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janbb's avatar

If you're divorced, how do you handle this?

Asked by janbb (44029 points ) March 20th, 2014

My Ex has an SO with kids and appears to be traveling with them to see my son. Also, there will be family weddings coming up that I assume he will bring them to. I probably won’t go to the ones from his side because they would involve travel. But things are going so well for me and then I hear news of them and it breaks me apart. How do I deal with the feelings?

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13 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

We humans are emotional creatures. There’s no escaping it. While my emotions give me trouble for reasons other than my divorce, I can understand your plight. I’d give you a big hug, were I nearby.

I use psychotherapy to manage my unpleasant emotions. Over many years, I’ve come to recognize them and have also built a good repertoire of skills to deal with unpleasant emotions. Deep breathing exercises help, but they only do so to a certain extent. Sometimes I simply have to feel the pain, acknowledge it, and walk through it. Sometimes I lie on the floor and sob. Sometimes I go for a walk. Sometimes I wash the dishes.

I have learned action is the key for me. When I mindfully perform some action no matter how small, I can step outside the wash of negative emotions, and I can heal.

gailcalled's avatar

Jan, it took several years of sharing family functions for me. One day I simply realized that I not only no longer cared but was relieved that someone else was going home with him. Now, we are civilized and pleasant. I can barely remember that we had once been married.

However, we do not share children, and I cannot speak to that but can imagine how difficult it must be.

He came to all our family functions, as did my three step-sons whom I love. I was not invited to his family get-togethers after the divorce; after the initial hurt feelings, I found that I no longer cared about that either.

Does your son share his feelings? Does he ask you yours? It is really tricky.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

So, I take it your are still in love with your ex? My situation was different, I hated the bastard. I couldn’t stand the sight of him, or the sound of his voice. I would never go to a function of any kind if he was there. I would only talk to him if I had to, if it was something about the kids. He wasn’t welcome in my home, although he would come to the door for the kids, and I would send them out, but I stayed inside. My first daughter to get married didn’t invite him (the kids don’t have much use for him, either). He whined so bitterly about it that when my first son got married, he did invite him, but we didn’t sit together or converse at all. When the second son got married, he was there with his new fiancé, but by that time I could care less. I hardly knew him, hadn’t seen him for years, and as far as the fiancé, I just thought “rather her than me.”

zenvelo's avatar

What I had to learn is that there is no avoiding unpleasant or distressful feelings. They need to be processed eventually, and the only way to process them is to feel them.

Much as I hated it when my ex was around, I had to accept she is my children’s mother, and they love her. And so I felt my discomfort, but did not avoid it. And felt relief similar to what @gailcalled said, that I no longer needed to be embroiled in her issues, and I could just be present for my children.

It’s actually made it easier for me after going through it all. I no longer get upset with her, and my kids know they can rely on me for support.

Cruiser's avatar

My ex completely out of the blue said she was leaving to go find herself. A week later I come to find out she was having an affair with a heroine addict and apparently had been on and off for a while. Having your life turned upside down is a very unfun experience and no matter what I did thoughts of her and this dude haunted me for a long long time.

My coping story is very similar to @Hawaii_Jake. I was devastated and could barely function for over a month…but what I did do was play my guitar and exercised. The exercise really paid off and I was in the best shape of my life. The last thing I wanted to do was date but 3 months after my ex left I met my current wife and couldn’t be happier.

Find solace in the fact you are now in good company and the painful memories and feelings as others have said….will fade away.

marinelife's avatar

Remember that your feelings are your own and you are entitled to them all. But you can’t control his actions. When events dictate that you have to see him, take a deep breath and remember how lousy he was in bed or whatever other faults he had.

Your relationship with your son is not affected by this. You will always be his mother. You share so many memories and years with him.

Take care of yourself.

jca's avatar

I have never been married and never been in your situation, but I am guessing that you may, perhaps sub-consciously, still wish he were available, or at the very least, not with someone else who he seems happy with and who is integrating her children into your family’s life.

Those feelings are valid, and logical (although feelings do not have to appear to be logical), and perhaps with therapy you could explore them and work through them. I am sympathetic to your plight – probably forgetting about this and then having it thrown up at you from time to time.

herculies's avatar

How? Be happy. I’m not being flippant here. Ex’es always know when you’re happy, they know without you saying anything.

It’s hard to be happy I must confess. But they see you doing well and are happy… yeah baby!

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Not easy, I’ve gone through this many years ago.
The connection is gone, so it is easy now. The boys have told me things that she has pulled on her current husband, the boys are still shaking their heads. She hasn’t changed in thirty years.

janbb's avatar

I’m a little embarrassed that I asked this; I try not to be too personal on the Net. I do appreciate all the answers and I will say that I am happy a good deal of the time now. My life is very rich; I just was blindsided by some news and still get a gut wrench at times. It was a long marriage and is still a comparatively short time split up. But it is getting better much of the time.

herculies's avatar

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though everything is a miracle… the other is as though nothing is. Albert Einstein.

Choose the miracles.

janbb's avatar

@herculies I find that a little simplistic but if it works for you – great!

cristobela's avatar

I’m a Christian; so I would pray to our Heavenly Father to give me the grace to deal with the situation, to feel grateful and be happy for them, seeing as they will continue to be involved in my life. Better to do so without bitterness nor hurt. And only he can heal those wounds completely and truthfully.

3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.

—Psalms 147:3 (NIV)

Had I divorced unlawfully (in a way that transgressed YHWH’s law which would mean for any reason other than sexual immorality), I would confess it to him, “I sinned against you God, and I see first-hand the consequences of pursuing this choice despite you warning against it. Your law is there to safeguard my well-being—emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being—and I acknowledge that. So please act in my favor, heal these wounds of mine and have mercy on my heart: I would prefer not to hear news of them anymore, but not my will, may yours be done”.

I would pray like this because, ultimately, he is omniscient; He knows what will work out for the good of all involved in the long run regardless of how I am feeling in the immediate. Maybe their continued presence in my life will work out for my good or for the good of my kids. And if it won’t, then now that I have repented (confessing to him the way in which I violated his commands and turned away from wanting to commit it again) and invoked God’s help, he will have mercy and act on my behalf to get these people out of my life or give me the grace to withstand hearing about them without it affecting me.

He promises to heal based on those terms:

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

And if I did divorce in a way that was legitimate in his eyes (reason being sexual immorality), then I would simply pray: Heavenly Father, you know I have NOT transgressed against you in my relationship with my spouse; my spouse was unfaithful in keeping the marriage bed pure, I didn’t even want to divorce, but he wouldn’t reconcile the relationship. So we’ve divorced in a way that is right in your eyes, but I am suffering from heartbreak. Please heal my wounds. And give me the grace to withstand hearing about them if it can’t be avoided.

So, in a nutshell, I would rely on God’s help, laying my requests before him, through prayer. I would apply his words to my life in any and every area that needs correcting in order to avoid suffering the same heartbreak in the future. His word is the only advice that has healed my relationships/situations, even if it wasn’t the most pleasant thing to do in the short term. Because in the long run, it does help, it does fix relationships and prevent further corruption.

By the way, the commands I have been referring to in this reply:

Matthew 5:31–32
New International Version (NIV)

Divorce

31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’[b] 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Footnotes:

a. Matthew 5:27 Exodus 20:14
b. Matthew 5:31 Deut. 24:1

Matthew 19:3–12
New International Version (NIV)
3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”

11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

Footnotes:

a. Matthew 19:4 Gen. 1:27
b. Matthew 19:5 Gen. 2:24

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