Recovering From Lost Love
Key Points
  • You invested a lot in your marriage, not to mention the emotional investment. You need to give yourself some recovery time. There is a grieving process with divorce as with any type of loss.
  • If you have children, they are caught in the middle, they love both you and your former spouse. It is your job to make sure you are not placing your children at odds with your former spouse and certainly not comparing your child or children to the worse parts of your former spouse.
  • Children of divorce can have low self-esteem simply because a parent, unbeknownst, makes comparisons to the former spouse. The child knows that mom and dad no longer love each other, how long until mom, or dad, stops loving me.

You will have to recover from your sense of failure and loss of a loved one. Even though your marriage is ending in divorce, you can’t deny the emotional investment you once had in your partner. Your children are living proof and constant reminders. They do not dissolve with your marriage, so your recovery is important to their recovery as well. They are the legacy of your marriage. They remind you that you once loved your ex-spouse, who is now apart from you. Regardless of how the whole thing unravels, you will feel a sense of loss and grief.

According to the Hospice Council of Metropolitan Washington, grief strikes as a combination of many emotions. Grief is often unbearable. Understanding the emotions of grief and the whole grieving process is an important step in healing. If you know what to expect and how to deal with it, then you can cope.

The loss of a spouse through divorce can evoke some of the same emotions as the loss of a spouse through death. If it’s an "ugly" divorce, the emotional mess can be worse, because what was once love may now be hate and there’s a thin line between the two. If you cross over the line, then the damaging emotions of hate are as intense as the healthy emotions associated with love.

If You have Children

If your marriage ends on particularly bad terms, try to remember the children. Caught in the middle, loving you both, they are vulnerable. Imagine how you would feel if your parent cringed at your sight because "you look like your mother" or "...are so lazy like your father."

This type of blow to self-esteem happens to a lot of children of divorce. It is hard to imagine, isn’t it? It should be easier to imagine how a child who is victimized in this manner will soon ask him or herself, "how long before mom and dad stop loving me"?

These are difficult issues. Your response to them may be entirely different from others. There are some basic ways to help you cope, while you reassure your children of your love:

  • Surround yourself with caring people: family, friends, neighbors, colleagues who can be your support system.
  • Join a self-help group: fellow group members have "been there" and can offer comfort and advice.
  • Express your feelings: talk, cry, even scream if necessary. Grieving requires an outlet.
  • Don’t rush into any major life changes: moving, remarrying or having another child are too important to rush. At a time when your emotional equilibrium is off kilter, avoid big decisions and high stress moves that carry big consequences. Even a job change should wait until you regain your balance.
  • Seek professional help: few people can cope with bereavement alone. There is no shame in seeking help.

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