The Number 1 Sign You're Truly Healing After a Divorce

Love & Learn 25

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will break my heart and soul. Let’s face it -- if you have an ex that you share children with, you’re going to have to have some sort of contact with them.

And chances are, if you’re no longer with your co-parent -- there’s a reason. No matter what drama went down, no matter who hurt whose feelings, no matter what was said pre-split, you can be sure of one thing: Your ex will say things that hurt.

My ex used to say things that I thought were horrible, but as soon as he said he was only joking, or that I took it the wrong way, I was eager and ready to forgive and forget. After a while, I stopped believing him. How many times can you say, “It hurts me when you say that,” and have them repeat it, or tell you they don’t remember saying that, or whatever, before you start to believe it’s intentional?

I don’t know. Maybe it wasn’t. It doesn’t matter anymore.

Toward the end of my marriage, I got really good at dodging bullets. I tried not to take things personally, but it was exhausting with all the psychological and emotional ducking and maneuvering.

We tried counseling and it was a disaster. Going to our church wasn’t an option -- for me at least.

The things he said that hurt me were reason number 293 why I left. The first six months or so of our separation, I tried to limit my contact with him, to give him less opportunity to wound me. It was better, but sometimes the things he said really stung.

But something’s been happening recently -- I’m me again. I’m comfortable in my skin for the first time in years. I stopped obsessing over whether he meant to deliberately hurt me or not. It just doesn’t matter. So long as he’s a good dad to our daughters, and respects me as their mother, I don’t really care if he loves me, hates me, or is indifferent to me.

More from The Stir: This Is My Life 6 Months AFTER the Divorce

And something amazing happened last weekend. I went to his place, the home we shared together for more than seven years, to pick up some of my stuff that’s still there. Stuff that he has lectured me on owning through the years. Stuff that I feel like I fought tooth and nail to keep. Stuff he has ridiculed. And he was upset that I was taking it.

Like really upset. And then the words came. The words that once upon a time would’ve bled me dry of tears. Words that he would later tell me I took out of context, or that he didn’t remember saying, or that were just his feelings that I was now invalidating.

After years of dodging bullets and trying to pretend they didn’t really exist, I felt like Neo in The Matrix, when he finally “sees” the code the way it is, and doesn’t have to do the fancy shmancy bullet-dodging anymore.

I stopped those word bullets in their path, plucked one out of the air, and thought, “Really? These used to hurt me? Huh.”

Then I packed up my stuff. He even helped! Kudos.

Bottom line -- when things get so bad in a marriage that you call it quits, you wonder if you’ll ever be able to move on from this person that you went from loving so much to being confused by all the time to just really not liking at all. This person that has devastated you and shattered your dreams and just made you feel plain old unlovable.

There’s hope.

It may take months or years, but eventually you’ll find yourself in a situation where you realize all the old buttons don’t work anymore. You’ve grown and changed too much. You'll stop metaphorical bullets with your brain.

It’s kinda awesome.

How did you know you were finally over an ex?


Image via jiadoldol/Flickr

breakups, divorce, exes, single moms


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nonmember avatar yougogirl

This is a great article. Inspiring. Good for you.

nonmember avatar John Galt

You've moved REALLY fast for having been married 10 years. When do we meet your new man?

nonmember avatar Glenbert

I realized I was over my ex wife when I got reacquainted dating 20-somethings.

nonmember avatar Anonymous

Who is he? Where'd you meet him? (Women don't let go of one man before they've got another.)

nonmember avatar Still Married

This post by the proud divorcee is a load of steaming horseshit. She blew her family apart, for reasons she won't detail, which means no good reason, she just felt like it. Oh, but his hurtful words were reason 293 why she left. Whatever.

She sounds like she's grasping for straws. "See, there WAS a reason why I left my previously so wonderful, foot-rubbing husband! There REALLY WAS!"

If he is saying such hurtful, horribly wounding things to her now, who could blame him? She ripped his family apart, and his kids are the ones hurt the worst. The poor man is hurt and angry. And with good reason.

If she isn't going to humbly apologize to him and ask if he can possibly forgive her and repair their marriage, she needs to just shut her mouth. The drama and whining has gotten too sickening.

nonmember avatar Lobot

Gotta love it when the ex's friends & relatives show up with comments lol

nonmember avatar Still Married

I don't personally know either one of them. I'm just sick of so many women blowing their families apart for no good reason, just because they're selfish bitches who are "unhappy" or whatever. What I find really interesting in the comments section is that the people who used to be in her corner giving affirming comments on her posts are now silent. That's says a lot about the utter selfishness and stupidity of her actions. Even her friends won't back her up. Probably because they see that she is the one at fault here, and she's the one who has ruined her children's lives. She'd have a lot more credibility as a conservative Christian mommy blogger if she'd acknowledge that she's wrong and try to make it up to her husband and reconcile with him. She also needs to sincerely apologize to her children for putting them through hell.

twweaty twweaty

I knew I was over my ex husband when I was sad, lonely and feeling abandoned nearly two years after our divorce. And when he offered his "love" I was disgusted and couldn't find my love for him. I love him as family since I am stuck with him to a point cause of our kids. But that day it hit me..... I really am over him !

nonmember avatar John Galt

@Lobot I love it when other people who stupidly blew up their marriages try to rationalize.

I don't know either one of them, but it upsets me when people hurt children for selfish reasons....make no mistake, anyone who has read "The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce" knows the children are behind the eight ball.

nonmember avatar Lobot

Yes, you trolls gotta troll, John, and nobody loves that.
Try working on you own life.
You might find greater satisfaction there, who knows?

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