Get Over It: I Can't Move On From My Divorce. What Am I Doing Wrong?

By: Christina Pesoli
Last Update: October 30, 2016

Dear Christina,

A little over seven months ago, I was totally blindsided by the discovery that my husband was having an affair. I had always been very clear with him that cheating would be a total deal breaker for me. I never in a million years thought my husband would end up being That Guy.

When I discovered his infidelity, I threw it into high gear, kicked him out of the house, hired a lawyer, and filed for divorce.  Within six months, the divorce was wrapped up. I got a favorable settlement, both money-wise and custody-wise.

I always heard that going through the divorce was the worst part – and once that was over, things would get better. But things haven’t gotten better.  In fact, they’ve gotten worse.

There’s nothing technically stopping me from starting a new chapter of my life, but for some reason I can’t seem to move forward. 

What am I doing wrong?

Signed,

Stuck in Limbo

______________________________________

Dear Stuck,

You’re not doing anything wrong.  Most people realize their marriage isn’t going well long before someone files for a divorce. At some level, they are working on coming to terms with things before the legal work even begins. That work continues while they slog through the legal process.  You didn’t get a chance to do any of that because you were blindsided.

Discovering that your husband was cheating was a huge shock.  And because of your (completely understandable) position on infidelity, the situation was very black and white for you. He cheated. You had to divorce him. Getting your divorce done then became Job One for you; and that laser beam focus prevented you from (or allowed you to avoid) dealing with the emotional fallout from everything that had happened.

Now that the paperwork side of your divorce is over, there’s nothing to shield you from your emotions. Even though the cause of the divorce was black and white, there’s still a lot to sort out.  You were blindsided.  You were betrayed.  Your marriage has ended.  Your life today looks very different from what it looked like a year ago, and from the one you imagined for yourself.  That’s a lot to process. 

Rather than avoiding this work, accept that it must be done in order to get past your divorce.  It’s every bit as important as the legal work. Allow yourself to process these emotions.  Give yourself permission to grieve. Lean on friends and family. And if you need more help, hire a therapist.

Given that the paperwork is done, but emotional work is still ahead, I’d say you’re about halfway to the finish line.  Once you process the emotional aspects of your divorce, you will be able to close the book on the experience and begin a new story.

Good luck!

Christina  


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