Maybe you're in the middle of a divorce or maybe you've just gotten over one. It's easy to get drawn into the drama that comes along with a bad breakup. Here are three tips to help you make certain the emotional baggage from your split doesn't turn you into a pack mule for the rest of your life.
1. Swear off guilt.
Guilt is like time payments – you can keep suffering forever. Instead, do the grieving you need to do about the divorce, figure out how you helped create the problems (or stayed around for them) and decide to change what didn’t work before. Grieve all you need, but don’t exaggerate your feelings.
2. Don’t assign blame.
If you blame your ex, you’ll eventually turn that blame on yourself. So, instead of blaming, find some more neutral things to say “We saw things differently” “We had some good years, then things changed.” If there’s “another woman” don’t blame her either. Everyone’s just trying to survive this difficult situation, including you and including her. Focus on re-building your life. Drama is not practical – it’s a negative fantasy. 3. Focus on the practical things you need to do and think.
Get your emotional, personal and financial life together as soon as you can. Think about all the things you’ve been freed up to do, and do some of them. Try things you would never have done before, or things you’ve always wanted to do. As Gatsby said “Living well is the best revenge.” Use the energy from your anger and grief, and channel them into doing things just for you. Try out for that local theater, take dancing lessons or an art class, learn to scuba dive, plant a garden. All of those things will keep you focused on the present and the future, instead of the past. Tina Tessina, Ph.D., has been a licensed California psychotherapist for more than 30 years. She has authored more than 11 books, including "Money, Sex and Kids"; “The Commuter Marriage: Keeping your Relationship Close While you’re Far Apart”; "How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free"; "The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again"; and, “It Ends with You: Grow Up and Grow Out of Dysfunction.” Tina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.