- Your brain won’t work right for a while. You’ll fear that the affected thinking is permanent. It’s not. But invest in notepads in the meantime because you’ll need to write everything down. Your brain is sluggish because it is recovering from a TLI – Traumatic Life Injury. It will get better.
- When you see seemingly happy families or couples, you’ll experience jealousy like you’ve never imagined, your brain throwing toddler-like temper tantrums of, “It’s not fair.” Sometimes it’s easiest to give them a little distance until your envy fades. And in the meantime, watch or read about people that have it worse than you.
- Your body will change. You may gain or lose weight, depending upon your personal dietary response to stress. Wrinkles and gray hairs may suddenly appear or increase in number. You will catch every cold and digestion will be impaired. Protect your sleep, eat your veggies and buy a new belt.
- At some point, you will have a sexual dream or fantasy about your ex. And you will go from feeling both titillated and comfortable to being repulsed and unsure. You will wonder how you ever found him or her attractive. Take a lesson from preteens and develop safe crushes and fantasies on famous people. It helps to reassure you that you’re not dead while protecting you from fantasizing about your ex or encouraging you to get between the sheets with another before you’re ready. And the first time you do engage with a new partner? You’ll feel like you’re cheating.
- You will be memory slammed. And it will happen just when you feel as though you’ve made progress and when your mind is other places. And it will feel as though you’ve caught a bowling ball launched by Babe Ruth with your gut. Keep breathing. It will fade.
- The court process will be worse than you ever imagined. But at the same time, it will be much less important than you believe. You will give the paperwork and the process too much power over you. And you will only realize that misappropriation of significance after it’s over.
- Your brain will become your worst enemy, offering up, “What ifs” and rudely bringing up painful memories just as you’re trying to get your sh*t together. You don’t have to indulge its every whim. Try exhausting it or distracting it, much like you would with an unruly toddler.
- You will experience a false dawn, a period where you feel excited and “over it.” And you will be angry when others caution you that it’s too soon. As much as you want them to be wrong, you will soon learn that they are right, when you come crashing down again. Even though this respite is brief, let it fill you with hope.
- Over time, you will start to see the person you were before the divorce as a separate entity. A different person. A foreign person. You will speak of your life in two chapters – before and after. And as you move further into your new chapter, the pain of the old begins to fade.
- As the immediate emotions of fear and anger and despair begin to soften, frustration will move in. You will feel stuck and wonder why you can’t just be done with it already. You will feel embarrassed that you’re still struggling, believing that you should be done by now. Sometimes this is harder than the initial pain because your rational brain is being held hostage and is fighting against the restraints. Escape takes time. Stay with it.
You will be okay. I promise:)