There may be times after your break-up or divorce when you question why you are not with your ex. Perhaps, you hear that s/he is with someone else, you have a lonely moment, or, suddenly, you remember a happy time. It’s normal to wonder whether you made the right decision. Very often, life-changing choices seem to come from nowhere, so you second guess them. The truth is they are a heart-gut alliance that is based on years of decoding information and unconsciously amalgamating it. Yes, those decisions appear rash, but they aren’t. When you have moments of self-doubt, try re-balancing that inner emotional gyroscope by asking yourself some simple questions.
A little caveat before I share these with you. You may not be ready do do this exploratory work. It might be too soon, or too intense. If it feels uncomfortable, or accesses overwhelming feelings, wait. You will be ready at some point.
Did your partner share your values? Does s/he now?
Did you really like him/her? Do you now?
Did you respect him/her? Do you now?
Was s/he trustworthy?
Do you truly want this person in your life today?
Do you remember the things that you didn’t like, love, or respect about him/her?
Can you recall times during the relationship when you had a bad gut feeling about something?
Was s/he truthful, dependable, kind?
Did you feel cherished?
Did you feel respected?
If there were children did you agree on how to raise them?
If your children are adults do you agree on how to relate to them now?
Did you fight fair or dirty?
Did your ex keep you from friends and/or family?
Did s/he encourage and support your interests, work, and leisure choices?
Were you sexually compatible?
Was there physical abuse?
Was there emotional battering?
Did you enjoy the same things? Would you now?
I didn’t ask if you loved your mate because I believe what Deepak Chopra, M.D. said many years ago about people living together for a long time. His idea was we share so many physically close moments our subatomic particles become intertwined. It’s an extreme case of how you could be breathing a molecule that Mozart breathed centuries ago, but ramped up exponentially. According to Deepak, we are connected more deeply every day we spend together. So, a 20 year relationship is cellularly glued more strongly than one that lasted five years. This subatomic super glue is what feels physically painful when we separate. It’s practically impossible to distinguish what’s the glue, what’s the love, and what’s the ego. I believe your ability to love is not in question. Your compatibility with your ex is. The ego suffers loss when you divorce and that can be very difficult to separate from love and habit, whatever we may think.
What makes this process so confounding is that no one is all bad. As I’ve said before, even Hitler was nice to his dog. You will remember good times. If there weren’t any you would never have been with this soul in the first place.
This process requires you to open your head and heart and to entertain some measure of inner contradiction. It’s that cognitive dissonance that really twists us up inside. As children we saw the world as black or white; now, in adulthood, we understand almost everything is on a continuum of gray. But, when faced with our own emotional pain we want a simpler template. Unfortunately, there isn’t one. Perhaps, the hardest part of healing from a break-up or divorce is allowing all your truths. There were good times and bad ones. There was love, respect, and affection. Why be so surprised, when you know that everything dies, to have your primary relationship change in ways that make it no longer tenable? Yet, who isn’t rocked with shock when a relationship seems to suddenly bite the dust?
You may be unable to parse out every detail that led to your break-up, but, gradually, things will come into focus and your decision will make sense. The good and bad memories, the agreements and disagreements, truths and lies will coalesce into one multi-faceted experience. It’s yours; own it, with all the raw edges and unknowns. It has brought you to this point on your journey towards wholeness, your true self, and unconditional self-acceptance.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang