Divorce can hit you like a hurricane you never knew was coming. The storm roars with fear, doubt, confusion, anger, rejection and sadness. Maybe you initiated the separation or maybe your ex did. Regardless, divorce feels like a drastic last step off a cliff into the unknown. And the scariest question of all is: what's next? The idea of an unscripted future brings out your worst fears. With all these negative emotions, it is difficult to envision what a new life will look like.
The steps to get there just don't exist yet. Without even realizing it, you've let your fear and anger distract you from your path forward and it's kept you stuck in all the negative emotions you are trying to avoid! The door to your marriage has closed, so why are you still looking at it? And how can you open a new door? You can start by avoiding these common distractions:
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Distraction #1: Was It Me?
I see so many people stuck in the "Was it me?" syndrome. I have an easy answer for that: yes, it was you — and it was also your ex. Two people create a relationship and each contribute to that dynamic in their own way. I'm sure there were faults and missteps, as much as there was love from each of you. There often isn't one particular reason why it all went wrong. It just did. And yet, you are often fixated on finding that one logical thing that would have changed it all. The past is gone, and your version of the past is just a story. How is it serving you to analyze that story again and again now? It isn't. It is actually keeping you from moving forward. Let it go.
Distraction #2: He Cheated On Me!
The sting of betrayal cuts deep. The person you loved and trusted the most broke your vows. There is rage and hurt here, and, unfortunately, self-doubt. Know that your ex made a conscious decision to cheat. Know that there was nothing you were BEING or DOING that made that decision for him. It is a sign that something was deeply wrong in the relationship. And as we discussed in Distraction #1, it takes two people to make (and break) a relationship. Your anger is justified, but your self-doubt is not. Don't internalize his issues or let your anger distract you from what is most important: YOU. Let it go, or you will be sacrificing precious time and energy on a no-win situation.
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Distraction #3: My Ex's Life Is Better Than Mine.
Again and again, I hear about the ex and what is happening in HIS life. Outside of your co-parenting plan, why is his life relevant to you at all anymore? Divorce is not a competition. There are no winners here. And the idea that the grass is greener on your ex's lawn is just that — an idea in your head. Spending all of this time and energy obsessing about what your ex is doing or thinking is really a form of flattery. Do you really want to give him that kind of time and energy? Remember, stalkers are just fans gone bad — and while you were your ex's biggest fan in the past, you don't need to be his stalker now. It's a sign that you haven't let go yet. I suspect that putting the spotlight on your ex keeps it off of you, and all of the responsibilities and decisions that are now yours alone. Accept that you are up to the task and let it go. Keep reading...
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