Our 2014 blog series has focused on a variety of emotional steps throughout the separation process. Last month I covered dating after divorce and this month I’m taking on the topic of breakups. And not the breakup you've already experienced through your separation or divorce, but the ones that come after that.
It’s inevitable that you will dive back into the dating pool and this experience alone can bring up any number of things that may surprise you (check out last month’s post here for more details). But once you move past the casual dating stage with someone and you are again in a fully committed relationship, the stakes can seem even higher.
It’s exciting to fall in love again and experience a new relationship! But what happens if that relationship doesn't work out?
I’ve seen my clients struggle through breakups after divorce and I’ve noticed a few common themes.
Regret – This is the hardest emotion I've seen clients face and it brings with it a flood of confusion. When you’re getting divorced, you may have experienced excitement around all of the possibilities for your life. You might have even day dreamed about who you could date or finding the perfect person for you. So when a committed relationship falls apart, it can be devastating to realize that you have to experience the breakup all over again.
I’ve seen clients start to question their divorce and wonder if they made the right decision in the first place. This is dangerous territory! And yet it’s completely natural.
It’s easy to look back and wish you had done something differently, but it’s important to forgive yourself and others if you want to move forward.
Setbacks – Many people feel like they’re back to “square one” after another breakup. The thought of having to start over again with someone else can seem daunting and impossible. This feeling often comes hand-in-hand with regret.
Again, it’s important to focus on where you are today, rather than time travel to the past or future. You already moved forward once and you will be able to do it again.
Introspection – Any time we experience heartache, we tend to look inward and ask questions. This isn’t a bad thing! At times it can feel uncomfortable to uncover your patterns and notice the ways you show up in your relationships. It’s like peeling back another layer of the onion and discovering new things to work on. And that’s the good news. The self-reflection that follows a breakup is a great space to learn more about yourself, get clear on what you’re looking for in a partner, and recommit to your own personal growth.
Throughout these themes and emotional experiences, it’s important to focus on how you want to feel in your life. Most likely, this feeling is what led you to divorce and kept you focused throughout the process, even if things got hard or were overwhelming.
Breakups after divorce are no different.
By consistently focusing on how you want to feel in your life, you can navigate the emotions that accompany heartache and come out clearer and happier on the other side.