Being sad doesn't mean you want him back.
You know what I missed the most after my divorce? Someone to eat dinner with. I dreaded dinnertime each day because it was so friggin' lonely!
Don’t get me wrong, there was zero part of me that wanted my ex back. (Hell no!) But, I did love having a partner for dinner every night. We had our favorite things to cook, our favorite restaurants to visit … and none of that felt the same on my own. I ended up eating a lot of take-out over the kitchen sink in those early days.
When you're in the middle of a divorce, there is so much happening at once you can’t really slow down long enough to reflect on the more subtle things that change. But, after the dust settles and he’s living across town, it starts to hit you. You aren’t really settled into your new single life yet, but you also aren’t married anymore. There’s this weird period of time where you find yourself a little lonely and missing seemingly strange, small things.
For example, you might miss:
1. Having someone to attend events with.
Family wedding in Ohio? Bar mitzvah in Brooklyn? It’s a no brainer, of course your husband will go with you … oh, wait.
2. Someone to warm the bed up.
It was nice to curl into a warm body on a winter night, wasn’t it? Now, the bed feels so big and empty (sad face).
3. Hanging out with other couples.
Things never feel the same with your other couple friends after you two split up. Either you feel like the third wheel when you hang out, or they stop calling you altogether.
4. His family.
If you were lucky enough to get along well with your in-laws and your husband’s extended family, it can feel really hard leaving them behind. You were part of the family, too! Now, you're suddenly not.
5. Your everyday routine.
Sure, it was predictable, easy, (even a little boring), but it was familiar. You knew what to expect for the most part. Until you establish your new routine in your new life, it's natural to feel a bit lost.
6. The friend your partner was to you.
That’s really the heart of it, isn’t it? You married your best friend and now he’s gone, and it hurts. It's normal to grieve the loss of that part of your connection.
How can you be sad if you wanted the relationship to end?
Divorce is a death. This is often hard for people around you to understand unless they’ve been through it. We don’t just grieve physical death; we grieve all significant losses in our life (including the loss of our important relationships). And what is divorce, if not one big, long list of losses?
Your friends may not understand you grieving or missing aspect of your relationship, especially if you initiated the divorce. As a result, friends may say inappropriate or hurtful things during or after your divorce. Witnessing someone else’s pain is uncomfortable, so people usually say something that basically means, "Get over it because you are making ME feel awkward. So be happy, OK?"
But, you and I both know it’s not as simple as just "getting over it." (Oh, if only!) So, here are a few ways you can help yourself process the mixed emotions of grief and relief during your divorce:
- Give yourself permission (and room) to grieve. Recognize that it’s going to take some time to heal.
- Don’t isolate yourself. The worst thing you can do is to keep everything bottled up inside. Reach out to a friend who is a good listener, a therapist, a coach, a spiritual guide, or a support group who can help you process your feelings.
- Cut yourself some slack. Divorce recovery is a process. You’ll have good days and bad days. One minute you'll feel fine, and the next, you'll collapse in a puddle of tears. Know that this is to be expected.
- Don’t pretend you are OK, if you're not. Be honest about your feelings. Cry when you need to. Find ways that work for you to express yourself when you are feeling low.
- Ask for help. Time does not heal all wounds — that old saying is a myth! Actively processing our pain is what helps us heal. So, meet with someone to talk, read articles by other divorced women, write in your journal; let it out. Taking steps to move through the grief will ground you into your new life as a happy and fulfilled newly single woman.
SAS for Women® helps women figure out how to start living again after an unwelcome turn of events, such as divorce or widowhood. Connect with SAS for 6 free months of coaching via your inbox and/or a complimentary 45-minute consultation.