Holistic Divorce Counseling

Holistic Divorce Counseling Nicole S. Urdang, M.S., NCC, DHM, LMHC. Free support, resources, and comfort for all life's issues and transitions.

Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll April 11, 2009


It’s very tempting, when you are suddenly free from the constraints of a committed relationship, to want to party hearty.  But, as my father used to say, “Act in haste and repent at leisure.” By all means, date; but, be careful. I am not simply talking about safety here, or STDs, but your emotional state.  You may think the best thing is to hook up with someone, prove you’re still attractive, make your ex jealous, have some fun, or, simply distract yourself from incessant rumination and grief.


The good news is: it may work.  The bad news is it won’t make the demons go away, and even may bury them deeper.  Believe me, they’ll come out, one way or another.  Perhaps, it will be an illness, a rage that won’t go away, or grief that hits you when you least expect it.  Inner issues demand our attention, and all the distraction we can muster (and obsessive-compulsive/addictive behavior we can engage in) only postpones the inevitable: dealing with reality.


As I have said before: if you’re dealing you’re healing.  If you’re not, you’re setting the stage for greater misery later on.  There are no get-out-of-grief-free cards.


Dating, as ego-boosting as it may be, is fraught with complications.  You may actually meet someone who cares about you, but you aren’t ready for that kind of emotional commitment.  Eventually, when the other person realizes, he or she may be quite smitten and end up devastated.  Do you want to go around hurting people?


Sex, for all its joys, often kindles attachment.  Is it worth the risk of getting attached to someone who may not be right for you, simply because you wanted to get some and prove you’re still desirable?  Or, maybe you weren’t motivated by randiness or ego.  Perhaps, it was loneliness. Everyone feels lonely sometimes.  Here’s a great opportunity to practice loving your own company.  But, that’s not your only option. You can call friends, family, or your local hotline and connect in a way that actually soothes your mind and spirit.


As for drugs, they fall into two categories: recreational and pharmaceutical, and, yes, those can overlap.  When your emotional state is unpredictable the last thing you need is alcohol, uppers, downers, pot, or opiates.  They may take the edge off your pain, but you run the risk of habituation, if not addiction.  Another short-term fix, with the possibility of long-term misery.  As for all those pills your doctor can provide, do you really need them?  What do you think people did before they were available?  OK. Some self-medicated with alcohol and street drugs, but most people just lived through their challenges. You are strong enough to handle what you don’t like.  


Luckily, a feeling isn’t a fact: you may think you can’t stand something, but the very fact of your living and breathing says you can.  You just don’t want to.  It’s not fun, it may even feel horrible; but, you will survive.  Then, later on, after all this is just a memory, your true grit will remain; the confidence that you can handle whatever life throws at you.  We will all face death, divorce (if not our own, someone’s else’s), and illness.  (See The Buddha’s Five Remembrances on the Quotes To Live By page.) The sooner we accept those unpleasant realities, the sooner we will find peace. Here’s a radical thought: try practicing what Jean Vanier says is his life’s work: loving reality.  


Regarding Rock ‘n’ Roll, it’s probably the only thing that won’t come back to bite you.  So crank up the music, get out that air guitar, and let those yayas out.



Copyright Nicole S. Urdang


Sex With Your Soon-To-Be-Ex October 13, 2008


Only you can gauge if sex with your soon-to-be-ex is a good idea. In the short term it may feel wonderful; after all, you may have enjoyed a happy sexual relationship. It’s natural to want some physical affection and attention during this draught, and divorce is fodder for insecurities. What better way to quell those demons than with a rendezvous between the sheets?


First of all, there’s always the possibility it won’t go as well as you imagine; secondly, even if it does, it rarely leads to reconciliation.  If having sex was going to repair your marital issues they probably would have been all sewn up years ago.


Do you have another reason for wanting sex with your ex, or soon-to-be-ex?  Is it to show him or her how you’ve changed?  Have you lost weight?  Learned some new tricks?  Want to make him or her regret the decision to split?  Do you fantasize having another baby?  (A baby could keep you together, but at what cost?  Or, you might decide to end the pregnancy.  This is one of those situations when it’s good to be careful what you wish for because you might get it.  If you’re already a parent, you know how much extra stress a baby brings to a relationship.  Is this the wisest choice?  You may find yourself in the throes of passion and jointly craving the excitement and fantasized marital glue of a new baby; but, one second’s decision can change your life forever.  Think carefully.)


It is axiomatic that separated and divorced people often connect for sexual relief, and its accompanying meta-messages that you are still desirable.  Quite a heady emotional cocktail.  Just be sure your liver can handle the detox and you won’t have a huge hangover in the morning.


If you’re lonely or randy there are other options: call a friend or make a play date with yourself.  The long term consequences of giving in to your momentary craving may create emotional residuals that rock your world more than the best sex.  Short term gain could easily morph to long term pain.


OK, let’s say you decide to have sex with your soon-to-be-ex.  What are the likely consequences?


1. One night of great passion may ignite a reconciliation.  Not likely.  If it were that simple it would have already happened.  And, if the relationship ended because of very different sexual appetites then your suddenly changing your style (i.e. having sex more frequently, or engaging in behaviors you used to shun) may woo your mate back, but you will probably revert to your old preferences as soon as you feel secure in the relationship again. 


2. You might end up feeling guilty because you know you’re definitely divorcing, but you let your momentary desire rule the day.  This could easily make a difficult situation worse: emotionally and legally. The last thing you need is a more scorned, bitter and resentful soon-to-be-ex-spouse.  


3. Your children could wake up, find you together in bed, and assume all’s well.


4. You could get a sexually transmitted disease (STD).  Whatever you think, you don’t know what your mate’s been up to.  So, if you do choose to have sex, use a condom.


5. It may be hard to believe, but you could feel worse afterwards.  More angry, depressed, anxious, worthless, or grief-stricken; especially, if things didn’t match your fantasy.


6. You could have more clarity about ending your marriage.  Sex can bring semi-dormant or repressed feelings into high relief, and you may realize anew why you’re divorcing.


7. Perhaps sex was the one reliably good aspect of your marriage.  If so, you could both have a good time and recognize it for what it was: connection, fun, satisfaction.  However, since sex is fraught with emotional and psychological subtext, that’s pretty unlikely.  Not impossible, but unlikely.  What’s more typical is one of you would be just fine and dandy while the other surfs an emotional storm.


Copyright Nicole S. Urdang


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