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Do these words resonate with you – “my marriage is over, what do I do now?”
Well, you just need to suck it up because the recovery phase is about to start. The longer you delay it the worse it will be for you.
Many people hang onto some hope they can put their marriage back together but rarely, if ever, does that occur. By admitting my marriage is over, you know deep down this is it.
There are seven stages of grief that will confront you over the months ahead during the recovery stage. How you deal with and handle them will determine how you come out the other side.
By telling you my story, I hope you’ll be motivated not to follow in my footsteps. It’s embarrassing and not a road you want to go down.
What should have been a simple recovery phase turned into a three year nightmare that cost me a lot, both financially and mentally. It still haunts me today. I hope you avoid going down this treacherous path.
My Marriage Is Over
“I don’t love you anymore”.
Those words still resonate and rattle every nerve in my body as I sit here fifteen years later thinking about one of the worst moments in my life. Worse still, I didn’t even get the chance to ask why?
The clicking sound on the other end of the line was akin to a guillotine blade heading down its support grooves. Instead of slicing my neck clean off, it deviated to my heart and, well, you get the picture.
My marriage is over, just like that. Sitting there with a hollow feeling and wondering what just happened.
My initial pain was masked by the adrenaline from the shock but when it finally wore off, there was no escaping it.
In the old days, they would have called this a “Dear John” letter. Not sure the phone version is any better. So what did just happen?
The death of a marriage isn’t instant. It takes place over time.
The culmination of that death knell moment was a result of bad management.
In my case, seventeen years of it.
I tried to pinpoint the reasons why it failed for what seems like an eternity afterwards.
As a career-driven individual, I moved a lot. That’s the pitfall of climbing the success ladder.
My wife was a “stay closer to home” type of gal. I knew it but for me, the risks were worth it. I had made one move too many.
A Marriage Over But There Are Two Sides To The Story
There are two sides to this story and in another post, I’ll expand on this.
So what’s the point? Reactions to a marriage/relationship break up can be many and varied. Mine was one of self-sabotage.
I sabotaged my standing at work, my side hustle business, my friendships and almost sabotaged my relationship with my son.
No, I didn’t go ballistic. I went the other way. I disappeared off the radar.
For almost three years, self-pity consumed every minute of my day. I withdrew from everything I was involved in. I went to work but was invisible.
Then I ignored my people in my side hustle who relied on me to help them build theirs. I refused to answer the phone, even my parent’s calls. I escaped. How?
My way of dealing with the pain was to lock myself in my apartment, watch countless Blockbuster videos, have my groceries delivered…there’s more but I think I’ll leave it at that.
I strangely found some relief and comfort in forcing myself to become a social pariah. It wasn’t very pretty. Self-sabotage, self-pity, self…call it what you like. Looking back, I cringe at how I allowed it to affect me.
On the bright side, I didn’t go down the usual route of drugs and alcohol. In fact, I kept myself pretty healthy with a regular fitness routine from home.
But the damage I did to myself from a mental point of view was telling.
What started as a self feeling of hurt ended in the unintended consequences of hurting some well-meaning people.
People tried to help, even just to talk but I refused to even acknowledge them. Thankfully, those bridges were eventually mended.
Here’s What I Should Have Done After My Marriage Ended
So why am I even telling you this?
Listen, if you can resonate with this situation and you’re going through the grieving process right now, then what I’m going to tell you might be poison to your ears. But I’ll tell you anyway.
It’s okay to grieve but don’t let it destroy you. I can’t put a time limit on how long you should feel sorry for yourself but don’t let this drag on for a year or more.
It’s a new season. Embrace it.
Get good people around you. At the start you’ll be looking for answers and while you won’t find them, the more you talk it out of your system the better.
But make sure you talk to those you’re comfortable confiding in. If I went back now, I would have no hesitation in going to a counselor. Whatever it took.
Grieving a relationship break up will happen in stages.
Eventually you’ll come out the other side but what you do, and the way you behave during that journey is crucial. Your feelings are going to be all over the place.
The toughest stages for me were the first two…desperate to find answers and denial.That’s when the self pity was at its worst.
The third and fourth stages of bargaining for your relationship again and relapsing, somehow I avoided. I accepted it was over because of what I knew and as I mentioned earlier, this will be another entire blog post all on its own.
The fifth stage of anger was hard to deal with but it helped me face the truth that it was over.
Stage six is one of acceptance and the final stage revolves around hope for the future.
What Was The Takeaway – Final Thoughts
Being on the receiving end of a break up is traumatic.
You’re made to feel, well…like an alien almost, cut off from the world. I doubled down on these feelings which is not recommended.
My marriage is over so what’s the point? I still can’t believe what a “schmuck” I was for going down this dumbass path. So what’s the takeaway here?
Know that grieving is normal but after the initial shock, don’t do it on your own. Grieving is a natural process but without help along the way, it can drag on unnecessarily. Help doesn’t mean you need to broadcast your feelings to the world.
Talk to a trusted friend or better still, a trusted stranger like a counselor. For many, this is a preferred option. Talking it out releases the “pressure valve” of suppressed feelings. Get rid of them.
If you don’t, they’ll decay your soul to a point where your feelings about your own self-worth are bordering on disdain and hostile.
For me, talking down to myself was my biggest mistake and one I wish I could take back. Feeling worthless or not good enough is damaging.
Handling rejection is not in our makeup. Don’t ignore some kind words and the offer of a sounding board.
Can you relate to this? Are you on this path at the moment? Please stop now, it’s not worth it.