How a divorce affects you is completely different to that of how it affects your ex-spouse. You may have an array of emotions that you cycle through at a moment’s notice, and they may have already moved forward from the emotions of the end of the marriage. They may have already moved on.
Whether it is the decision to divorce or the moment when an ex-spouse moves out, the emotional makeup of the situation differs depending on the individuals involved. The same can go for dating or meeting someone new. You still could find yourself reeling from the end of your marriage, and your ex-spouse is starting a new chapter in their own life.
As much as you may be struggling with your feelings, it is important to understand that your ex-spouse is not struggling with theirs. They are not struggling with loyalty to you as you are to them. They are not looking for outlets like writing or interior decorating, in order to process and distract themselves from their feelings. They are dating. They are looking to create a new connection with someone else, and they are not giving you a second thought.
Part of the reason why that can be so difficult to accept is that many simply cannot let go. According to Psychology Today, our minds can often shift bad memories of a lost relationship to the background, sending good memories to the forefront. This leaves us forgetting who the ex-spouse really was and idealizing who we wanted them to be.
Idolization and romanticism
There are many problems that occur when idolization enters a relationship, but one of them that surfaces in situations of divorce is that people forget the problems of the relationship. They forget areas of mistrust. They forget disrespect. They forget everything that they did not like about the relationship and behave as if the ending of the marriage is a surprise.
The reality is that when things are going well in a relationship, rarely will the relationship end without warning. Many people romanticize the time in a relationship where they were at odds as playful banter, when the reality was that fundamental differences were being identified, further dividing the two individuals.
This tends to be romanticizing a relationship that does not exist. They were not in a functional or happy relationship that was mutually beneficial for two people. The idea that it was does not account for the thoughts and feelings of both people. That’s often why individuals may seek a relationship as quickly as possible after a divorce, because they are in search of a relationship with someone who has a clear picture of what the relationship is. They also are not often afraid of taking that relationship public.
Public relationships and children
For those looking for a new, public relationship after a divorce, there are two types of situations that may arise. One involves kids, and the other does not, according to Debra Alper, founder of Life Transitions Counseling and a licensed clinical social worker.
For those with kids, they should only look to involve their new partner once the relationship has become stable enough to trust them to become a regular part of the children’s lives. Alper states that you don’t want to be the parent who introduces their kid to a revolving door of partners and that until there is a high level of certainty that this is going to be a long-lasting, long-term relationship, the partner should not be introduced at all.
For those without children, being in a relationship and being public about it requires you to assess why you want to be public about it. Is it for you? Is it for the new significant other? Is it for your ex-spouse? How much thought are you putting into how they feel? How honest are you being, in regards to this whole situation? These are questions that people have to ask themselves.
Picking up the pieces
For the ex-spouses they leave behind, they have to pick up the pieces. They have to understand their own feelings and accept that their marriage has ended. They have to understand that in order to find someone new like their ex-spouse has, they have to move on.
Even if they are not interested in meeting someone new, they still have to process the end of their marriage. They still have to deal with the fallout from a physical standpoint, an emotional standpoint, and a financial standpoint. They need to understand that everyone has their own timeline where the process their feelings, regarding the end of a marriage. They do not have to feel the way you do.
That being said, it is important to find your own methodology to process your feelings, rather than letting them bottle up inside or compare them to someone else’s. They are yours, and you are allowed to feel sad or hurt. It can be especially helpful to speak to a professional, regarding these feelings and to help yourself move on from them.
However you decide to deal with your feelings is up to you, but do not dwell on the fact that your ex-spouse moved on. Focus on yourself and your future, and you will be better off for it.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.