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Whether or not you really wanted the divorce in the first place makes all the difference to the quality of life after divorce. If the decision is a mutual one, time will help overcome the sadness at things not working out. Even if the relationship has been an abusive one and you feel relief to be out of it, it may not at first be clear why there is not a one hundred percent cause for celebration. If there was love there at the beginning of the relationship, and there usually is, where has it gone to, and why didn’t it last?
For the partner who has left to go on to another relationship it is not usually roses all the way. Guilt is a bitter pill to swallow and this in turn can often sour the new relationship. Add some children from the first time around, and there can be colossal pressures upon the new couple which were not envisaged when a romantic affair was in the air.
If you are the one who has been left by a partner for another person, perhaps totally against your wishes, it can take a long time to overcome your feelings of rejection, betrayal, and even a sense of failure. The blow to self esteem can be intense, and the pain of this makes it very difficult for the man or woman left behind to think about beginning a new chapter, and making a fresh start. How can it be otherwise? To be grieving for a lost partner, or way of life, does not provide the best setting for seeking a new partner or even regaining a zest for life.
All too common there are feelings of inadequacy and self-recrimination. Even if you were not the one to bring about the breakup it is inevitable to wonder how to proportion blame and to consider whether or not you both played a part – even unconsciously – in the collapse of the relationship. At first the shock and anger can act as a spur, and I have heard of renewed energy and drive at this time. Quite often it is only later when the full force of what is happening hits home, and you are left facing a future very different from the one you had expected. This is a time for a major change in your life. Suddenly everyone seems to be part of a couple. Wherever you turn, people are holding hands, lovers seem to be everywhere. It is especially painful if your ex is involved in a new love affair. Even the supermarkets seem to package food for two.
Where there is a child or children of the relationship both partners must pay attention to them. The children will be grieving too, and deeply affected by the split in their family. Quite possibly, with enormous effort, the parenting part of your life goes on. And however hard that is, it can be a plus. It gives a reason to plan and to go through the day-to-day events. The washing must still be done, and the food bought. But with the children in bed asleep, or visiting the other parent, there will be hours to fill.
It is hard to begin the mating game again, and I have been told repeatedly that after being burned by the fall out of a major relationship the scars are felt for a long time. To trust another takes courage at the best of times. After a betrayal it is even harder. At times it can be a temptation, if given the chance, to jump right in and begin another sexual relationship. If too soon, this relationship can become tangled with the one just left, but can be a way of convincing oneself that ‘someone’ finds me attractive and loveable. But this is not a good basis for a new partnership.
There certainly is life after divorce, but the way you reassemble the pieces will have far reaching consequences. A grudge held onto for years is a debilitating and harmful emotion. So, mourn if you feel you need to, acknowledge the pain, and take time to heal. You will eventually recover from the emotional impact of divorce. It is important to remember this. Even if the relationship didn’t survive, you will.