happiness is a by-product - you can’t go searching for it - but it finds you when you’re mindful, grateful, and find positivity in your daily life. When you can’t let go of the ex, you’re living in the past, which is gone. Be grateful for the life you have right now. Find the positives in every situation, no matter how uncomfortable, because surviving those tough days with a positive attitude teaches you valuable life lessons. The problems we all face in life, when we learn to be grateful and positive, are what make us Battle Tested Warrior Queens. Doesn’t that sound a lot better than crushed, overwhelmed, and paralyzed?
The next thing to do is create a new plan. What do you want your life to look like? You are now free to create the reality for yourself that you want - not something you have to negotiate for, or have to adopt someone else’s vision.
If time and money were no object, what would you be doing? Where would you live? What kind of job would you have? This will give you an idea of the direction you want to go in. Take that path.
Yes, I know that there are considerations such as earning a living, and taking care of the kids. Of course we have to take care of our responsibilities! But are you happy with your job? Do you like the neighborhood you’re living in? What activities do you get lost in? What are your talents, your abilities, your interests, your skills? Find ways to accommodate your needs within the structure of those responsibilities.
Instead of pining for the ex, place your focus on you and your children. Start doing the things you love to do. Create a plan to live in the place you love most - and if you can’t live there, visit it as often as you can. Find a career that aligns with your abilities, talents, and interests. Make a task list of what you have to do to create that life for yourself, and schedule them into your days. Stay focused on what’s happening right now, and remember that you have survived a lot in your life.
If the ex wants to leave, let him go - and create the life for yourself that you’ve always dreamed of.
One of the first steps you can take toward letting your ex go is to learn how to deal with tough days in one piece. Grab a free Emotional First Aid Kit that will give you great tools to do it here:
Susan Petang is a Certified Stress Management Coach, author of two books, Stress Management Expert on Divorce by Rose, and member of the National Association of Divorce Professionals. She specializes in helping women get through tough days in one piece so that they can start waking up happy in the morning again. You can reach out to her at SusanatTheQuietZone@gmail.com.