How Do You Move On?

Monday, June 27, 2016

In my last post, I addressed how things (although painful in the moment) can lead to other things to put you on your "life path". But in the moment it is usually really hard to see past that, and when you're going through a tough break up or divorce it's sometimes easier to hang on to the pain and the hurt than to move through it. So, how after being with my ex after 8 years was I able to get to the point to where I'm at today? With a lot of work and a lot of "stock taking" with myself and my responsibilities.

Last year I was in a deep dark place ... even before things with my marriage were in the process of unraveling. If I had paid attention and looked closely, I could have seen that I was unhappy, and my relationship was failing. I think I knew - but I failed to acknowledge. Anyways - once things started falling a part, my life felt like it was completely out of control. Not only was I unhappy with my post-partum body, my life, myself, but now I had all of these super touch emotional things to go through associated with "losing" the love of my life. I had to grapple with infidelity, and the thought that I wouldn't see my children every day. It was horrible. But I survived.

Don't get me wrong, there were many frantic phone calls and texts made to friends, many tears pouring out of my face on a regular basis, tons of self-help books devoured (if only I could understand what was going on in my ex's mind - then I could save things) and many hours (yes, hours) spent sitting on the floor of my tub under a scalding hot shower (it's one of the rare things that calms me down from a panic/anxiety attack). But I dealt with it. I let it all in and at times I let it eat me right up. But I played with those emotions and let myself feel them. I didn't shoo them away or ignore them. I let them in. And it was brutal. 

On the backend I started making moves though. While I was a pile of depression, I still forced myself to try to live life (and I have kids so I kind of have to - I can't sit in the bathroom all day). My kids were my saving grace - they were the reason I NEEDED to get out of bed and make meals, that I NEEDED to get out of the house for the day, that I NEEDED to slap a smile on my face when all I wanted to do was crumble into a tiny ball. So we did stuff. We went to festivals, to the store, to parks, on playdates. I started bringing them to a weekend exercise class too! I went out and looked for apartments and the first one I visited, I signed a lease for THAT DAY. If I sat on that decision for any longer, it wouldn't have happened. And after my ex told me repeatedly that she wanted a divorce - I made the move to hire a lawyer and I started the process. I may not have wanted the divorce - but I made myself move through it.

When it was time to move out of the home I shared with my ex and officially divvy up our belongings, I made the conscious choice to not take many of our shared/wedding items. I didn't want constant reminders of my ex in my new home. I wanted a fresh start - a place that was all mine. On moving day, I asked my dad to just spend the day with me (I hired movers) to keep me company so I wasn't so sad. We had a good day and even went to dinner afterwards. I decorated MY new home the way I wanted and was so happy to finally be in a space where I wasn't reminded of my ex's existance in every room I was in. I put pictures up of me and my girls. I put together their bedroom furniture and hung stuff on my walls. I proved to myself that I could do it. I could survive.

The first holiday weekend without the girls. I felt alone and bitter. But I hung out with friends and went away to Michigan for the weekend. And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally rolled around - I was in a bit better place knowing that time would have to be split with the girls. My ex and I had stopped all communication that wasn't related to the girls by then. No social media friendships, no random texting, no sharing of our lives. It helped me move past connecting my life to hers. And on the day she told me she was dating someone new (in January), I choked back the information and then fell to my knees in tears once I got home. After that big cry I felt a lightbulb come on. Something changed in me. My ex was officially no longer mine (I mean she wasn't before then but ...). I was free.

I wasn't exactly ready immediately, to start dating myself - but my heart was free. It changed the way I saw my ex, it changed the way I felt about her. And over time, I was able to open my heart to someone else. The idea of dating has become less terrifying. And now my ex and I have an amicable relationship and can talk about things going on in our perspective lives, outside of the girls, without drama. I NEVER thought I'd be in this spot emotionally in less than a year. 

So I guess my only advice on how to move through the pain is to let it in. Feel it and deal with it in whatever way that works best for you. But don't ignore it. Don't shoo it to the corner of your mind. Process that shit. Because the day that your lightbulb comes on and your heart is finally free - it'll be the best day you have in a long time. You'll feel GENUINE happiness (have you felt that in a while?), you'll be able to give your heart to someone else, and you'll be able to move forward in your life. And you owe yourself that. 

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