Have you ever had this happen before? You think it’s bad enough that HE’S no longer in your life. Then you get the added slap in the face that his family suddenly doesn’t want anything to do with you, either.
Forget all the holidays you’ve shared, all the laughs ~ even the big life moments like weddings, children being born, 1st birthday parties, etc.
What about those shopping trips with his sisters? Going out for lunch? Calling his mom for cooking advice?
How could this be happening? What did he tell them? Why are they all unfriending me on Facebook? What did I do?
Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, it goes and does.
Yes, it’s painful. You don’t understand it. I adds another layer of uncertainty and ick value to this whole breakup/divorce thing you’ve got going on already. Your mind can run wild with different reasons and possible scenarios that led to this outcome. Enough already!
So what do you do in this situation?
The way I see it, you’ve got two choices, My Darling.
1) Take it personally. This choice is very popular. However, it usually leads straight to a pity party of epic proportions. Why me? Am I THAT bad of a person? In their mind, of course, their son, brother, nephew, etc. can do no wrong! It must be all my fault! How could they think that?
Also, this choice CANNOT lead to a higher self-esteem for you, Gorgeous! It only leads to more self-doubt and possibly some good old-fashioned self-loathing. Is this your idea of a fun Friday night? No way!
2) Let it go. This choice can be a bit tough. After all, your thoughts keep returning to the hurt that this causes and what it says about YOU. However, if you think about it, it says more about THEM…right?
Also, who knows why they’re doing it? Not you. Maybe your ex specifically asked or even forbade them from communicating with you. Maybe they think what they’re doing shows their family loyalty and therefore, it’s the right thing to do.
Maybe they feel so bad about the situation that they don’t know what to say. Then it becomes easier for them to say nothing ~ especially if it’s uncomfortable for them. Maybe they know that their son, brother, etc. was kind of a jerk and so that’s embarrassing too. They can’t deal.
Are any of the above situations really about YOU at all? Nope.
So why would you waste your precious energy worrying yourself about it, My Fabulous Angel?
Yes, it hurts. There’s no getting around the fact that you’ll need to grieve the loss of these relationships. It’s gotta happen. If it makes you feel any better, lots of sassy ladies have done it before you and ended up ~ what ~ completely okay with it.
That’s the thing about our lives ~ people move in and out. Sometimes, they’re with us for it all. Sometimes, just for a split second. As the saying goes, “When someone walks out of your life, let them. They are just making room for someone better to walk in.”
I know what you’re thinking already ~ How could I POSSIBLY forgive him for what he’s done? For all the pain he’s caused me? For abandoning me and our future? NOT gonna happen!
Now, don’t get me wrong. Most people feel like forgiving someone means that you’re somehow suggesting what they did was okay. That IS part of it. However, the reason I’m bringing this up is to help YOU. As John Green says, “The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.”
You see, forgiving someone actually helps you in a multitude of different ways. First, it alleviates some stress. You feel lighter. You feel happier. You feel empowered.
Second, it helps with the energy drain that we typically suffer from while coping with a divorce/breakup. As we begin to forgive, the negative thoughts of him and the relationship start to fall away. We bring that energy back to ourselves and our lives and it helps us focus on the future and what really matters. Yay! Bonus!
Third, your confidence and strength is boosted through forgiveness. Have you heard the saying, “It takes a big person to forgive”? I think it’s our innate desire to forgive those that have wronged us. It does take some gumption and your self-esteem gets the benefit. You feel good!
Forgiveness truly is giving up the wish that things could be different. Yes, do you perhaps wish you had married someone else? Do you wish you would have left two years ago instead of letting it drag on? Sure.
However, no one can change the past. What happened ~ happened.
The question then becomes, My Sassy Darling: What are you going to do with it? Will you let it affect your precious present moment? Will you let it affect your future? Are you going to hang on to the past with both hands? OR release it with a gentle smile?
I know it can be tough and it IS a process. It’s simple to think, “Oh, I forgave so-and-so.” However, when it comes right down to it, you still feel ugly feelings and harbor a grudge. That’s natural. That’s why this is a process. It chips away at the hurt and negativity. You feel better each time you do it.
Here are a few tips on starting the forgiveness process:
1. Find a peaceful spot where you won’t be interrupted.
2. You can either write it out or say it out loud. It’s important to either write it OR verbalize it rather than just thinking it.
3. So you start out with, “I understand that ____________.” Go on and on until you get it all out.
For example: I understand he wasn’t faithful to me. I understand it wasn’t my fault. I understand he left his dirty underwear all over the bedroom floor. (*Smile*) I understand that he is selfish. I understand that he hurt me. I understand that he did this and this. Just lay it all out there.
4. When you get to the end of the list, then say or write, “_________ (insert name), I understand all of these things and I forgive you.”
5. Slowly exhale and feel the release.
At first, it may be difficult to wrap your head around this exercise. It seems like you’re giving him a free pass for breaking your heart.
Actually, you’re giving yourself a gift. Remember that, Sweet Pea.
This is also helpful if you want to forgive yourself for something or for anyone in your life you’d like to forgive such as parents, friends, the guy that cut you off in traffic, etc.
So just remember: There’s no right or wrong way to forgive. There’s no time limit and no rules. It’s simply a great way for you to move on with your fabulous amazing future!
Here’s a question I recently received from Karen:
Q: Hi, Laura. This is more of an OMG. I am feeling sorry for myself but here we go: My fiance of two years and I just recently split up. I have two children from a previous relationship but they have called him Dad a good majority of the time. Maybe a bad move on my part?
Now that we’ve split, he as completely cut the kids and me out of his life. Mind you, it’s only been two weeks but he’s already blocked my number and if there has been contact, it’s been on my part.
All he can say is that he is happier, that I need to move on and that he’s not going to allow me to guilt trip him into continuing a relationship with the kids. This is coming from a man who talked about adopting them at one point.
I am caught in a world of hurt. Sometimes, the pain is just unbearable. I’m left wondering how he could just move on and not care about the kids.
I though maybe you could help me understand and work through this. ~ Karen
A: Oh, Karen, My Darling, I completely understand that you’re dealing with a lot right now.
I’m certain that your pain is coming from not only your own loss of the relationship but also how his absence is affecting your children.
Since I’m unsure of what caused the relationship to end and who broke it off, I’ll just assume that it was a surprise to you. I’m also going to assume that his behavior since has also caught you off guard.
Tips for managing right now:
1. Put a time limit on your negative emotions. I’ve said this in past articles before but it’s really helpful. When you begin to feeling really down or like you need a good cry, don’t try to stop it. Just say to yourself, “Okay. Bring it. You’ve got ten minutes and then you’re done.” It’s good to feel like you’re the boss of your emotions and not the other way around. After the ten minutes (and use a timer if you need it), it’s OVER. You MOVE ON to an activity that you enjoy.
2. Lean into the knowledge that you may never know why this happened. As you’re reacting to his aloofness, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Who is this person? How could he just walk away from us? Why does it seem so easy for him to disconnect and move on? Did he ever really love me and the kids?”
These are thoughts that definitely cross our minds when our ex is acting in ways we never thought possible. Sadly, it happens and the questions regarding why can seem all-consuming.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you’ll probably never know what really happened here. People change. People make choices that don’t make sense and hurt others.
It doesn’t sound like he’s open to giving you any information about why he’s acting the way he’s acting. So, you’re left in that position of wondering…why? why? why?
It’s uncomfortable and you’d really like to know ~ how did we get here? What could I have done to prevent this from happening?
Beating yourself up at a time like this does you no good, Sassy Pants. Even though it’s painful, you may have to begin getting comfortable with the idea you’ll never know exactly what happened and why.
3. Count your blessings. If this is the REAL him, would you want to be with him for the rest of your life? Really? He’s showing you right now who he really is and guess what? It’s not pretty, Girlfriend. Be grateful that you found this out now and not later. I know it hurts but what if you two had gotten married and he pulled this? What if he had already adopted the children and then pulled this? That would be even more difficult. So…while it may be hard to imagine this being more painful, it undoubtedly would be if it happened down the line instead of now.
Karen, my heart goes out to you. Please know that you are strong and you WILL get through this. Countless women have been where you are today and have gone on to lead even MORE FABULOUS lives than they ever imagined ~ and so will you!