It may be a short time after breaking up or Divorce we can find ourselves believing that a new relationship will save or heal us. Relationships are great learning experiences and each relationship we have will bring us the opportunity to learn something of value about ourselves however, if we choose to be in a relationship to ‘save’ us or ‘heal’ us then this is unlikely to be the fulfilling, strong, loving partnership we may ultimately be seeking. In order to attract that we need to BE in that place too.
We might believe we are “over it” and prematurely go seeking some new ‘fix’ to help us avoid the pain of the emptiness. Avoidance of any kind of pain is only a short term solution as people who go too early into relationships after a break up will invariably come back to the pain of both break ups after that relationship ends and the pain can be just as intense as it was in the beginning, even more so. Ultimately, in running headlong into another relationship, we are just running from ourselves, from our own shadow, from our own pain…
Many divorcing people choose to focus on their children rather than pursue another relationship. This can be good for the children in the short term, as they too will be going through a painful process and need support and reassurance themselves. However our children are not a substitute for a spouse. Children can often pick up our pain even if we are not expressing it directly to them. They can feel our energy and can often feel they want to make our pain better by stepping into the role of spouse. It is important that we do not use our children to make up to for our loss and for healing our wounds or as a substitute for our partners.
Some people look for another relationship after divorce to help them feel that they really are desirable and ok in themselves, using the new relationship to help them heal. If this new relationship is happening prematurely in your healing process you may think this is a real relationship but really it is a message “please heal me – make my unresolved pain go away”. It is better to wait for a time when being truly available for another and them for you in a balanced and neutral manner is possible. If we choose our next relationships from that place of still feeling raw and wounded it is possible we will re-create re-wounding relationships and long term this will be more painful. Until we have sufficiently healed we are not really ready for a deep intimate relationship with anybody but ourselves. Longstanding healthy relationships cannot be forged on the ground of emotional pain.
Maybe you are thinking that you’ll never ‘trust’ anyone again! Or find yourself thinking generalisations about ‘men’! or ‘women’! In truth, it is not our potential new partners that we don’t trust, it is our trust in ourselves that has been broken or knocked. Somewhere along the line we ‘missed’ something alluding to the breakdown of our marriage; or we made decisions and choices that were not in line with our deepest truth of who we are – It is this process of self forgiveness and healing that is key here. In time the hope is that we will have learned the lessons of that past relationship and come out feeling we know ourselves better, who we really are and what we want out of relationships. It is when we feel a trust in ourselves – our judgements about people, an awareness of our own needs and wants – that we will trust ourselves to be in relationship again.
Allow yourself time to be on your own for a while – in relationship with yourself not another partner – Begin a love affair with yourself!. If you can give yourself some time to get to know yourself again, to heal fully and find healthy outlets for your need for connection then this will be a time journeying inwards toward self discovery; to explore what your interests are, who you really are; why you like you! It is a time to reflect on why we created this drama in our lives and there will be time to understand the lessons that are important to learn in order not to go on repeating more of the same in the future.
They say “time heals all wounds” and time indeed can help to heal those initial feelings of trauma and intense overwhelm. We arrive in a place where we become conscious that we have survived the most difficult stages of grieving and loss and are now able to look back at our broken relationship without drowning in the sea of emotional turbulence. Hopefully our divorce has taught us many things about ourselves and we have come to know our deepest grief and our ability to survive. Maybe we can now see our divorce as a ‘birthing’ process – transforming more of ourselves into being and knowing we have control over the life we want to create and the relationships we want to have going forwards.
For those who find themselves stuck in blaming or feeling a victim to circumstance, to our ex’s or slave to our unresolved feelings, then there is still a piece in our healing process that is incomplete – around taking responsibility, around letting go and surrendering to ‘what is’, around taking our power back; around forgiveness and responsibility-taking – and around coming to a sense of peace around ourselves and our ex’s and how we contributed to the breakup of our marriages.
MOVING ON…. Are you really ready?
There will come a time when you KNOW you are truly ready for a new relationship – not running away from your feelings or pain, not skipping over prematurely to help you heal, not running away from acceptance, forgiveness and healing time – but truly knowing there is no emotional charge left around your ex and your old relationship. Then this is the time to start to think about coming into relationship with someone new. The dreaming and planning stage of what it is you truly long for in a partner and knowing what you are really ready to GIVE as well as what you really want to RECEIVE.
Write a list – of all the qualities you want in your potential new mate. Describe what you imagine you will feel being in this new relationship.
When you’ve made your list of qualities you want to see in your ‘other’, then ask yourself whether you have cultivated these same qualities in yourself. If you are looking for someone who is steadfast, secure and confident in themselves – are you truly with these qualities in yourself right now? Do you want someone who is happy and grounded in where they are in their lives – and are you in that place too?
We attract others according to where we are ourselves. Often we unconsciously ‘call’ those who have the similar woundings and similar negative core self beliefs to us. This is why it is important to be aware of what we are ‘attracting’ to ourselves. If you are feeling wounded and fragile then maybe you will unconsciously be ‘calling in’ a wounded, fragile person to you – even if they masquerade as a ‘caretaker’ type. Deep down they, like you, will be looking to be healed and taken care of…
Make a list of what you value in yourself. If you value yourself then others will value those aspects of you too. It is only from a place of wholeness, full healing and self belief that you will naturally attract like minded others who are as whole and healthy as you are.
So your divorce has taken you on a wild and treacherous journey, one that you will survive and come out the clearer and stronger for it. To be human is to learn and evolve and it is not possible to do this without making wrong turns and mistakes. Allow yourself to be imperfectly human – you have grown, you have learned and a better life awaits you!
Rebuilding when your relationship ends – Dr Bruce Fisher and Dr Robert Albert
Spiritual Divorce – Debbie Ford