Advise: Processing the loss

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    Advise: Processing the loss

    Corporatehippiechick commented about processing the loss of a relationship after separation/divorce and it really got me thinking.  As many of you know I got separated last summer and am going through a divorce at the moment.  I'm curious what people that have been through it would consider as a successful processing of the loss.  For what it's worth, there are 3 young children involved.

    -Is it like going through the 5 stages of grief?
    -Is it dealing with the loss of not only the relationship, but the loss of the 'dream' associated with losing the 'happily ever after'?
    -Is it facing yourself and excepting your own responsibility for the marriage failure?
    -Or is it all of this and more?

    I guess I'm just wondering if I'm doing the right things.  I can definitely look back to a year and a half ago and see how I went through the 5 stages of grief(didn't know I was at the time).  Finally reaching a sense of acceptance early this year.

    Took the mandatory parenting classes a month ago and actually had a pretty interesting counselor teaching it.  She talked about hate not really being the opposite of love.  That hate and love are really on one side and 'indifference' was on the other.  Love and hate occupying the same space in our minds.  If we have truly moved on you reach a point of indifference towards the other person.  I'm definitely not at the point of indifference, though I don't have any hatred toward my ex either.

    I appreciate any and all input you might be able to share...thanks!  JD
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from TwoCentDonation. Show TwoCentDonation's posts

    Re: Advise: Processing the loss

    In Response to Advise: Processing the loss:
    [QUOTE]Corporatehippiechick commented about processing the loss of a relationship after separation/divorce and it really got me thinking.  As many of you know I got separated last summer and am going through a divorce at the moment.  I'm curious what people that have been through it would consider as a successful processing of the loss.  For what it's worth, there are 3 young children involved. -Is it like going through the 5 stages of grief? -Is it dealing with the loss of not only the relationship, but the loss of the 'dream' associated with losing the 'happily ever after'? -Is it facing yourself and excepting your own responsibility for the marriage failure? -Or is it all of this and more?
    Posted by jdrotten[/QUOTE]

    I've never been married, hence I've never been divorced.  Nor have I ever been in a marriage-like relationship.  However, in the last few break-ups I've had everything in your list applied.

    For me I know I've processed the loss when thinking about the relationship no longer makes me feel sad, and when I can entertain thoughts of dating someone else without thinking of the ex.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from ItDoesntMatterWhatIThink. Show ItDoesntMatterWhatIThink's posts

    Re: Advise: Processing the loss

    In Response to Advise: Processing the loss:
    [QUOTE] She talked about hate not really being the opposite of love.  That hate and love are really on one side and 'indifference' was on the other.  Love and hate occupying the same space in our minds.  If we have truly moved on you reach a point of indifference towards the other person.  I'm definitely not at the point of indifference, though I don't have any hatred toward my ex either. Posted by jdrotten[/QUOTE]

    Sorry, JD, I can't begin to know what it's like, like TwoCent; never married, never divorced.

    I'll just add that the counselor was right; hate is not the opposite of love. Just as "peace" is not the opposite of war (it's creation, thanks J-Larson).

    I honestly doubt that we can ever reach a state of real indifference with a person we truly loved though; you will reach a point where the intensity lessens, but some semblance of love should remain in the heart.

    The capacity to reflect on your situation and smile (for what it was, or for what it brought you) is the true test of moving on, in my humble opinion.

    Good work, so far! Keep on keepin' on Cool
     
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    Re: Advise: Processing the loss

    Thanks twocent.  That makes me feel better, I definitely have pushed on from the relationship.  I've also started dating with a clear conscience.  Not sure if dating is the right thing to do so soon.  I've read on LL blog many times that you need to give yourself a year or two of alone time post separation to recover and process things.  Not sure what the right thing to do there is....
     
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    In Response to Re: Advise: Processing the loss:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Advise: Processing the loss : Sorry, JD, I can't begin to know what it's like, like TwoCent; never married, never divorced. I'll just add that the counselor was right; hate is not the opposite of love. Just as "peace" is not the opposite of war (it's creation, thanks J-Larson). I honestly doubt that we can ever reach a state of real indifference with a person we truly loved though; you will reach a point where the intensity lessens, but some semblance of love should remain in the heart. The capacity to reflect on your situation and smile (for what it was, or for what it brought you) is the true test of moving on, in my humble opinion. Good work, so far! Keep on keepin' on
    Posted by ItDoesntMatterWhatIThink[/QUOTE]
    Thanks Dimmy.  I think you're right about ever truly reaching a state of indifference.  My ex and I were together for 20 years.  A part of me will always love her, I suppose.

    love the Larson reference!
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from Folkenstein. Show Folkenstein's posts

    Re: Advise: Processing the loss

    Hi jd, I had just posted a response to you in another thread and am copying it here where it's obviously most pertinent:
    ***************************
    However, 2010 could go down as one of the best or one of the worst in my life for sure.  2011 looks to be just as challenging.  Moving out of the house and away from my kids last summer will probably go down as one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.  It was the right thing to do, but very difficult.  Fortunately, I have my 3 kids 50% of the time. I've always heard that divorce was awful, but I really had no idea just how painful a process it would be.  I really wouldn't wish it on anyone.  Hopefully my divorce will be finished up in 2011. all the best!
    Posted by jdrotten
    **************************

    jd, having been there, I can tell you that even when it is the right thing to do, and even if you try with all your heart to make it easier on everyone, the process of beginning, middle and even after divorce, especially with kids, is always awful to some degree.
    Do the best you can to get yourself and the kids(and sometimes the ex) through it all and to the other side, and try to go easy on yourself when it all feels like it's crumbling down. Forgiving yourself(with regard to the kids) is a huge task, but so important.
    Time will dull the sharp edges some, and everyone will find their places in the new scheme eventually.
    Wishing you peace of mind in the coming year and beyond...




     
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    In Response to Re: Advise: Processing the loss:
    [QUOTE]JD.  You will get to the place of indifference - actually better than that.  Sincere appreciation.  My ex and I hated each other for years.  Things changed about six years ago.  We also do the shared parenting thing.  It can stink at times but for the most part it has been very healthy for our son.  I don't hate my ex.  I don't even feel indifferent.  I appreciate that he is the one person on the planet who loves my son as much as I do.  Who would take a bullet for him.  I wish him good things because good things for him are good for our son.  We're friendly. My divorce was the most painful experience of my life.  Like CHC said, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.  It makes you question your judgment, everything.  Only you can dictate your time frame for moving on, if you feel ready - date.   The 5 stages of grief apply but they aren't step by step - you can jump around.  You are doing just fine. Its good to get reflective - so you don't make the same mistakes again. But knowing you - you won't.  Enjoy your holidays, enjoy your kids, enjoy your down time.  Your life is good.
    Posted by Lily87[/QUOTE]
    Thanks a lot Lily.  I hope I can reach the point of appreciation.  I like that :-)

    I definitely wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.  I know it's supposed to be really hard, but I had no idea it would take this much of a toll on me(silly me).  It's much harder than I thought, my heart breaks more for my kids than for myself really.

    I'm trying to be kind and caring toward my ex, but I'm afraid that she is going to have to hate me before she can move on.  I don't like that feeling.  I don't hate her(heck, she's the one that had the affair).  Oh well...
     
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    Re: Advise: Processing the loss

    Well technically I was never married, but could be seen as common-law relationship, though law was definitely not on my side. I think processing the end of a relationship depends on the type of relationship you had, and really why it ended. Some people can process easier when things are amicable and both parties are on the same page. Sometimes, relationships just end. Just because people can change and you don’t feel the same way about each other you did at the beginning.  Others have ends like mine where there is a lot of bitterness and anger and can take much longer to process and “get over”. Having children I think sometimes can make it worse because you try to force yourself to get over it quicker for the sake of the children when really, all you are doing is burying the pain which can come out in various forms later on. That is something to be cognizant of. I take moments sometimes to reflect on where I am and how I am feeling; what I could be doing differently to help me and help my son; and how much better I am, how happier I am, how I am a much better mom, to not be in that relationship. You are always going to grieve the end of a relationship; whether it was a great relationship or a bad relationship. You are always going to wonder could I have done something different? Could I have saved the relationship somehow? That is a natural process. I don’t know the 5 stages of grief, but seems to make sense. You go through a range of emotions, anger, hurt, sadness, acceptance. And understand that the other person is also going through the same range of emotions, but their timeline may be different than yours.  If you feel ready to date, that you can do it without any feeling of guilt, then go for it. Like I said, everyone processes differently and no two timelines are the same. It is also an important step to date again. We need to know that we are still desired, that we are still good people, that we still have love to give, that we are NOT “damaged goods”.  I think you have shown that you are ready for a relationship. You have come at this in all the right ways and if you feel good about this new relationship, then by all means enjoy it. Enjoy the happiness it brings to you, enjoy the happiness that will shine through to your kids.
     
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    Re: Advise: Processing the loss

    In Response to Re: Advise: Processing the loss:
    [QUOTE]jd, having been there, I can tell you that even when it is the right thing to do, and even if you try with all your heart to make it easier on everyone, the process of beginning, middle and even after divorce, especially with kids, is always awful to some degree. Do the best you can to get yourself and the kids(and sometimes the ex) through it all and to the other side, and try to go easy on yourself when it all feels like it's crumbling down. Forgiving yourself(with regard to the kids) is a huge task, but so important. Time will dull the sharp edges some, and everyone will find their places in the new scheme eventually. Wishing you peace of mind in the coming year and beyond...
    Posted by PeteK68[/QUOTE]

    Forgive myself....wow, never thought about that.  Definitely haven't forgiven myself yet.  I have my great days and my horrible 'hanging by a thread' days.  It's all so much at times, but I know I have to be strong for my kids.

    Sorry you went through that...and thanks so much for the kind words Petek!
     
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    Re: Advise: Processing the loss

    Jeeps-thanks for the thoughtful advise.  I truly wasn't planning on dating so soon, it just sort of happened.  I guess that's how it goes, eh?  Like you said, I really did need to feel like I wasn't 'damaged goods'.  That I was likable or whatever.

    I like your point about forcing yourself to get over it for the kids.  I may be doing that.  I'll have to think about that one.
     
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    In Response to Re: Advise: Processing the loss:
    [QUOTE]JD - I think it depends upon your GF.  Does she need a commitment from you right now or is she happy with something low key with a really nice guy? The intensity at the beginning of the relationship suggests to me that something isn't quite right, but that might have just been a transition dynamic. The other question to ask yourself is if somewhere inside you are questioning if you've looked around enough before settling down with one woman.  I doubt you have a clear signal from your gut right now because your gut is busy feeling it's way through your new relationship with your Ex (which I hear takes about a year) and helping your kids navigate this transition. My advice is don't make any decisions until after the holidays, but if you have doubts, lesson the intensity of the relationship.  Long distance relationships can be great for that or they can be the worst because intensity is what sustains you when you can't be together for everyday normal things.
    Posted by Corporate-Hippie-Chick[/QUOTE]
    CHC- thanks.  The GF is looking for a long term commitment, and the distance thing is really hard on her.  Hard on me too.  Nothing low-key about it, that's for sure.  She's been divorced for 10 months, but separated for 2 1/2 years.  I'm her first serious relationship, though she had been casually dating before we started. 

    I don't mind commitment, I love it in fact.  I'm curious what you mean by 'something not quite right'.  Like maybe we're being codependent leaning on each other through all the muck maybe?  Please be honest, I won't be offended at all.  My gut is definitely busy these days, that is for sure.  Between 3 kids, my ex and gf, I do feel like I'm running in circles sometimes.   Doesn't always leave me with a lot of time for self reflection or fun, for funs sake, if that makes any sense.  Maybe I'm doing it intentionally?  Busying myself taking care of everyone else, so I don't have to stop and think?  I just don't know.  Perhaps I've answered my own question. :)
     
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    Re: Advise: Processing the loss

    JD - it sounds like you're doing a really good job of processing.  And that's what it is - a process. 

    I was also divorced after 20+ years of marriage, but with no kids, so I can't really speak to that part.  The divorce for me was devastating, and I was the party seeking the divorce.  A lot of people mistakenly assumed for that reason that I needed no support, when the truth was the exact opposite.  I was a total mess - it was not what I wanted at all in my life, but it needed to be done.  I was grieving the loss of my marriage, the loss of my role as a "good wife", the loss of my inlaws (ok that was mixed), the loss of my hopes and dreams. 

    The forgiving yourself piece is huge - everyone thought I was nuts walking away from the perfect marriage, but nobody knows what goes on inside of any relationship except the two people in it.  You can only do what you think is right, and that will set the best example for your kids. 

    Be aware of your feelings and your triggers.  Stay away from toxic people.  I actually had to stay away from some family members for a while because it was too painful.  I had one close family member say to me "My husband is worse than yours!" --- like it was some kind of bizzaro competition or something.  Don't let other people's issues get under your skin. 

    Give yourself permission to feel whatever you are feeling, and don't fall victim to anyone else's timetable or issues.  It'll get better.  I found keeping a journal to be very helpful as well, and I could keep track of my own progress.  It's been three years now and I've never been happier.  I wish the same for you. 

     
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    Re: Advise: Processing the loss

    CHC:  Thanks for the honest answer :)  I hold your opinion in high regard.  You've been through all this crap.

    Ready or not, I'm in this relationship now.  I hope I'm not a distraction for her, nor she for I.  However, being in this divorce storm does make things foggy.  Particularly emotionally.  She is certainly still raw from her divorce and all she's been through.

    Lots to think about...thanks again
     
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    CHC: You and your GF got serious very fast.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This is true.  Once we started dating, things really did move fast.  We really have clicked though. Ldr's are very hard though.  thanks again.
     
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    Re: Advise: Processing the loss

    Wizen:  thanks for sharing that.  It really is devastating and I know I'm much more of a mess inside than I lead on to the outside world.

    I know what you mean about toxic people.  I've had to limit my contact with one of my brothers because of that.  He was just all doom and gloom when it came to my splitting with my ex.

    "Give yourself permission to feel whatever you are feeling, and don't fall victim to anyone else's timetable or issues. "

    I definitely need to work on this one.  I don't think I'm giving myself permission to let it out.  Though I guess I'm letting it out here a bit though.  I do feel like I'm on everyone else's timeline...ugh.  I do keep a journal and I do find it very helpful.

    thanks again wizen
     
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    In Response to Re: Advise: Processing the loss:
    [QUOTE]JD - kids are amazingly resilient.  They can survive anything, as long as they know we love them no matter what.  And you do. You can't control how your ex feels about you.  You can only control what you feel and say.  Live your life.  Don't feel guilty.  Enjoy it.   Divorce is the worst thing and best thing that happened to me. 
    Posted by Lily87[/QUOTE]

    Lily,  I went through my parents divorce at 11 and survived.  That experience has really helped me deal with my kids though.  I remember well what they are going through.

    You are so right about not being able to control how my ex feels.  I need to remember that and let that go.

    thanks so much Lily
     
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    Re: Advise: Processing the loss

    I would also like to add, that there is nothing wrong with "fast" relationships. I find as we get older, have experienced more; we tend to click quicker in relationships because we dont waste the time with relationships we know wont work. (does that make any kind of sense?)
    There is nothing wrong with connecting with someone on that level.
    I think I have said it before, not every relationship is going to be the end all be all. But its what we take from those relationships that brings us closer to finding "the one". No one can say where this relationship will end up or how long this relationship will last JD, but enjoy it while you have it. Keep it positive and fruitful. If it does eventually come to an end for some reason, remember fondly the good times, the way she made you feel about yourself, the boost it did for you during a very difficult time in your life.
    If it turns into something more, then that is just as wonderful.
     
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    In Response to Re: Advise: Processing the loss:
    [QUOTE]LDRs are very hard. Any chance of one of you moving to the same city?
    Posted by Corporate-Hippie-Chick[/QUOTE]
    No time soon for me(years).  Unless she were to move here, but I just don't see that happening.  I think she's going to cut me loose, the distance thing is going to be to much for her.  I wouldn't blame her.   ugh...did I just say that out loud?
     
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    Re: Advise: Processing the loss

    In Response to Re: Advise: Processing the loss:
    [QUOTE]I would also like to add, that there is nothing wrong with "fast" relationships. I find as we get older, have experienced more; we tend to click quicker in relationships because we dont waste the time with relationships we know wont work. (does that make any kind of sense?)
    Posted by sexy-sadie[/QUOTE]
    It does make sense.  With experience, we can kinda slice and dice things faster.  Though this is my first experience in a relationship in 20 years(outside of my ex of course).

    thanks for that!
     

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