By Laura Lifshitz
You’ve signed the papers and maybe even taken back your maiden name.
You have your own place.
You might even be dating.
But there you are, holding onto your former (BAD) marriage.
Not literally because you’ve cut the cord legally, but metaphorically, your hands are dirty with the drama, toxicity and pain of your former marriage.
You’ll tell people you’re done. You could care less (or is it could not care less?) about your ex.
But talk is cheap. People can tell that you’re still enslaved to the memories and feelings of that previous marriage by these 5 signs.
1. You’re Still Mad at Your Ex
You’re still angry about whatever it is that your ex did to hurt you. You’re still ranting and raving about it. You take every chance you can to share the injuries this person caused you, whether it be cheating or worse. Your anger is still so palpable that it almost sounds as if these arguments or scenarios happened yesterday, and not after a divorce.
Holding onto anger is exactly what I said: holding onto anger. When you hold onto that anger, whom do you think gets burned?
2. Everyone in Your Eyes Is a Bad Apple
When every person of dating potential is characterized as a “jerk” or “bad apple,” everyone else can see how you’re still holding onto the pain of your bad marriage.
Most people know that whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual or what have you, there are good partners out there if you simply look, maintain your standards and be patient.
But the angry person who is still licking his or her wounds over a bad marriage has decided that everyone is bad. If this is you, you need to manage your bitterness and jaded energy through therapy, exercise, hobbies and whatever else helps you to change your negative energy to positive energy.
3. You Use Money or The Kids as a Tool
You may not realize it but, if you’ve ever done any of the following things, you’re still holding onto that bad marriage and reliving it, day after day…after day:
Complaining to the kids about the ex, their other parent
Using power plays to get more money or withhold money from an ex
Believing your ex does not deserve to see the kids if he or she was not good to you
Using the kids to be your comfort during the divorce process
You may have only done this for a second. It may have been a small amount of money. It may only be periodic whining. You may not even realize you do it!
The fact is if this is you, you need to talk to someone about letting go of the pain of that old marriage. It’s not serving you well! It’s like you’re living in shackles and chains.
4. You’re Socially Withdrawn From Dating, Friends, Etc.
Do you find an excuse to avoid dating or seeing friends?
Do you turn down invites or make excuses as to why you’re not seeing people in your social circle?
Have you become more withdrawn?
You’re most likely still soaking in the wounds of your bad marriage. Yes, divorce is hard and will require support as you go through the process and beyond, but most of us who get divorced are happy, even if we have tough times.
If you’re isolating yourself it may be because you are unable to let go of the marriage emotionally, and move forward.
Yes, divorce is hard and will require support, but most of us who get divorced are happy, even if we have tough times.
5. You Make Excuses for an Ex’s Bad Behavior
And on the flip side, the person who excuses an ex’s bad behavior constantly, is too nice for a reason!
This person has not let go of the marriage mentally, and is not able to really see her ex as the person truly is.
It’s like an abused woman who excuses the abuser…she is still not mentally clear and healed from the abuse. She’s still “viewing” the person through the lens of abuse.
For the woman who constantly excuses an ex’s shameful behavior, she is looking through the lens of a most-likely co-dependent love, or is maybe refusing to accept the truth. Maybe she was abused and still can’t see it.
In any event, if you are constantly excusing and writing off an ex’s bad behavior, ask yourself why.
What do you seek to gain by doing so?
The reality is there are many ways people cling onto the shadows and threads of their former marriages. No matter why you might be doing it, you need to consider a few things:
What do you stand to gain by doing so?
What purpose does holding on currently serve you?
How is it hurting your life?
How did you envision your life after divorce? Is your life how you imagined it would be?
What could you do to bring more joy to your life? Where are your areas of improvement?
We are all a work in progress. The challenge to getting on after divorce is identifying which areas you need to “work on,” and then making a plan of attack! It’s all about effort. The more you try, the sooner you will see results. Just believe that you will find happiness again, and you will!
About the Author
Laura Lifshitz is a Freelance Writer, Content Creator, Comedienne, & Obsessive Chocoholic