Separation is painful in all forms like the pain of divorce. Humans are seeking to reach the zone of comfort and normality in any situation. They get so used to their belongings (i.e., their homes, jobs, pets, financial income, …etc.) and tend to resist giving them away by all means. And relationships are no different. People get so used to the bonding that when separation happens, it can tear them apart. After all, it is a change, and change is not always welcomed. Withdrawal symptoms are similar for almost everyone. The person feels ‘empty’, ‘clueless’ and ‘confused’, but above all, there is a feeling of LOSS and PAIN. Nowadays, due to increased social interactions, financial independence, and digital communication, one relation that has become highly at stake is – MARRIAGE
Marriage is considered one of the most important parts of our life. We grew up fantasizing about marriages because all our lives, fairytales taught us that there is ‘happily ever after’ when a boy marries a girl. This idea constructs a wrong image of marriage in our fragile minds since childhood, and when we don’t end up being happy or forever in marriage – that’s when reality hits us and it hits strong.
Marriage is not only a romantic relationship. It is an important social agreement as well. In many cultures, parents of the bride and the groom spend their entire lives preparing for their children’s marriages, spending extravagant budgets on weddings ceremonies, and preparing their homes. They get invested mentally, financially, physically, and emotionally in the process. So, ending a marriage for them could be like ending a person’s outlook of life.
I am not going to talk much here about why marriages are so important, and why it is crucial before getting married to be prepared for it. That is a whole topic on its own; I will rather discuss two things: why people are getting divorced? And that ending a marriage is not the end of life.
Research suggests that, since the outbreak of Covid-19, divorce rates have increased in most parts of the world. However, the main reasons behind those divorces are not new. Reported reasons ranged between infidelity, incompatibility, financial problems, domestic abuse, social differences or simply losing interest in a partner. Covid-19 just gave another blow to these reasons.
In my opinion, the unforeseen root causes of the above are lack of love, inflexibility to embrace difference, and unwillingness to put true efforts in the relationship, giving up on it too early under some excuses. The only exception I do understand is domestic violence, as there is a physical restriction that does not give space to think and try new things. Safety becomes an urgency and separation is a must, even if for some time (short or long) until safety is assured.
Divorce is not just ending a physical partnership with someone. It also leads you to compromise on your children, property, and the new relations that you had made in your partner’s family. Ending all this can lead people into living serious traumatic experiences.
But overcoming the pain of divorce is possible? The first step towards handling a divorce is understanding that it is not the end of your life. Having a healthy divorce is much better than keeping a dysfunctional family. The second step is getting into a consensus that such separation is not going to affect kids or tear them apart, by keeping a civilized relationship with your ex-spouse and not talking about them badly under any condition. Then comes the time to grief your time together even if it wasn’t happy, as it was something you got used to. You need to also grief the whole perspective that you built around that marriage, as it is no longer existing.
Take your time to heal and reclaim your lost parts before thinking about getting into a new relationship. And if there are kids, ensure to sustain the picture of their parent untouched in their minds, and allow them to spend valuable time with both parents. Get the support of family, friends, court, social workers, and do whatever it takes to ensure that kids are not affected by what happened. They should not hold any feeling of guilt for not amending your marriage or carrying the responsibility of fixing it. They have their own lives to live.
During this time, avoid ‘wishful thinking. Stop thinking that if you had done things differently, your marriage could have been saved. We act and react to the situations presented to us according to our best knowledge and intention, always. Of course, we might do things differently if we are given a second chance. When we know more, we do better. But there might be a second chance or there might not be. So, accepting the situation and surrendering for GOD’s wisdom and whatever is happening is the best thing we can do.
Calm your blaming, guilt, and angry parts. After all, you did your best, and your partner did their best too. When you realize that this too shall pass, allow yourself to grieve. Give yourself time to process what happened and why it happened. It will help you to avoid making similar mistakes in the future. It will also help you to identify red flags when they arise. Allow yourself to take this phase as a process of transforming into a new ‘you’.
I understand that when divorce is not handled wisely it can complicate your life – there is no doubt at all. As I also understand that it can bring challenges for you on personal, social, and professional levels. But all can be handled once we manage our perception of what happened. So, rather than associating divorce with the meaning: I am a failure, I am not loved, I am being punished and abandoned, we can start thinking about it as I am richer than many others by a practical life lesson, and I can use it to have a much fulfilling relationship next time, and who knows it could be with the same partner as life is unpredictable, or with someone who can enrich your life as much as you enrich his/hers with endless love and understanding.
Think about how you feel inside, and how you need to tackle your emotions. And rather than focusing on what society is thinking about you, focus on the meaning that you give to the whole experience. Addressing your children’s and parents’ feelings comes next. But you can only heal them when you are healed.
Once you get over your grief period, write down in your diary about the things you always wanted to do but couldn’t find the time. Rediscover your passions, interests, and hobbies. Invest your time in doing what you always wanted to do. It will help you to de-escalate your negative feelings and will help you to develop your personality. It is tried and tested investment. Allow yourself to feel the pain and trust that by loving and embracing yourself, your wounds will eventually be cured. Just be super kind to yourself and seek support from your family, friends, and professionals whenever you need it, any time.