There is a pivotal moment in divorce process when you realize it is really over and it's time to move on. For me, it was about two months after my divorce. I was talking with a girlfriend about my ex's latest dating exploits. Expecting her to join in on the bantering, I was surprised when she said, "You know this isn't healthy for you. Isn't it time for you to focus on you?" I was taken aback by the comment and it stung.
I know today it was exactly what I needed to hear. I realized at that moment that my 13-year marriage was truly finished. I had a choice to either wallow in sorrow or pick myself up by bra straps and move on. I came to accept the divorce and I chose to move on.
It is not uncommon to have an interest in what your ex is doing shortly after divorce; after all, you built your life with him for a period of time. When our interest in what he is doing does not come from a place of caring but rather from a place of resentment, that is when it's unhealthy.
My hurt was exacerbated the week following our decision to get a divorce. He had dating services calling the house to arrange dates. I felt as if I was just tossed aside. I was mad, and it was yet again just another reminder of how much we had fallen out of love.
Once divorced, I enjoyed observing his dating relationships not working out for him. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was keeping mental score in my head -- you hurt me so therefore I want you to get hurt as well.
Getting called out for childish behavior is sometimes what is needed. After our divorce, my ex had the right to do whatever he wanted in regards to dating and it's none of my business. When I finally was able to let go of the situation and not be obsessed by what he was doing, I was able to finally focus on me.
If you are struggling with this, here are some suggestions to assist in moving on:
1. Take a look at what you're holding on to. Are you going out of your way to find out information about your ex? Do you find yourself asking family, friends or even your kids about what your ex is doing or who he is seeing?
2. Ask yourself why you are doing this?
3. Talk this over with a trusted friend. Outsiders looking in can often give you the best advice.
4. Let go; make the conscious decision to focus on you and not him.
5. Celebrate the willingness you have to let go of the past and step into the joy of being free.
Once I acknowledged my destructive behavior, I had to make the conscious effort to work at changing it. I was surprised to find that suddenly I had spring in my step. I discovered I needed to invest time in healing myself, not in wishing ill will on my ex. I understood the saying, "resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."
I made the conscious decision to thrive instead of die.