After my first marriage ended in divorce, I felt lost. I knew how to be a wife and a mother (I could take care of dinner, diapers and paying bills without breaking a sweat), but I forgot how to be me. When you go through a huge loss like a divorce or the death of a spouse, it can be overwhelming and leave you wondering if you will ever be yourself again.
When something has been torn asunder, it literally has been ripped into separate pieces. You used to be part of a “we,” and now you find yourself solo, wondering who you even are on your own. This is not the time to devalue the magnitude of the pain and loss you are feeling. Instead, admit that your life took a detour. Acknowledge what you’re feeling. When you are honest with yourself about the situation and begin to recognize the impact that this breakup has had on you, you can begin the healing process.
During the time following the collapse of a relationship, you should take time to grieve. Whether you’ve been together for two years or thirty-two years, it is normal to mourn. Grieving comes in stages that include denial, anger and even depression. Don’t allow pride to stand in between you and a good therapist who can help you navigate your new territory. Marriages that end aren’t something to just “get over.” Understand that grieving takes time, but you will eventually get through it. By taking a frank look at your part in the breakup, you allow yourself to heal in a healthy way.
Be sure to stay closely connected to family and friends who knew you before your relationship started. The support that these people offer can be a salve to your soul. They will remind you how to laugh, how to relax and eventually how to trust. Allow them to nurture you as you transition back into being single.
Turn To God
As wonderful as friends can be, the best place to be after a breakup is with God. Friends and family will certainly meet you in your pain, but God is the one who understands your broken heart the best. He created you and wants you to live a full life, overflowing with blessings. You are his child and he doesn’t take pleasure when you are hurting.
Showing up at church, even if you haven’t been in a while, is a good place to start. Church is for those who are hurting, not for those who have it all together. Jesus came for the broken, not the perfect. If your church offers a divorce care or grieving group, go! Sitting in a support group will remind you that you aren’t alone in your journey.
There is no set time span as to when you should start dating again. Everyone is different, so don’t feel pressured by someone else’s timeframe. Some single-again people find that they would rather not get into another romantic relationship and enjoy the friendships they’ve developed over the years. Others are excited to date new people and possibly find someone to share the rest of their lives with.
Regardless of where you are in the aftermath of a breakup, remember that you have the ability to choose how you will respond to your situation. No one goes into a new marriage wanting a divorce, but roughly half of American marriages end up there. So, if you find yourself single again, don’t overlook the fact that you have the choice to be joyful. Happiness is sparked by external circumstances, whereas joy is an internal peace. When you choose to allow God to restore you, you are choosing joy.
As you begin to heal through restored friendships, owning your part of the breakup and especially alone time with God, you will find that you’re feeling a little bit like the “old you” again. The funny part is that you’ll really feel more like a “new you.” All that you’ve gone through during this time of loss has actually changed you – hopefully for the better.
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