Barbara Rothberg, DSW, LCSW

Therapy, Coaching, Mediation and Parent Coordination

 
 
 
       

Moving On After Divorce

12 September, 2019 Barbara Rothberg DIVORCE

F or many people, moving on after divorce is a very difficult thing to do.

It is particularly difficult to move on if your ex has already moved on and seems content with his or her new life and you feel bereft. The truth is that life is not fair. Sometimes people meet new partners and are happy and sometimes people cannot find a new compatable person to be with. Sometimes people are happy to be living on their own, and others are just very lonely. There is no perfect life as there is not perfect situation. We all have to learn to adjust to and deal with what we have.

What helps someone move on ? Of course if a person is in a new relationship, that helps. But that can be a temporary fix as rebound relationships often don't last. The key to moving on is to let go of old anger and create a new positive life. If a person continues to perseverate about a bad past experience, "How could he have done that to me?" that is what will color their mood, feelings and outlook. On the other hand, if instead, the person could let go of whatever he did, and say, it was rotten that he did that, but we're separate now and I'm moving on, the outlook will be rosier. Conentrating on what makes you feel happy and content, spending time with family and friends and doing activities that you find pleasureable always helps. It can be an opportunity to explore new things.

When a person separates from a long term relationship, they need to deal with time in a different way. For some people, it is very exciting to have alone time to do what they want. For others, this time can be devastating. I had someone recently tell me she did not know what to do with herself when the kids were with her ex and she has three days to herself. Whether it is welcome or scarey, it is an adjustment, and it takes time to get used to this new way of life. It is a choice of what to do in free time. There are wonderful resources people can hook in to, but it does take effort, and that effort can really pay off.

For separated parents with children, not being with them for several days can also be either positive or negative. Some people are thrilled to have a break and be able to go to the gym and not worry about dinner and bedtime. Others can't believe they won't be with their kids every single day and will not be able to kiss them good night. These are the two opposite reactions, and of course, many people feel both ways at different times. A perspective on the whole situation can be helpful and can temper some of the hard feelings.

Many parents make the nightly phone call to say good night to their children when they are with the other parent. This is generally fine, but it should be recognized that it is mostly for the parent. If children are being well taken care of and have good relationships with both of their parents, they are generally content to be with one parent for a few nights. This does not mean that the other parent shouldn't make the nightly call, but to remind the parent if the child is not talkative, it has nothing to do with their relationship and doesn't mean the child doesn't care. Children are often in the moment (which is good) and aren't thinking about the other parent. Trusting that your child is safe and happy with your ex is helpul in enabling you to move on.

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