When Are You Truly Free?

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It’s been many months since I last posted.  A lot has gone on in my life and yet, not enough has changed.

By that I mean I am still legally married.  Ugh.  Sad but true.  Not through any procrastination on my part but rather Number Two – – who couldn’t wait to move on from me less than twenty-four hours after telling me he was done with our relationship – – suddenly seemed to find finalizing our divorce not exactly a priority.  Why?  No idea and I guess it doesn’t really matter.  It’s just incredibly frustrating.

So I’m still working with that, still working on getting myself legally free of him and what do you know?  Valentine’s Day hits.

I hate Valentine’s Day.  I always have had a hate-hate relationship with it, even when I have been part of a couple.  It’s a bullshit “holiday” that exists only to make single people feel bad about themselves.  What is that about?  Let’s pick a day to celebrate love and lovers and exclude a great part of the population!  Awesome!

I chose to go to an event that was supposed to be a social thing, to meet people and not necessarily in the male-female pair off sense.  And yet it felt just like that.  I felt uncomfortable and realized that while I have moved on in my life, I’m just not free yet.  I’m perfectly happy going out with my friends to just have fun and hang out but I’m not in a place (yet) where I am ready to become a duo again.

My question to you, lovelies, is are you truly free?  How long did it take for you to become free?  Care to share any war stories?

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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

1-forward-2-backOh regression, how I hate you.

Maybe I should have known.  Having been split for six months and seeming to deal with it incredibly well emotionally . . .  Sure, a few sad moments here and there, that’s to be expected – especially around certain landmarks like birthdays, anniversaries or even hearing a familiar song that may trigger a memory.  My sad moments became full-fledged days of depression last week.  Not the type of depression that led me to a freeway overpass (melodramatic, yes) or unable to get out of bed (more realistic) but the kind where I felt as though the split had just happened.

All I could think of was my ex.  Not pining for him, absolutely not.  But feeling hurt and betrayed all over again.  Feeling angry and wanting to punch his face in, even as I remembered all the things that had drawn me to him in the first place (and questioning my sanity, as well as my sobriety levels).   Feeling anxious and scared about my future.  Would I ever find anyone to love again?  Would anyone love me again?  Would I want them to?  What if I was alone forever?  What if Number Two went on with his life without me?  What if he was happier?   What if he was more successful?  What did this mean for Thanksgiving?  Who invented Cheez Whiz and why?  (Okay, that one I stole from one of the funniest movies of the 80s – – The Sure Thing.  Haven’t seen it?  Get to it, John Cusack fans.)

Maybe the worst is the sleep (or lack thereof) issue.  I have a brand new bed.  It’s fabulous.  I have brand new sheets on my brand new bed.  They are fabulous.  I can sleep with my window open because it’s what I want – – plus it’s quiet – – so that’s fabulous.  Yet I am still tossing and turning and every damn dream involves my ex is one way or another.  So not fabulous.

And yes, I know.  My subconscious is at work.  It’s working overtime and it’s driving me crazy.  And I know that eventually it will go crawl into a hole until I’m stressing about Christmas or (hope against hope) I meet someone else that sets my heart aflutter.  But for now it sucks ass – – I’m tired and I’m a grouchity grouch when I get tortured sleep.

The stressed out stomach could be good, if I was losing numbers on the scale the way I wished I would.  And if I was at home where stomach cramps aren’t nearly as annoying and embarrassing as at work.  It’s a fact that if you ever have stomach issues at work, it will be the day all your bosses are in or you are stuck on a conference call or in a meeting . . . or the most gorgeous man ever sets foot in your office.  Irony is a cruel bitch.

So what do YOU do when you find yourself regressing?  It’s easy to know that it’s a normal part of the grieving process but how to accept that and still go about your daily life without strangling the impatient and rude woman in the grocery store checkout line or burst into tears when someone makes eye contact with you or launch into your sob story when making idle conversation?   (Okay, so I haven’t strangled anyone . . . yet).

Just Get Over It

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?

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