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Missing Your Ex

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Dr. Suess

Whether you wanted your divorce or not, a time will come when you’ll miss your ex. Together, you shared inside jokes, favorite restaurants, intimate knowledge of each other’s kooky families, memorable vacations, mutual friends and hobbies, and day-to-day companionship. There are things about you that only a longtime partner knows. The longer you’ve been together, the more this can be true. So it’s easy to understand why this type of familiarity can be extremely painful to lose.

In a marriage, a partner’s identity can easily become tied to their “other half.” Your identity becomes that of a couple instead of separate people. So, when you miss your ex, you may be missing a reliable friend, a sense of security, or someone to call during the day. And you may be missing a previous version of yourself. That’s perfectly normal. 

Story

“One of the things I missed most about my ex was just being able to call him for any reason, anytime and know he’d pick up. My husband knew the intimate details of my family, career, coworkers, and friends. After separating, I had to cultivate a variety of friends who could serve as my sounding board and be there for me when I needed to hear a friendly voice or vent.”

-Jane

Circle the troops

It’s time to identify and rely on your support system. Reach out to friends and family and let them know you need support when you feel lonely. This could just be a daily text from your brother or a phone call from your bestie once a week. This is the time to reconnect with old friends you love but don’t see as much as you used to. Spend time with your Power People and let them know what you need.

Make plans 

Weekends and holidays can be hardest, especially if you don’t have your kids due to joint custody. Make plans in advance, whether it’s just taking a walk with a neighbor or grabbing coffee with a friend. Sign up for a special class at the gym or visit a museum for an exhibit from your favorite artist. Keep a running list of fun things you want to do and old friends or former colleagues you’d like to do them with. 

Give yourself a break

It’s okay to cherish the good times. Your marriage is a part of you. After all, it made you who you are today. Rejecting it, demeaning it or constantly disparaging it can mean rejecting part of you. It’s okay to revisit happy memories, to reflect on how your spouse may have helped you grow and supported you during difficult times. It’s okay to remember joyful moments with your family. Just because it’s over doesn’t mean it didn’t matter. If you have children, you might want to give them space to share happy memories and reassure them that these experiences were real, valuable, and important. 

Seek balance

When you feel lonely, it’s easy to sugarcoat your relationship with your ex, selectively remembering the good times while forgetting all the bad. There’s a reason your marriage is ending (in fact, probably multiple reasons). Take a moment of pause to create a balanced picture of your relationship as it truly was. This is a perfect opportunity to revisit your story about why you are getting divorced and who you want to be in this next chapter of your life.

Take the next step

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