Divorce is one of those rare times in life when one must ask serious questions about the self…
Who was I with this partner?
Who am I now?
How did this happen to me?
What should I do now?
There are few such significant, life-changing moments…some of us have educational, job-related, or career milestones, we have personal accomplishments; some of us marry, some of us have children, and, we all age and eventually die. Divorce is a topic that many people would rather avoid like the plague, although it happens to 50% of couples here in the US. So when it happens to the unsuspecting spouse, of course, there is denial and grief, and it’s not always pretty to be around a person who is experiencing it. Sometimes even a best friend cannot lessen the pain of divorce.
Divorce can bring out the worst in the majority of individuals. It can bring on defensiveness, anger, and resentment, because no one wants to be left alone. Yet, divorce is difficult on both spouses regardless of the circumstances. For instance, one spouse has changed his/her mind about the other. How unsettling! We think we "know" our spouse well, and then—BAM! It turns out that he/she has been hiding things from you, and has moved-- emotionally, mentally, and physically—away from you.
Or, you were the spouse who changed his/her mind—maybe the change occurred because your spouse was too unreasonable, too rigid, too biased, too controlling, too "fill-in-the-blank". You needed some growth, but your partner wouldn’t budge, or wasn’t open minded enough to come along with you or meet you halfway.
Maybe the list of self-related questions when divorcing should be more like this:
*How can I be peaceful when life seems so chaotic?
*How can I help myself when I’m not sure what I want?
*How can I accept myself, my ex, and all the new situations that I will be faced with?
*What steps should I make to protect myself, now and in the future?
*What is my belief system, and how did I adopt it?
*How can I align myself with a new belief system (because I was believing in something—a marriage and a spouse--that didn’t pan out)
So, no matter who left the marriage and who wanted to stay, both parties have some serious questions to ask themselves. It becomes far more about self then about the couple. Life is always about what we think about ourselves, rather than about other people. Life is change, and although change can make even the most self-assured people shudder, change is inevitable. Whether you chose the divorce or your partner did, you both will take new actions and elicit some changes in yourselves.
This is the time to focus on your own ideals, not getting back at your ex or focusing on the problems either of you have created. Focus on you for a while, that person that you live with, who’s thoughts keep you up late at night, who’s emotions are up and down all day. Focus on bringing those emotions and ideas into perspective—
Do you want a particular thing because your ex didn’t "let" you have it, or do you really want it? Have you made a decision based on a long history of desiring it, or are you driven by something you don’t understand? What small changes can you make to be a better person now? What important aspects of yourself should you keep, even though your partner may have disliked them?
After a while of living this way, evaluating these random thoughts, you will soon be in a position to be more stable, and more in control of your emotions. No one will dictate to you about what you should do, because you will have your bearings in new situations. You will be able to adapt as you become more open minded. It really is the only way to being happier.