Learning to THRIVE alone after divorce.
October 17, 2009 9:38 PM Subscribe
After divorce, how can I learn to be a confident, whole individual without being in a relationship? I'm struggling with insecurity, I feel like there is a part of me missing, and I've gotten myself so worked up about it that I'm in a state of "analysis paralysis." Please help me break through that paralysis!
posted by MultiFaceted to Human Relations (23 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I am divorced (1 year and some change) after a 7 year marriage. The big issue in the marriage was that my ex eventually decided that he just didn’t want to be married to me anymore. Over the last 4+ years of the marriage, he withdrew emotionally, stopped telling me he loved me (when I asked he would answer “sometimes I love you”), told me that he didn’t miss me when I left for trips/conferences, was never in the mood for intimacy (not even kissing, very rarely hugging, never initiated by him), and toward the end began lying about random things. I’m not convinced that an affair was happening…I’m not convinced that it didn’t happen either. Needless to say, I spent those 4 years analyzing and guessing at what would make him love me again, which I now see was a massive blow to my self esteem. I lost touch with who I was (I used to be a strong, independent, determined woman) during that time, and that just kills me.
While the divorce was immensely painful (I believe that you just don’t “give up” on a lifetime commitment but I had no other choice), it was also the absolute right thing to do and I feel like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders as I started life over. I got the very clear, strong message that I needed to use this time in my life to “learn to live alone” in preparation for a future relationship, if that makes any sense. I definitely feel as though I will be married again someday, but now is my time to develop as a person. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what I’m struggling with.
I feel as though something is missing in my life, and I think it’s the fact that I am not in a relationship (for the record, I have been talking to an ex boyfriend and we have talked about wanting to date each other in the future but right now we both have “issues” to work through. So there’s the possibility there, and it’s constantly on my mind). I know that I’m smart, I have a great job, great friends who love me, and I contribute positively to the world. But I long to have a partner…someone that I know for certain loves me and thinks about me and wants to be with me. The only way I can explain it is that I’m just not fully successful and complete without that. There are times where I am just “paralyzed” with that longing and wind up wasting hours just watching TV or reading (which equals procrastination) instead of being active, and I hate that! It’s holding me back, and I just can’t figure out how to get past it. I also have a huge sense of insecurity/anxiety about any future relationships…like I’ll misread a man’s signs and screw up a potential relationship or chase after men that truly aren’t into me.
I did therapy as the marriage was ending (yes, currently attempting to get back in to see someone), and it is helpful but it’s only 1 hour a week. I understand CBT (trained in it!) and so I know all of the mental exercises that I should be doing. My counselor training is working against me at the moment though (I’m good at convincing myself that it won’t work or that I won’t do it right) and I’ve gotten myself in a state of “analysis paralysis”.
I am looking for any advice or personal anecdotes you can give me. I want to make the most of this time being single and I desperately want to clear this hurdle. How can I learn to feel like a “whole person” without a relationship? How do I deal with that huge feeling of insecurity I have? I’m open to book suggestions, Bible verses, specific things to do, hard questions to ponder, a good butt kicking, whatever you got to break the mental paralysis and move forward. I’ll be glad to hear it all!