The Myth of 'Happily Ever After'
We often cling to the idea of a 'happily ever after' following the wedding bells and the honeymoon phase. Yet, reality paints a different picture for many of us. The truth, as harsh as it may sound, is that sometimes love fades. Two people, once deeply in love, can find themselves drifting apart due to various life and relationship challenges. It's a hard pill to swallow, but love can unceremoniously exit the very door it once entered.
Falling Out of Love: A Harsh Reality
The phenomenon of falling out of love is as real as the much-romanticized 'love at first sight.' Often, the root cause of this emotional upheaval is incompatibility, a significant factor that can redefine the meaning of a happy marriage. It may take years or even decades to understand that what we sought was never present in the relationship we committed to. However, I don't advocate that separation is the only path for every incompatible couple. Many navigate through compromises and new beginnings, yet this is a complex and subjective matter.
The Journey of a Single Parent
Six months into single parenthood, I find myself still grappling with the remnants of my past relationship. My nights are often tearful, and there are days when getting out of bed feels like a monumental task. I've searched endlessly online for ways to heal, to forgive, and to move forward. Yet, the journey is fraught with setbacks. I've experienced anger, sleepless nights, and the zombielike mornings of a heart still in pain.
Healing While Hurting: A Path Forward
Healing from separation is not a linear process. It's an emotional rollercoaster, a radical shift from the life we once knew. It is, however, an opportunity for self-discovery and growth. Accepting and processing a range of emotions – grief, anger, relief, confusion – is a critical step in this journey. Healing isn't instantaneous; it's a gradual emergence from the depths of emotional turmoil.
It's a time when the life we know changes drastically, leaving us to navigate a new path forward. This journey, while tough, can also be a time of self-discovery and growth. Let’s explore ways that helped me too to move forward healthily and constructively after separation.
Understanding Your Emotions Post-Separation
Post-separation, it's normal to experience a range of emotions – from grief and anger to relief and confusion. It's crucial to recognize and accept these feelings as part of the healing process. Healing is not magical. It isn’t like sleeping at night and waking up feeling renewed. It takes months to come out of the deep, dark ditch some of us fall into after separation. You have to allow yourself to feel all the negative emotions without judgment. Processing them is a step towards healing, not a sign of weakness.
We cleanse after every crying episode. And then comes a day, we feel our tear well has dried up. There’s nothing left inside to shed tears for. It’s a trap! Do not fall for it. I bet that you will cry again and again and again over the next few months if you dwell in your past and do not get out of your comfort zone. So, pick up your broken pieces, dress up, drive around without any destination in mind, or get a cup of chai or coffee at your favorite cafe, calm down, and redesign your life. Without arguing, I will agree, that it is easier said than done. But why would you do something in the first place if it’s not challenging? Now, would you?
Block your Ex
This is the first and foremost step. Block your ex on social media and phone (only if you are not co-parenting). This saves you the trouble of slipping back into the toxic or incompatible relationship you got out of. You’ll definitely miss your partner. Not because you feel lonely but because you feel you share a special bond. Remember, if the bond was special, they wouldn’t have treated you the way they did, and you wouldn’t have decided to leave. Once blocked, do not unblock. Move to the next step. You decide your pace. A word of advice though, do not park yourself in a sulking self-pity zone for too long. Consequences can prove fatal.
Cry As Much As You Want
You will cry listening to your favorite song on the radio that’ll remind you of them. You’ll cry crossing the roads, cafes, and different places you’ve been with them. A piece of sane advice, take days at a stretch and cry for as long as you want. But once you are done crying, gather yourself and promise to start afresh. Pick up yourself from where you left the real you, the one that lost its identity in the fight to remain sane in an incompatible relationship. Get control of your life and move to the next step.
Create Your Support Group
Start socializing! Call your friends you haven’t spoken to in ages. Look for a support group to help you in your healing process. Talk to your parents, siblings, friends, or a confidante, who understands your need to be heard and doesn’t provide unsolicited advice. Gather as much support as you can. Healing alone is a difficult path and you don’t need to walk all by yourself at the breakpoint time of your life. Asking for support doesn’t make you vulnerable, it makes you human!
Work out your Financials After Separation
Now that you’ve decided to look at the future, let’s prepare you for the present. If you are going to start afresh, and you have never been financially independent, now is the apt time to dust off your educational qualifications. Get on to build an effective resume and start posting for jobs. The biggest hurdle most of us face is monetary issues. That sometimes pushes us back into the relationship, we got out of in the first place. Create a monthly budget list that will help you create a financial plan. And according to your capability, look for job opportunities. Look in the right place and you’ll find it. Network, and share your resume with friends, consultants, and friend’s friends. Anyone who can seem to help. Ask and you shall receive. Become tech-savvy. Start posting your resume online if you are an introvert and feel shy to ask others to refer you for a job. Indeed and LinkedIn are two platforms to start looking for job opportunities. All you have to do is create your profile and you are good to go!
Self-Care: Embracing Your Power to Heal
The journey to healing begins with a profound realization: you are your own shero. Embrace this truth and let it sink in deeply. The age-old adage 'God helps those who help themselves' holds significant weight here. While your support system can provide encouragement, the true catalyst for change lies within you. Your first step, your initial action, and your commitment to betterment must originate from your own resolve. It's in this space of self-reliance that opportunities for growth and healing arise. At the heart of this transformation is self-care.
Self-care during these trying times is not just important, it's crucial. The state of your physical health has a profound impact on your emotional well-being. Prioritize activities that nourish your body and mind, such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep. Mental health practices like meditation, mindfulness, and therapy can be pillars of support. Remember, caring for yourself is not a luxury—it is a necessity.
My journey of self-care is both simple and sacred:
I rise 40 minutes earlier to savor the tranquility of dawn with my favorite chai latte.
I dedicate 20 to 40 minutes each day for solitude, reflecting on my thoughts and feelings.
I reach out to my family and friends, sharing my burdens when they become too heavy.
I practice Reiki, though you might find solace in other forms of alternative healing that resonate with you.
Evening walks become my time for contemplation and connection with nature.
I maintain a journal, recording my thoughts and experiences.
Writing a gratitude list reminds me of the blessings that still adorn my life.
These practices are my anchors, my reminders of the beauty and resilience within. You too can craft your own self-care routine, one that resonates with your soul and supports your journey towards healing.
This period of heartbreak, as overwhelming as it is, presents an unparalleled opportunity. It's a chance to rediscover yourself, to realign with your values, and to reignite passions that may have been overshadowed by your past relationship. It's a time to redefine who you are, independent of anyone else. Dive into exploring new and old interests, establish fresh routines, and set personal goals that excite you. In this process of rediscovery, you will find not just healing, but joy and empowerment. Remember, this journey of redefining and caring for yourself is the bedrock upon which your new, fulfilling life will be built.
Navigating Co-Parenting (if applicable)
When children are involved, the process of separation becomes more complicated. Co-parenting is prioritizing your children's well-being and happiness, even when communication with your ex-partner is difficult. Naina, a mother of two, discovered that having a structured communication strategy with her ex helped them stay focused on the needs of their children. They held weekly meetings to go over schedules, school activities, and any issues that arose. The idea was to keep conversations courteous and focused on children. Remember that co-parenting is about your shared relationship with your children, not your relationship with your ex. It requires a delicate balance of patience, empathy, and compromise.
Learning from the Past
Reflection is a powerful tool. Look back at your past relationship to understand what worked and what didn't. Use these insights to grow and evolve. This reflection isn't about dwelling on the past but learning from it. Consider Yash, who understood after his divorce that his workaholic tendencies had contributed to the gap in his marriage. He understood the value of work-life balance and applied this lesson to his future relationships. Reflection is about understanding the dynamics of prior interactions and how they affected your experiences. It enables you to move forward with a deeper awareness of what you value and require in a relationship.
Embracing New Opportunities Post-Separation
Post-separation is a time ripe with new opportunities. Be open to new experiences in both your personal and professional life. Embrace the unknown and be open to new relationships when you feel ready. A friend of mine chose to fulfill her long-held dream of opening her own bakery after her separation from her partner of 20 years. It was a risky step into the unknown, but it gave her a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction she hadn't felt in years. Embracing new chances does not have to be about big leaps; it may simply be about tiny changes in your daily life that lead to favorable opportunities. It's about saying 'yes' to new experiences and remaining open to the possibilities that life has to offer, even when it's scary.
Healing After Separation - A New Chapter Awaits
The process of healing from the separation from the person you once loved is challenging, especially amid societal judgment. Times have changed but the mindset of the society is still old-fashioned. If you are at peace after separation, be prepared to lose some friends and loved ones. Because not everyone will have the courage to stand by you at the lowest point in your life. Consider this moment as a time to let go of the old and embrace the new – new relationships, opportunities, and a new beginning.
Cheers to the strength in writing a new chapter in the book of your life!