What Happens When Happily Ever After Doesn’t Happen?

For most people, when they said I do, they could not imagine that in time they would be saying-I don’t anymore. So much of our live are intertwined to relationships with others that when one of the deepest, most important relationship we can experience is broken, life does not seem to make sense anymore. The realization that the dreams we had planned to share with our spouse will never occur can be devastating. Often times people try to downplay their negative feelings and grief over the loss of a relationship, but this can be dangerous. Going through a divorce or separation is a major life crisis and it takes time to heal.

Some of the emotional effects of divorce can include: A shattered self image. So much of who we are as individuals is intertwined with being a husband, wife or significant other to another person. When the relationship with that other person ends the parts of us that orbits around the other person also seems to die. Anger is also a healthy, normal response to divorce. If the anger is allowed to escalate into rage or prolonged for a long period then it can become very problematic. Feeling unlovable is also common. Men and women may believe that if the person they were closest to could leave them (especially if it is for someone else), then he or she must not be worthy of receiving love. Fear is another natural reaction to the dissolution of a relationship. Fear of the unknown and giving up comfort zones, income, being the sole provider are all inescapable thoughts.

There are a host of other adjectives that could be used to describe how a person might feel after experiencing the life shattering pain of divorce. Each person is different and will go through the grieving process in their own way experiencing their own set of emotions at their own pace. It is unwise to try to race past these emotions in a desire to be totally and quickly over the pain. Pain can be the touchstone for growth, and experiencing the emotions is part of the journey. Experiencing your feelings, even though it may not seem or feel good, is part of the healing process.

So what do we do when the marriage is over?-In time, make new dreams. Help your children and others to achieve their dreams. Don’t try to rush through the grieving process to get to this point. Most experts agree that generally it will take at least two years to recover from a broken relationship. How long has it taken you to recover from your broken relationship? What positive steps did you take that were helpful to you in the recovery process?