WHO AM I NOW?
Your mate informs you at breakfast that the 30 year plus marriage is over and you will now be alone.....you find information on a cell phone or computer that means you can no longer stay in a committed relationship....someone else has unexpectedly brought vitality into your life and you realize, for the sake of your own well-being, that you have to leave a relationship....there's been too many years of abuse and you finally decide there are more reasons to leave than to stay.. You may have thought the reality of divorce would never become a part of your life. Even if the relationship is not marriage, but a long term, bonded commitment, there are still often legalities to negotiatie....ex., selling a house...similar to divorce. And for sure, there is the painful process of emotional disengagement.
There is a myriad of feelings on many levels when the realization that a marriage or committed relationship has come to an end. There are feelings of shock, loss, betrayal, abandonment, rejection, fear,disappointment and even sometimes relief and intermittent excitement.
The stages of loss and grief will definitely make themselves known...first DENIAL....this can't be happening...ANGER....at the other, self, God, life....BARGAINING......which can sometimes lead to thoughts of suicide the pain is so great.....ACCEPTANCE which is different from resignation....AND, it is the first step to rebuilding....that stage can last for months, even years. These states aren't hard and fast, one could go through one or more a day and back again.
When you look down and see your identity and self-concept in pieces at your feet, it's the rebuilding part that is the most important step. It may take a while to make the decision to move forward and that's all the part of the process. Often, those around you are impatient and expect you to "get over it"....you need to respect your own timing.
So, going from an identity as part of a couple to a healthy redefinition of oneself as "uncoupled" AND of value, takes determination, hard work and courage. A good support system is essential...friends, family, counseling, a support group...all of those things are invaluable in beginning the journey of self-discovery.
The possibilities are endless, actually. Often times adapting to a relationship can mean a stifling of one's own feelings, talents and potential. It can be an exciting revelation to start thinking about interests you may have always had, but didn't think could be expressed within the relationship. Now is the time to give yourself that opportunity. The popular book and movie Eat, Pray, Love is an example of a whole world opening up as a result of a marriage ending.
It is important, however, to honor, respect and acknowledge al the different stages and feelings involved in the end of a relationship and let them take their course. Hurrying to look for another relationship prematurely can lead to repeating the same patterns that didn't work in the past.
A good book for guiding one through this difficult time is REBUILDING WHEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP ENDS, by Fischer. Individual counselling and/or a support group can be invaluable in realizing you are not alone. Just remember, the possibilities can be endless. The reality is that your life will never be the same, AND you can choose to create it however you want it to be.
WHO AM I NOW?