A run has never returned me exactly the same. I go, I grow. Kristin Armstrong
This quote was my inspiration for revising my thinking about before and after. “Before,” as in before one of the partners goes, and “after,” as in after they go, or post-divorce. The “before” is often a rose-colored view of the way we were. It’s like when someone with whom you had a terribly conflicted relationship dies, and you remember only the good times. It’s nice, but unrealistic. I’m not suggesting you dwell on the “before” negatives. But when it comes to post-divorce, I hear a lot of negatives about the “after.”
Making “after” a growth experience is the tricky part post-divorce. After a run it’s easy. You are more energized, calm, centered, de-stressed, confident or happy. Consider how this can be the case after they go.
My suggestions are:
• Identify one thing that’s better now, like having the whole bed to yourself or being criticized less often.
• Name something you can do now that you couldn’t do before, like spend more time with your best friend.
• What’s one thing you can do now without having to consult with anyone (e.g., deciding what to have for dinner, which movie to watch, where to go on vacation)?
• How are you more self-reliant than you were before (e.g., you too can figure out how to change a fluorescent fixture and get a bat out of your garage)?
• How are you better than you were before? Maybe you’re less worried and anxious and more fun to be around.
It’s true; before and after are very different, and not always in a good way. See if you can identify the positive changes you’ve already made. Think about the changes you’d like to make right now. And remember, after they go, you grow.