Sometimes all it takes is a small shift in perspective to help you hurt a little less.
When your marriage ends and you start working toward getting divorced, it's not like there's some switch you can flip to stop feeling married or even to unlove your spouse. It's more of a process. And all processes take time to complete. That's why it is so infuriating, humiliating and painful if your spouse starts dating before you're legally divorced, much less before you feel unmarried.
You do have another option. You can learn to put some distance between what they're doing and you. It all starts with changing your thoughts (which, believe it or not, will give you the space you need to allow your feelings to change).
To give you an assist with changing your thoughts, here are some facts for you to consider:
- It's all about them - Yup, their behavior is all about them. It's a reflection of how they see the world, who they want to be and what they want to experience.
As painful as it is to make the shift from thinking about you and your spouse as a couple to being individuals, it's part of moving on from the end of your marriage. It's part of the process and you'll be able to move on too.
- If your spouse decided to end your marriage - Usually the spouse that decides the marriage is over began working through their grief before ever announcing that they want a divorce. Because they've been doing their healing for a while, they may be more ready to date than you are right now (at least from an emotional standpoint).
Just because they're dating doesn't mean that they haven't hurt over the end of your marriage too. It just means that they're further along in their process than you are in yours. (And it doesn't mean that you need to start dating too. Remember their behavior is about them just like yours is about you.
- You're dating, but you're not ready for your spouse to date - Yeah, this can seem a bit hypocritical at first, but it's also pretty normal. Healing from a divorce is a process and it happens in pieces. Even though you might be ready to date, the thought of your spouse being with another person can make your stomach churn because you don't quite feel like your souse should unlove you yet.
The reality is that your discomfort isn't going to prevent your spouse from dating. After all, what's good for the goose is good for the gander!
- Your marriage ended because your spouse cheated with the person they're dating now - Cheating to end a marriage is really a chicken's way out. A spouse will cheat because they don't believe their needs are being met within the marriage. Instead of being willing and able to discuss what's wrong with the marriage, they choose to have an affair to make it "obvious" that the marriage is over and can't be saved.
Feeling furious, betrayed and humiliated as you're watching your spouse date the *@#$&* they cheated with while you're going through the divorce is pretty natural. The key to getting through it is to remember that their behavior is all about them and that your life WILL be much better without them (even if it doesn't always feel that way right now).
Getting more understanding about why your spouse is dating now, before your divorce is final probably won't make you feel immediately better, but it will help you to think a bit differently about the situation and their behavior. Sometimes it's only a small change in perspective that will enable you to get on with healing from your divorce instead of staying stuck in a dead relationship.
Dr. Karen Finn is a divorce coach and advisor helping people who are considering divorce make a smart decision about staying or leaving their marriage. You can join her anonymous newsletter group for free advice or email her at Karen@functionaldivorce.com for a free consultation. Don’t let the worry about divorce ruin your life, help is available as soon as you’re ready.
This article was originally published at Dr Karen Finn's blog. Reprinted with permission from the author.