My 2nd wedding anniversary should have been a joyous occasion. One filled with happiness, and laughter. A celebration with my best friend.
But instead, we were separated and divorce proceedings had been started. This anniversary was filled with sadness, pain, grief, despair, and bittersweet memories. Ouch, I know.
Only two months earlier, I had packed up my car with as many items I could fit into it for me and my daughter.
I had to flee my abusive husband.
I knew I had to leave and right then was my chance to go. I mustered up what little courage I had at that moment and just focused on the task at hand.
I managed to safely leave the apartment with my daughter and went to a homeless shelter that specialized in helping women who were victims of domestic violence.
Things were topsy-turvy. I had tried to be strong for my daughter. For myself, because I was afraid if I started crying I wouldn’t be able to stop. So, I didn’t cry…much. Occasionally tears would come, but they didn’t last long.
But when my anniversary rolled around, I couldn’t contain it anymore. I let the tears flow.
There was so much sadness that needed to be released. And I was right to.a certain extent. Once the tears came, they didn’t stop, for a while. But it was healing and cathartic. Allowing myself to feel all that pain, bitterness, and sadness. Feeling that grief and sorrow of my dream of a happy marriage shattered.
That’s not to say all the sadness was then gone. Or my healing was complete. But it was a start. I had begun to grieve the loss of my marriage.
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How to Deal with the Loss of Your Marriage
If you are struggling with the loss of your marriage, there are some specific things you can do to cope with the loss and recover.
1. Give Yourself Permission to Grieve
This was something I had to allow myself to do. It didn’t come naturally and I resisted. But once I gave myself permission to grieve, I was one step closer to accepting.
There might many reasons why you don’t allow yourself to grieve. Maybe you are afraid, like I was, of opening up the floodgates, and once you start crying, you may never stop.
Maybe you are afraid that others might find you weak for being vulnerable.
Whatever the reason, it is important to find safe places to allow yourself to freely grieve. It’s okay to cry and you’re not weak.
2. Watch for Signs of Depression
Whenever you suffer any major loss, that loss can be a catalyst for depression. Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if you are suffering from depression.
- Are you isolating yourself from others?
- Have you lost interest in activities you once enjoyed?
- Have you lost your appetite or have an increased appetite?
- Do you sleep too much or can’t seem to sleep at all?
- Have you felt sad for more than two weeks?
If you notice or if someone around you notices these signs, dont be afraid or ashamed to seek out professional help.
3. Be Aware of Isolation
When dealing with feelings of loss, it is okay to want to spend time working through those feelings on your own. Just don’t let that turn into shunning human interaction altogether.
It can be painful to be around other people, especially if they don’t understand what you are going through. But you need human interaction more than ever.
Having a solid support system will help you through this difficult time.
4. Be Kind to Yourself
You may blame yourself for your marriage ending. You may feel rejected, abandoned, and/or guilty. You may be dealing with low self-esteem. No matter how you are feeling, this is time to be compassionate and kind to yourself.
Be proud of your healing victories. Don’t beat yourself up if you have any setbacks. It is all part of the healing process.
Don’t try to pressure yourself into healing faster, if it seems like you are healing too slow. Everyone heals at different speeds. Be patient with yourself.
5. Stay Hopeful
Life might suck right now. There might he a million decisions you need to make for your future. It might be overwhelming and tough.
Know that it won’t stay this way forever. You can work through your feelings and get through the grieving process.
Work through the challenges one by one and move on.
6. Don’t Rush into a New Relationship
After your marriage ends, you might feel lonely. After all, you were in a marriage for however long. Loneliness is bound to happen and yes it can suck.
It is tempting to rush into a new relationship so you can escape the loneliness. But it is imperative that you allow yourself to heal completely before jumping headfirst into a new relationship.
This way you can get to know yourself again. You can get steady on your feet. And if you have kids, you can allow them a breather and to heal as well.
True acceptance takes time and grieving in order to get there. Acceptance allows you to stop devoting time and energy to the past and start looking to the future to make it what you will.
Honestly, I still haven’t made it to true acceptance. But I’m starting to look at the past less and less. I’ve been implementing the plan for the future that I want for me and my daughter. It’s scary, but it is exciting.
Dealing with the loss of a marriage is a process. It takes time to come to grips with its ending. Allowing yourself to grieve will bring you one step closer to accepting what has happened, so you can move on with your life. To create the life you want for yourself and your children.
How have you dealt with the loss of your marriage?