Acceptance, Letting Go, and Moving On
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Life After Divorce Divorce is complicated, and change is never easy to cope with. Use this section for help and advice on living life after a divorce.

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Old 05-11-2013, 12:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Acceptance, Letting Go, and Moving On

Hi All -

I'm starting a new thread over here, after a year in the "Going Through Separation and Divorce" section. My D will be final in the next few weeks, so my biggest mental hurdle now is embracing being "unmarried," adjusting to a new chapter without STBXH in it, and the remnants of greiving the lost love, intimacy and companionship. And I also struggle with living alone, as we did not have children. I would sure love any tips from those who've made it to the other side and feel "recovered" from your D.

I do make efforts to get out and be social, but you can't avoid coming home and waking up to just the cats each day, and the house feels so quiet and empty sometimes -- I start missing my STBXH, and well... I obviously still have some healing to do. I've started putting on some beautiful classical music first thing in the morning to help fill the quietness and calm my nerves. Little things like that can help. I do the self care things -- exercise, massage, etc. and I am in IC.

As for company, I have zero desire to jump into dating, and am told that's a mistake until you are further along in getting over your D. It can end up delying your healing, because you are not ready to intimately bond with someone else, even when the mutual intention is just for an exclusive realationship scenario (agreement that neither party is looking for a future marriage committment). I sure can't see myself ever getting re-married, but fellow TAMer Chucky insists that he could retire in Boca Raton if he has a nickle for everyone who has said that, but gone on to tie the knot again

I don't know -- I look around me and see many examples of women who are happily single. But for me, it is not what I wanted or envisioned for my life so I don't feel too thrilled about being unmarried. I do try to look at the upside of it -- the freedom, the flexibility, doing whatever the heck I want (no compromising). I hope eventually the "new normal" will feel happier and more comfortable. Sounds cliche, but I guess it just takes time (and therapy - LOL!). Is that really all there is to it, or are there other things I could be doing to help myself move on, focus on re-building and embracing the "new normal" and stop looking back?

Best Regards, - A12

My old thread for reference:
The Final Dagger - Please Help!!!
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Old 05-11-2013, 02:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Acceptance, Letting Go, and Moving On

Hi, A12 -- Welcome to the part of TAM you never wanted to be in, LOL. I've been here since Valentine's Day. Being officially 'unmarried' is different, yet it's not, really. Like me, you've already been living on your own for a while. You've already established a daily routine without your STBXH. The only difference right now will be mental, really. Going through that process, moving your life forward to take advantage of those positives that you identified above. The change we're looking for isn't going to just happen. We have to make the changes in our lives.

Speaking from experience, you've got to be pro-active. It's too easy to look at other people around you who seem to be moving right along, even getting into relationships again, and feel very isolated. Keep up your IC, and enlist his/her help if you find there are things in your feelings about yourself that are holding you back. IC doesn't have to just be about getting over your marriage, it can be about building A12 2.0.
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Old 05-11-2013, 02:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Acceptance, Letting Go, and Moving On

Thanks for the kind and wise words, AP! You're right, I have been living without him in my life for over a year, and yet, until I knew for sure there was no chance of R (if there ever was -- I don't think so given his inaction and unwillingness to do anything to help the marriage survive). During the limbo, I already felt like a widow, not a wife, because my husband was gone. But once the D is final I think you'right it is more of a mental shift to a new identity or reclaiming your identity as a single person -- not part of a couple, even if it was an estranged couple.

The thing I despise the most is on medical forms where you have to fill in your "emergency contact person." I don't have any family in the area, and of course I could put a friend's name but that would be kind of weird. Those moments are gutting, because it brings up the thought: "I have no one. I am alone." Ugh, self-pity is the worst. I can't afford "poor me" thinking. That's why I volunteer alot at the local food pantry -- there is no better way to stay grateful and count my blessings than helping those less fortunate. And you're right about IC, it should be about getting my head on straight and sorting myself out.

I do have a lot of good things in my life, and have landed on my feet in many ways. I just wish there was some easy way to stop missing my STBXH -- body, mind and soul -- and the good years we had before things went south. I never stopped loving him, and I am so disappointed he did not want to try harder to save the marriage. Now that D is imminent, I have to let go of him and the dreams of a future together and start re-imagining (and enjoying!) my life. Life is short, and I don't want to spend it moping about my loss.

TAM has been such a huge help! I am very grateful for you and all those who have so generously helped my along in these uncharted waters :-)

Hope you are having a good weekend!

Best,- A12
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Old 05-14-2013, 02:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Acceptance, Letting Go, and Moving On

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Speaking from experience, you've got to be pro-active. It's too easy to look at other people around you who seem to be moving right along, even getting into relationships again, and feel very isolated. Keep up your IC, and enlist his/her help if you find there are things in your feelings about yourself that are holding you back. IC doesn't have to just be about getting over your marriage, it can be about building A12 2.0.
Everyone moves at their own pace. Your pace is just right for you. Keep focus on yourself. That is not selfish. Do what YOU need to do.

Challenge yourself in little ways. Conquer them one by one.
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Old 05-14-2013, 03:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The thing I despise the most is on medical forms where you have to fill in your "emergency contact person." I don't have any family in the area, and of course I could put a friend's name but that would be kind of weird. Those moments are gutting, because it brings up the thought: "I have no one. I am alone." Ugh, self-pity is the worst. I can't afford "poor me" thinking. That's why I volunteer alot at the local food pantry -- there is no better way to stay grateful and count my blessings than helping those less fortunate. And you're right about IC, it should be about getting my head on straight and sorting myself out.
I know what you mean about the forms, and feeling like you're alone. I don't have family here except for DS, and he's only 10, so if anything happened to me, we'd both be up a creek! I've had to list friends as emergency contacts, too. One thing I've realized is that there are a LOT of people out there in our situation. Many, many people are on their own, and have created 'family' of sorts from the friends they have. They do things together and are there for each other. (and incidentally, I've seen quite a few people treated badly by blood family, so that doesn't guarantee anything. ) The husband of one of my best friends was diagnosed with cancer last fall (thankfully, he seems to be doing well now). But it really got me thinking about how they went through it as a couple, and if I were in that position, I'd be having to depend on the kindness of friends and maybe even volunteers to help me with getting to appointments, treatments, etc. Made me feel pretty sad. Not where I ever thought I'd be. But I had to realize that with the way Ex was, I didn't really have him by the last part of our time living together anyway. He was physically there, but not emotionally. I felt very alone and desperate with him right next to me. Realizing that helped in a way. It made the situation not seem so new and desperate. After all, I'd already been on my own for a while, I just hadn't seen it that way. Maybe it will feel that way for you, too, after a while. The feelings of loss won't seem so new and acute.
For me, there was some comfort in knowing this territory of being on my own has been trod many, many times already by others. And they've made it through OK. Chances are, I will, too. And so will, you.

Volunteering is a great way to keep grounded and also to keep from being isolated. We have cultural events like film and music festivals here that use a lot of volunteers, too. Maybe they have those where you are? It opens up other opportunities to meet new people and have some fun. Especially if finances are tight.
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Old 05-14-2013, 04:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Maybe it will feel that way for you, too, after a while. The feelings of loss won't seem so new and acute. For me, there was some comfort in knowing this territory of being on my own has been trod many, many times already by others. And they've made it through OK. Chances are, I will, too. And so will, you.
Thank you, AP! You are indeed an angel :-) I hope you're right, I really do. The emotional pain (fear, anxiety, grief, anguish, remorse, shame) comes and goes in waves, and hopefully that will subside. It is a comfort to know many have trudged this path and gone on to happier lives. Great suggestions about other volunteer opportunities besides the food pantry -- I will take a look around. There are lots of running race events that rely on volunteers as well -- for example, we have the Army 10 Miler coming up this fall (October 20th).

Thanks again for your kind and helpful words!

Warm Regards,- A12
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Old 05-14-2013, 04:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Any time, sweetie.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Acceptance, Letting Go, and Moving On

Singleness takes on a new meaning. Now emergency contacts ARE my friends. My will is different. Even my security system password and house keys are shared with friends for emergencies.

Trying to get things done like work on the car that takes all day and no one to pick you up sucks. But there is a peace of mind that comes with it, too. And a new-found confidence because you've conquered new things. At least for me.

I really understand Big Love/polygamy and the bond the women have. Girlfriends have become very important. Sanity on court dates, someone to spend Christmas with when it's ex's turn to spend it with kiddo. Going camping with no male protector.

It's different for everyone but it's a new reality and there's no shame in needing to have a roommate, move back home, rely on friends for the most mundane things... it's all part of the new reality and it can be full of laughter and joy. I feel I'm in a good place when the right one comes along now.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Hi EnjoliWoman -

Thanks for your encouraging post! You make many excellent points. It is baby steps, but I do feel myself beginning to make this transition of re-arraging my life, and rebuilding my social connectedness, and identity. May I ask, how long has it been for you to get to this better place I hope to reach eventually as well? I know everyone's timeframe and porcess is different, but just wondered how long it took, in your experience.

Thanks again!

Kind Regards,-A12
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hm - there were milestones - I'd say within the first year I was gaining confidence on home repairs and dealing with things like mower repairs, etc.

I had a roommate for company, sometimes a witness (drama) and to help me save for a house. Gradually during that time I dated, took some mini vacations, branched out socially, redecorated some - bought new sofa, slip covered things, new bed linens, etc. Gradually erasing all of the things we had owned and split. That was years 2.5-4.5.

Then I bought my house. I was able to erase everything we had shared by then - nothing was anything we ever had together. I had a huge yard sale now that I knew I didn't need to keep certain things for "if/when". So I'd say by the 5 year mark I had fully come into my own. My career sort of took off around that time, too.

It won't happen over night.

ETA - I made it a POINT to not become jaded or bitter. I never engaged in male-bashing. TAM proves there are GREAT men out there who make wonderful husbands - I just didn't find mine the first time. I kept telling myself if I become a bitter hag, he wins. Can't let that happen!
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:11 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks, EW! Super helpful and insightful. Luckily, I don't feel any ill will or judgement at all towards men in general -- probably because I know many who are stand-up, and because my STBXH never cheated on me or treated me poorly during our marriage. He was a great husband, I could never ask or hope for better. He chose to leave because he could not cope with feeling he would never be able to trust me again because of my relapse. I may consider his decision disloyal and shallow, but I know him to be a great guy at his core. So my main fear -- if I ever reach a point where I would be open to dating again -- is it will be difficult if not impossible to find anyone I would love as much as I did my STBXH. He is not replaceable, and that is beyond sad to me -- but I accept that losing him is the price I am paying for my poor decisions. I'll always have to live with my regret for destroying my own happiness, but at some point I have to put it behind me and move on to a healthier new chapter.

Kind Regards,- A12
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:28 PM   #12 (permalink)
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You always inspire me with your calmness and self-awareness, A12. You own your issues without self-pity, which puts you light-years beyond most people going through a divorce. I also don't sense a lot of self-loathing in you -- I can tell you are working hard on your issues and getting to a place of healthy reactions to being just a normal, everyday, flawed human being, lol. Would that we could all get there.

****************

Your timeline is interesting, EW. Very different from mine, and things came in a different order, too. It just shows how individual this is, in spite of the many patterns we see here on TAM. I never got to be anti-male, either. I knew that the issues between Ex and I were between Ex and I. I don't believe that all men are going to do X or Y. And yes, TAM was a big help in seeing that there are some very good men out there.
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:31 PM   #13 (permalink)
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You always inspire me with your calmness and self-awareness, A12. You own your issues without self-pity, which puts you light-years beyond most people going through a divorce. I also don't sense a lot of self-loathing in you -- I can tell you are working hard on your issues and getting to a place of healthy reactions to being just a normal, everyday, flawed human being, lol. Would that we could all get there.
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:14 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Hi All -

I haven't posted on this thread in awhile but now I AM ACTUALLY DIVORCED as of yesterday (!!!!), so I thought I would start posting in this section.

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, and unfriended and blocked my XH awhile ago, but realized this morning that I still had TONS of albums and pictures with him in them on my FB page. So I just finished going through and deleting numerous pictures and many whole albums (of the many trips we had taken together, holidays we celebrated, etc). Geeze, that was painful, exposing myself to so many images of him and realizing once again how entertwined our lives were, how much history and how many memories we shared. It was the right thing geting rid of the pics, and I'm sure they still "live" somewhere on the desktop at home or on my mobile devices (if he ever needs some good pics of himself for when he starts online dating, he can just ask me, I have tons - LOL!).

I am doing fairly well, though and not crying or feeling as tearful as I thought I might post-divorce. I reckon it's because I've just been so drained by this dragging on for over a year, I'm more relieved than anything else.

Besides the pain of the past, I also have a lot of fear when I let myself think about the future...So I'm trying my utmost to just stay in the day, in the moment and do the next right thing. And get out of my head.

Hope everyone is doing well in their respective corners :-)

Cheers, - A12
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:29 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Besides the pain of the past, I also have a lot of fear when I let myself think about the future...So I'm trying my utmost to just stay in the day, in the moment and do the next right thing. And get out of my head.

That's the best thing you can do, A12.

I'm very impressed that you were able to go through those pics so soon. I think you might be right. When it drags on so long, you do just get kind of worn down.

Don't be surprised if you hit a bump here or there, but if you keep focusing on the present, you'll be OK.
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