If you are divorced or going through a divorce, chances are that you’ve heard the above sentiment.
I have. Both times. “It’s been (insert length of time) . Aren’t you over it yet?” “Stop thinking about him/them/it and move on!” “You’re never going to get over it unless you stop thinking about it.” All well-meaning comments, surely, but all woefully inappropriate, incorrect and inconsiderate.
First, there is no timetable for grief. And have no doubt, divorce is a grieving process. It’s like a death, sure, only worse because there is no finality and closure as when someone dies. Your ex continues to walk around, potentially populate the earth and make you miserable rather than being buried under six feet of earth. Some people may work through their grief in half the time it takes others. It’s okay. There is no right or wrong timeframe for healing, despite what others may tell you – - including some of the books on the shelves today. And most definitely don’t look to celebrities for guidance – - I have been separated from Number Two since March and am still hurting and grieving. I’m sure some in the celebrity realm would think I was an oddity for not yet having my next engagement lined up. I am still grieving because the life I thought I had, that I thought I would have, is gone. It’s devastating to suffer such a loss . . . and that’s okay.
Secondly, of course you’re thinking about your ex, your relationship and what you’re going through. No shit, Sherlock! There is nothing wrong with that. It’s how you move forward and get to the other side. Maybe it’s all-consuming right now but it won’t always be. Each day the thoughts may lessen. The only time there should be concern is if you can’t get out of bed, you’re missing work and/or you are figuring out the distance from your window to the pavement below. Again, people mean well but if they haven’t gone through it — and especially if your split was precipitated by lying, cheating and/or abuse – - they assume that you should just be grateful you are no longer with the asshole and have no more feelings or thoughts about it whatsoever. If you didn’t have feelings or thoughts about it, even months later, you wouldn’t be human and your relationship wouldn’t have been genuine.
Third, you don’t just get over divorce. You can get through it, as you would any type of loss or setback, but you don’t “get over it”. Those people who do are the ones that immediately move from person to person (like Numbers One and Two) to avoid dealing with any emotional fallout. That is what is not healthy and not normal. When someone has lost a job, do people say “Get over it!” Generally not. Most people have sympathy and offer to help in ways they can. So why are we so critical of people who are separated and divorced and insistent upon them getting back out there and moving on? The loss of a relationship, of a home, of a way of life is much more stressful and serious than the loss of a job (although losing a job sucks too).
So if you’re grieving, it’s okay. You’re not doing it the wrong way (unless you’re bottling up your emotions, refusing to acknowledge them and/or jumping into a serious relationship immediately to avoid dealing with your feelings). Just be gentle with yourself and surround yourself with those people who will encourage you, support you and uplift you, not criticize you or tell you what you should be doing. Accept the loss at your pace and do what you can to embrace your new life, the new YOU. Know there will be bumps along the way and even setbacks. It doesn’t mean you’re failing, it means you’re human.
Let’s talk. Has anyone told you to “get over it”? Have you felt pressured by well-meaning friends and family to speed up your grieving process? What’s the best advice anyone has given you on getting through your loss?