[D]ivorces are painful for everyone. Did you know that in the popular mindset, when a couple with kids goes through a divorce, the majority of people assume that it is the dad’s fault? Why would they even think, without knowing anything of the situation, that it has to be your fault? Call it bias, discrimination, or social misinformation, but ultimately, if you’re in the process of separating from your partner, it’s something you will have to face. As if the whole process were not hurtful enough, you are also under fire for the situation.
Needless to say, it takes time to set the record right. It doesn’t it’s impossible, but be warned: There will be a lot of obstacles on your path. But if you value your sanity and your happiness, you need to work as soon as possible on processing the situation and managing your post-divorce life. Ultimately, some people will put the blame on you, and that includes your ex-spouse. But moving on with your life is all about dealing with the anger, the bitterness, the rage, and the pain. Should you forgive and forget, as the saying goes?
Forgive and Forget – It Takes Time to Reconnect with your Feelings
A divorce is a roller coaster of emotions. Pain is only the tip of the iceberg, and if you are to make the most of your divorcee life, you need to dig into those issues as soon as possible. Granted, it’s not going to be easy. But that’s precisely why there are hundreds of qualified therapists who understand the blurry feelings behind your pain. If you have never seen a therapist before, opening up about your emotions can be tricky. Can you put in words the agitation that runs through your veins? Not at first. At first, it’s confusing because you’re experiencing a lot of feelings at the same time. Anger, solitude, helplessness, and trust issues are pillars of your pain. Unless you learn to understand them, you will not be able to get rid of them and move forward.
The Reality Check: You’ve Got Rights Too
The journey through your emotions can be long. It can begin as soon as the prospect of divorce enters discussions. It would be unfair to expect from yourself to deal with the complex processes of the separation and explore your feelings at the same time. If you want to be in a position to forgive and maybe forget, you need to focus on finding the best possible arrangement with your divorce lawyer. There is no way you can accept an agreement that doesn’t value your rights as an individual and a parent. That’s where your lawyer is vital to your ability to move forward. If you go through the process unprotected and without any professional representation, it’s fair to say that your future is in the hands of your ex-spouse. Do you think they will pick a solution that works for you? Nope. They will only increase your bitterness and anger., making it more difficult to forgive them.
Parental Alienation is a Real B*tch
After a divorce, your relationship with your children can be dramatically affected. For starters, you don’t get to see each other every day if you’ve agreed on shared custody. And even if you get to keep your children and receive full custody, you will have to deal with the potential damages that your spouse has made. You’d be surprised to know that many parents try to cause a rift between their children and the other parent during a divorce. In the eye of the law, the behavior is caused by parental alienation, and it can make it incredibly hard to rebuild your relationship. It’s not impossible, but parents who have experienced alienation know that it is a long and painful journey to reestablish contact. You will face rejection and anger from your child as a result of being brainwashed by their other parent. But don’t give up; you can take legal actions if you believe that your efforts to stay in touch are intentionally intercepted and interfered with. More importantly, while it’s difficult to forgive your ex-partner, you have to understand that you can’t use your anger to manipulate your child away from them.
Forgive and Forget – When You Realize that Anger is the Only Feeling
Getting divorced is difficult, especially when your former spouse is keen to make things as hard as possible for you. There will be days when you’ll find yourself hoping something horrible would happen to them. There will be moments when there will be no word to express your emotions; moments when only shouting will do. In short, you will be angry, and it’s natural. But as angry as you are, don’t let it consume you. Anger is a toxic emotion that creates destruction when you can’t let go of it. Ultimately, anger can cause you to blow into the most extreme behaviors without being able to stop yourself. It’s dangerous, for you and the people close to you. But, what is even worse is that it forces you to stay unhappy and on edge. Repressed, it leads to illnesses. There is no way out; you have to learn to stop being angry and yet, it means, forgive your spouse.
Don’t Let Your Ex Isolate You
Did you know that the friends you had before a divorce may not be the same friends at the end of the journey? Indeed, your divorce can cost you a lot of friends you thought you could rely on and trust.? Firstly, you have to understand that for some couples, it can feel awkward to stay in touch with people who have broken up. While it’s nothing personal, it can be painful to realize that you can’t count them in your life anymore. Perhaps your situation makes them feel vulnerable too; nobody wants to be reminded that their relationship could end. Some friends might have chosen a side, and it wasn’t yours. That’s tough when it happens. You trusted them, and they didn’t even think twice about removing you from their lives. The truth is, people pick sides most of the time. Your ex could have influenced their decision, but in the end, if they don’t stand by you, perhaps they were the good friends you thought they were. However, you can’t just hang onto the memory of the past. Nothing is stopping you from making new friends or getting to know your co-workers better – and finding understanding in them.
Your Lifestyle is Never Going to be the Same
Everything you had, you’ve had to share it and divide it through the divorce. You know how it goes. Maybe she got the sofa, and you got the coffee table. Regardless of how the division happens – if it happens –, you can’t compare your post-divorce lifestyle to what it used to be. In the best of cases, you’ve had to get rid of some of your belongings. In the worst cases, your spouse ended up keeping most of it. It sucks. But you need to let go. You can’t rebuild your life if you stay focused on what you used to have.
Is it Worth Establishing a Neutral Relationship with your Ex?
For many couples, the idea of building a neutral relationship with their Ex is both terrifying and ridiculous. You’ve just managed to get divorced; the last thing you want is to welcome that person back into your life. Fair enough, but when there are children involved, you need to remain reasonable. Keeping things neutral and respectful will not only help your children deal with the situation, but it can also help you to handle your negative emotions. Making peace with your Ex brings as much good to you as it does to your kids. It isn’t always an option as sometimes the other parent isn’t able to move on.
Forgiving is Key, but Forgetting is Unnecessary
The bottom line is that there are plenty of excellent reasons why you should forgive. It takes a lot of strength to reach a state of mental and emotional awareness where you can forgive your ex-partner for the pain they’ve inflicted. But ultimately holding on resentment isn’t the key to making the most of your post-divorce life. However, the saying forgive and forget isn’t completely accurate. Forgive yes, always, because you can’t afford to let hatred consume you. But there is no need to forget. You want to be warned next time a similar situation arises. Every experience is a lesson, and if you forget you are missing out on an opportunity for self-growth.
In conclusion, forgiving is as much a journey as it is to build a relationship. The relationship you build when you forgive is one with yourself. You learn to let go of your anger and focus on creating positive emotions. But more importantly, you learn what it takes to become a better parent, a parent who understands that they can’t poison their children with their hatred. Because, whether or not you still like your Ex, you love your kids, and the last thing you want is to let your negative emotions get between you.
Contributed post. Feature image via Picryl.