Sometimes, it happens. You divorce or breakup and realize there are still feelings there for your ex.
Of course, this is natural. Some of us will always feel a certain love or affection for our former spouse or lover. This week, I answer Sharon’s question about being in that space for 18 years.
The 3 main tips I share with her are:
1. Accept that you may never have the closure you desire. Lean into that feeling and get on with your life, Sassy Pants!
2. Play a game with yourself in which you remove the possibility for a future relationship with your ex. How would you spend your days, weeks, months differently? Now go do that!
3. Realize that you deserve more. Begin to take off your “rose-colored glasses” and see him and the relationship in a different light.
It sounds kind of hard at first, doesn’t it? I mean who wants to be grateful during a breakup? How DO you get over a divorce breakup and be appreciative all at the same time? It can be done. It will brighten your day and you deserve a brighter day, right, Dearie?
Here’s a few easy steps to take:
1. Be thankful that you’re no longer in the relationship. You might be thinking ~ What? My heart is broken. I’m NOT thankful for that. You’re crazy! I get it. However, if you think about it for a moment, even if you miss him, there are definitely things about him and maybe some of his annoying habits that you’re grateful you won’t ever have to endure again. Piles of dirty clothes on the bedroom floor? Never again. Chewing with his mouth open? Huh-uh. Never again. Whatever it happens to be, there ARE some things that you WON’T miss.
2. Be thankful for something you’ve learned from the relationship. Maybe you’ve learned that you’re a lot stronger than you thought you were. Maybe you’ve learned that you want to be with someone with certain personality traits that your ex didn’t have. Is there a new hobby you’d like to try? If you look back at the relationship as only a waste of your time, then you’re missing out on the valuable life lessons it has to offer. If what you take from the end of a relationship helps your future, then you didn’t waste a single second of your life.
3. Be thankful for the loving people around you. Typically, we’ve all got a cheering section during a breakup. Sometimes, it’s a few friends that have been with you through thick and thin. Other times, you’ve got a great family connection with lots of support. If you’re lucky, it’s both. Take a moment to think of these awesome people and feel gratitude for their presence in your life. After all, isn’t life a whole lot more fun with them in it?
4. Be thankful for all the “things” you have around you. This step is pretty cool if you allow it to be unlimited. This means you can be thankful for everything from your comfy warm bed to the new boots you just bought that you love to the pretty little bird outside your window that stops by for just a second. Look around for a minute, find things to be grateful for and improve your mood. It’s that simple!
5. Be thankful for your kick-butt self! Yes ~ YOU! Come on…admit it…you’re pretty special. You rock. You’ve got a stunning future ahead of you. You are powerful. We all know you’re beautiful. Take a moment to be grateful for YOU. If you get a chance to peek in the mirror, do some mirror work. Gaze into your eyes and tell yourself ~ I love you! What’s your best feature? Admire it. Own it. Work it! You, my friend, are splendid!
Traci Vincent, a yoga instructor/blogger, writes about appreciation, “These small pulses of gratitude and thankfulness start my day off in a positive direction. The more I’ve practiced this throughout the day when I think about it, the more “muscle” I’ve built in my positive mind. This has thereby increased my reserve of positive emotions and helped me become more resistant to negative emotions.”
Having a thankful heart while getting over a breakup is a perfect way to take stock of all the good in your life. Sometimes, it’s easy to overlook this good when heartbreak takes over. This Thanksgiving, set aside some time to revel in appreciation!
I am grateful that you have taken the time to read this blog post. It is truly a blessing to be able to pass on information and knowledge that I have discovered along my journey. Happy Thanksgiving and many blessings to you and your loved ones.
What does self-reliance during a breakup mean?
Why do the words “self” and “reliance” seem difficult to swallow right now?
Probably because the idea of turning inward for solace rather than outward seems nearly unbearable, right? It feels good to talk it over with someone that cares about you; doesn’t it? I hate to admit this but I know that I was a big pain-in-the-you-know-where to some of my friends and family members when I would go through a breakup. I didn’t mean to be. I didn’t “want” to be. It just so happened that I was. Sometimes, do you wish you could rely a little bit more on yourself than others? It can come in handy, say, in the middle of the night when you’re feeling really sad. Or when the radio plays “your song.” Actually, I’m sure that there are many opportunities during the course of any given day where helping yourself through the breakup would feel really good. Also, last time I checked, YOU are available at all times.
So what does that look like? How does it feel? Let’s dive in and find out.
1. Talk yourself through it. If you’re alone, I suggest doing this out loud. If people nearby are going to think you’re a nut case, by all means have the conversation internally or in a journal or piece of paper. You can ask yourself questions like:
- What could I do right this very moment to make myself feel better?
- In the BIG picture, how important is this? Be honest! I know that I “occasionally” made an earth-shattering occurrence out of something really quite frivolous. It’s hard to admit that now…so I’ll move on.
- Does this really deserve my energy right now? Is it something I need to address immediately? If it’s not (which it probably isn’t), then make a choice to turn your all-important attention elsewhere.
2. Slowly start to limit your calls/emails to others. I understand this can be difficult at first. It’s okay to take baby steps. I am in no way implying that you shouldn’t have conversations with supportive people in your life. You absolutely should. However, if you’re contacting a few treasured folks multiple times a day perhaps try to shave off one call during that day. That’s it. Pretty easy, right? As you begin to feel more mighty, you can pare the contact down as you see fit. It boosts your confidence as I explain below.
3. Choose an activity that refocuses your attention. At some point, make a list of things you like to do. You could make two lists ~ one for work and one for home. It ought to be something really simple and easy to do but fun just the same ~ something that makes you smile and feels good. Maybe it’s playing a game with your kids or giving yourself a manicure or reading your favorite book. Then when you’re struggling, you whip out your list, wherever you happen to be and choose one of the ideas on your list to do right NOW…and then do it.
So…what are some of the benefits of self-reliance?
First of all, if you rely more on YOU, you get to rely less on others. Sometimes, I felt like I could actually hear my friend’s eyes rolling as we chatted about my saga for the THIRD time that day. It wasn’t her fault at all. I would call her at the drop of a hat…whenever I had an emotion to share…or another reason why he was a cad…or whatever minute detail occurred to me about him as I went through the day. Then I’d hash it out with her…and rehash it…and then rehash the topics of our first two calls that day. Gees, no wonder she was rolling her eyes! Just thinking about it now makes me roll mine. Do you have a friend or sister/mother/aunt like this? They’re your go-to person. If they’re not accessible at the very moment you need them, you fret until they call you back. Or you move on to no. 2 on your list of buddies and so on and so on and so on. If you don’t mind me saying, this is a pretty sucky cycle. Wouldn’t it feel better if YOU felt your emotions and then comforted yourself through them?
Secondly, you may be surprised by a new confidence that starts creeping up inside you. It feels good to triumph through some momentary anguish, come out on top and give yourself a high 5 for doing it alone. Yep. Just you. You can do it. Each time, you’ll feel a little stronger and stronger and stronger. It’s a beautiful thing. No one can take it from you, either. You earned it and you get to keep it, Gorgeous!
Relying on YOU during a breakup is a way to be gentle and loving towards yourself. It means that no matter what happens during your day ~ you KNOW that you can and will maintain your sassiness ~ no question about it!
Ahhh, yes, the good ol’ weekend is upon us. Do you remember the days when you couldn’t WAIT for Friday afternoon? The rush of the anticipated weekend plans kept you going all week? Then…you find yourself un-coupled and sometimes, when you’re coping with divorce or a breakup, weekends take on a new meaning. I remember those dark days well. My excitement was replaced by anxiety. Sooooooo…how was I going to fill my time? I mean big, huge CHUNKS of time ~ not just an extra minute or two here and there. The planless weekend seemed like it would swallow me up. Either that, or I’d emerge Monday morning with tear-swollen eyes and remnants of Ben & Jerry’s in the corners of my mouth. The weekends became my enemy.
It really wasn’t so bad if I had my daughter. She kept me pretty busy and we’d go here and there and have fun. But the weekends without her…oh, dear. If you understand where I’m coming from, I’ve got a few tips that will help you get through the dreaded weekend. Soon enough, I was actually enjoying myself just a wee bit. Then more and more and more until finally…I RELISHED every moment alone! That’s right. Just me, myself and I having a great time! Woo Hoo!
Try these out if this weekend feels like this to you:
1. Make a serious plan of action. Not kidding. DECIDE what you’re going to do with your weekend. Take the power back. Make a little list with each half hour of the weekend and figure out how you’re going to spend it. Maybe you’ve got some plans. Maybe you NEED some plans. If you already know what you’re going to do, it takes the edge off. P.S. Make sure you’ve got some fun in there!
2. Do something alone that you’ve always wanted to do. I went to an art gallery opening once. Yeah, I’ll admit…it was a tad awkward but guess what? I had fun anyway. I felt good being out and about and I was proud of myself for doing it alone.
3. Head to the nearest book store or coffee shop. So what if the Friday night crew at my local Borders knew me by first name? I liked being there and immersing myself in a book or two took my mind off other “things.” Sometimes, we don’t need to really engage other people ~ but just being in their presence helps our own energy to soar.
4. If you want to feel bad, then feel bad. However ~ and I’ve said this before ~ this is a “timed” activity. Give it all you got for 10 minutes and then move on to being happier and sassier, Sweet Stuff!
5. If you need overstimulation, go for it. When I was feeling lonely, if I kept my house really quiet…I began noticing just how quiet it was. No child. No husband. No laughter. Ugh!! So silence really bothered me for a while. I’m not a huge fan of TV (unless it’s shameful reality TV like The Bachelor or Keeping Up With the Kardashians) but boy, I had it on all the time ~ just for background noise. I’d read a book and watch TV and do my nails while checking email ~ you get the picture. It’s okay to be in this space for a while.
6. Bonus tip!! Remember the quote: This too shall pass. Let that sink in. It’s hopeful and it’s true. Time passes. Heartbreak eases. You find joy again.
All right, Sassy Pants, now get out there and get your weekend on!
As some of you may know, I like to get out in the local community and connect with others. One of the ways that I do this is having an exhibitor’s booth at community events. I did just that on July 26. To set the stage, this is an outdoor event called MarketFest. It runs from 6 to 9 p.m. The night began gloriously. Not a cloud in the beautiful Minnesota sky. It was a bit windy but I was going with the flow. Around eight o’clock, the sky began to darken a bit. Oh, well ~ I thought to myself ~ we’re almost done. It will be okay.
Guess what? Right after that, the weather began to change rapidly. My husband had just arrived to visit and he had to park our vehicle six blocks away because the Fest was so busy. The wind began to howl. Everyone scattered. Next, I could hear LARGE droplets of rain start to pelt my tent. I started to chuck all my materials, tablecloths, etc. into my bins. The tent was in danger of being blown away so we had to try to get that down as quickly as possible. Once we had everything ready to go…you guessed it…my husband had to run/walk six blocks to get our truck so we could load everything in it. Luckily, I had brought an umbrella. Also, right before this little adventure began, I had ducked out to grab a burrito at one of my favorite food trucks. I had time to kill, a storm blowing through, my burrito and an umbrella.
My choices were: Try to find cover, surrender my burrito and shrug my shoulders in defeat
pull up a chair, enjoy my burrito and let nature take its course.
I went with the latter option. I sat quietly at my table, soaking wet, my umbrella trying its best to keep me dry, savoring every bite of my yummy food ~ with a big smile on my face. I knew I wasn’t in real danger because it wasn’t an electrical storm. It was only wind and rain and some discomfort. I tried to make the best of it. People around me thought I was nuts ~ I’m sure of that.
Why do I share this with you? Because I know that dealing with a divorce or breakup is a similar situation. You feel a little scared and out of control. Nothing’s in its place anymore. You wonder when it will end. It’s uncomfortable. It can be dark. You can feel alone.
Carlos Castaneda, a well-known spiritual author, said, “We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same.”
So I ask you: Next time you feel scared, uncomfortable or uncertain, what will you choose? Are you going to be lost in the dark abyss or go WITH the flow and come out on the other side feeling stronger and more confident than ever?
Since I know how amazing you are, I know you’ll choose to enjoy the burrito in the rain.
Have you ever found yourself languishing at the end of a relationship? You know in your heart that it’s over. There’s no going back to “the way we were.” But now you’re stuck. How do you move forward INTO a divorce or breakup? What does that look like? What needs to happen?
I remember when I worked at a family law firm many years ago. The two busiest times of the year in family law are always September and January. Why? Because so many people are either trying to “just get through the summer” or “just get through the holidays” before ending their relationship. It’s usually these couples that have children too. In their mind, they don’t want to ruin summer vacation or Christmastime with a divorce or breakup. They’ll wait until the “fun” of the holidays is over before dropping the bomb. Does this sound familiar?
I have often been asked if I help people who know their marriage isn’t working and hasn’t been enjoyable for years but they don’t know how to get out of it. My answer is always no because it’s really a personal choice to end a relationship. However, I’m going to share my own story about being in that limbo space because I know how much it sucks.
You see, I wasn’t happy in my second marriage AT ALL. I found out about my ex-husband’s four-year-long affair about the time of our tenth anniversary. I was completely shocked. However, I didn’t want to break up our family so I really really tried to make it work. That task was made even more difficult by his attitude that it was “my problem” to get over it sooner rather than later. I was miserable with a capital M! I didn’t trust him and he did nothing to help me regain that trust. He still went out with his buddies to clubs on Friday nights and stayed out until 3 a.m. He lied to me about things. It was a big challenge to be in a relationship with him. Yet, each day went by. Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months ~ you get the picture. I would fantasize about a life without him and feel a mixture of fear and relief. Doubt was also in that picture. I doubted that I could make it all work (finances, family, work, security, etc. etc.) without him. I started to hope for a sign ~ a sign that I should end this relationship. Something concrete. Something definite.
I lived on for months. Waiting…waiting. But then it came ~ in a huge ball of freedom and pain. Two-plus years after finding out about the first affair, I found out about another one. Even though it was extremely painful, I HAD MY SIGN! That was a pivotal moment in my life. I decided that the pain of being in this relationship was greater than my fear of the unknown without it. I have never once looked back and thought, “Gee, did I make the right decision there?” I ABSOLUTELY know I did.
I didn’t realize how unhappy I was in that marriage until a few months into my new life. I began to feel a lightness about me. It felt so good to move toward that. I also recognized a tremendous hidden strength that I never knew I had inside me. I COULD make it through this challenging time and I DID!
So I write this post today to share with you an end ~ that was actually a fresh new beginning. Let’s hear it for starting over with sass!
As I’m sure you can guess by the title of this blog, it has to do with shame and looking for love in all the wrong places. What? The title didn’t give that away?
Well, let me explain it further as a lesson of what NOT to do when you’re going through a breakup or any rough time for that matter.
DON’T SUBSTITUTE. That’s what I was doing. I was using QVC. Of course, they didn’t mind it one bit. They were happy to be my new love. I got a bit of a rush as I dialed the 800 number to place my order. Sometimes, there was adrenaline pumping through my veins as I realized that they were almost sold out of my size – Hurry! Hurry! Dial faster! Whew! I am SO lucky that I secured my seventh gray sweater! Okay. So I’m being funny here but there was another rush when the UPS guy (who I knew better than some of my relatives) would drop off a package for me. It was even better if I forgot what I ordered so the contents of my package were a complete surprise! Wow! However, I’d run up to my bedroom, try it on and…nothing. I’m not saying they don’t have nice things on QVC, but I was typically disappointed. Back it went. Back I went to the TV for my next fix.
It’s no surprise that I didn’t have a lot of excitement going on in my life at the time. I was bored. I felt unloved. I felt like I “deserved” these things after what I’d been through. But what could a Diamonique necklace really do for my life? Could it entertain me with stimulating conversation? No. Could we share a joke and laugh until we cried? No. Would it buy me a margarita? No. I was trying to find excitement and adventure through material things but it was a fleeting hope. As my Visa card was barely speaking to me, I became aware that I needed to start building a life – my own life.
How freakin’ (excuse this word but it really is necessary in this sentence) scary was that? Yeah. Really scary. Have you ever substituted one thing for another in your life? I had substituted QVC for finding some adventure on my own. That’s the funny thing about adventure ~ it doesn’t come searching for you. You have to go out and get it.
I started to think about what I liked to do. Hmmmm. That lead to a bigger question: WHO am I? What do I stand for? Whoa. It was at that moment that I contemplated just how much of myself I had surrendered in my previous relationship.
If this sounds like you, then I’d ask you to consider a few questions:
What did you enjoy pursuing when you were single?
Is there an activity that puts a smile on your face just thinking about it? When was the last time you did that?
Is there an adventure you’ve always dreamed of undertaking but shied away from actually doing?
Name 3 personality traits you embody that you’re proud of such as smart, honest, generous, gorgeous, etc. ~ you get the picture.
In the next blog, I’m going to share how I started to find out who I was. It’s definitely not what you’re expecting. I’ll also share some tips on how you can begin down your own path to finding out who you are and loving every minute of it!