I wrote this a couple years ago while reflecting on my own first post-divorce breakup. After reading that post, a never-married friend emailed me and said she disagree with my premise that the recently divorced are not ready for a serious romance. And, if you’re like me, you consciously appreciate those mutual feelings so very much more — which only adds to the scythe bludgeoning once it falls.
It continues to be one of the most-trafficked posts on this whole blog, more than two years later. After all, she argued, her boyfriend of six months had just gotten out of a long-term relationship when she met him. I felt a surge of defensiveness at her equating a divorce with a boyfriend-girlfriend breakup. Well, from this brilliant realization: Divorce often robs us of the opportunity to mourn the romantic relationship itself because there is so much practical and logistical hell to contend with at the time of the split: Managing your children’s care and feelings.
Removing names from bank accounts and mortgages and wills, credit cards, utility accounts and car notes. Someone who I cared very much about, knew my kids, but was a lover — no more. We were emotionally, intellectually, sexually intertwined. When we broke up there was nothing to contend with grief.
If you’re like me, that relationship was just that. We owned nothing together (though I’m still kind of annoyed with myself for never retrieving that La Perla nighty from his apartment, but I’ll live), and did not even share friends.
Not just the absence of Which is where the rebound breakup and all its gory hurt come in.
When you are contending with a 360-degree life barf, there is scant space to sit quietly and feel the weighty grief of no longer spending nights with a person who you at least once — likely still — loved very much.
Worry your children will be forever neurotic/hateful of you/incapable of love. It was likely missing for a very long time — which is exactly why it is so intoxicating when we find that connection again in a rebound.
By the time the four-way lawyers meetings start, you’ve forgotten about the emotional, intellectual and sexual connection you once shared with that man. Divorce often comes after months and years of a really unhappy relationship. Which is another reason why we do not mourn the love for our husbands immediately after divorce. Divorcing people are also forced to face the loss of dreams of family life, and what the rest of your life will be like. All this upheaval and stress can leave little room to deal with simple loss of love.One of the scariest aspects of being a divorcee is the prospect of dating again. Your inclination, therefore, is to want to connect, and perhaps even rush into re-partnering. You should wait about a year before seriously dating anyone.You are no longer a “we” with emotional ties, exclusive commitments and promises. Like it or not, there are three important tasks you must first accomplish before you are ready to successfully enter into another serious relationship. The Grieving Process Where there is attachment and loss, there is grief.