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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

5 Things We Hold On To After Divorce

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Divorce requires letting go – of the marriage, the dreams, the regrets and even the promises. Yet we often struggle to let go. If feels wrong. Scary. Unfamiliar and untested.

So instead, we grip, holding on even when the thing we’re holding on to only causes us harm.

 

We Hold On to An Image Of Our Former Partner

Maybe you still see them as they were in the beginning of the relationship. Or, you see them as you want them to be. Regardless, you’re holding on to an image of them, a picture that is more in line with your wishes than their reality.

 

We Hold On to Our Dreams of What the Relationship Should Have Been

If only the affair hadn’t happened. Or the addiction. Or the growing distance after having children. Then, we tell ourselves, the marriage would still be okay. We cultivate this image of what our lives are supposed to be like and even when life trajectories change, we have a hard time letting go of Plan A.

 

We Hold On to Our Anger and Blame

We rail against our ex-partner, or their affair partner or some other factor that we blame for the relationship’s demise. We feel powerful in our anger, righteous and also purposeful. As long as we are angry, we at least have something.

 

We Hold On to Our Pain and Victimhood

It’s scary facing the world alone. And so we curl up in our cloak of “wronged one,” prompting others to render aide and support. Our pain becomes our identity. It’s proof that the relationship was important. That we were important.

 

We Hold On to a Need For Fairness

We place our faith in the courts. Or God. Or karma. Thinking that bad things come to exes for those who simply wait long enough. We hold on to the idea that in order for us to be okay, we need for them to not be okay. We just want them to feel the pain too.

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6 thoughts on “5 Things We Hold On To After Divorce

  1. To actually read the truth hurts. But still opens your eyes to the facts. I am so guilty of holding on to the point of making myself so sick I can hardly function. Thank you for another wonderful article.

    1. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but when we’re in the thick of it, it’s hard to see. Especially because we get so good at rationalizing why we’re doing it.

  2. Great post. Its been three years. Things are definitely better. But this morning, as I came downstairs to get my coffee, the cold and dark was there. My memory triggered to my young children and my ex. The old house that was cold in the morning but somehow ok because they were all still asleep upstairs. The different life.
    I have been on my own now for awhile and its much better. But this memory made me stop and cry. Haven’t done that in ages. I miss my kids. I miss my family.

    1. What a poignant moment. It’s wild how those memories live just beneath the surface and can hit hard without warning.

  3. Perfect timing! Thanks for opening my eyes just a bit wider to see what is preventing me from healing and letting go!
    Don’t give up on my future just because it’s going to look different than what I had imagined!

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