Your Time, Your Pace is Just Fine

One year after my divorce, my therapist told me that it was “normal” for people to get over their past relationships within a year and anything more than that was unhealthy. This shocked me. I was in a 17-year relationship and it was really “normal” that only 12 months after breaking up I was supposed to be over it, happy-go-lucky, and start dating again? Well, this statement made me feel like a complete failure because now according to an “expert” definition I was not “normal”. Driving home from that session, I concluded fairly quickly that judgment was complete and utter bullshit, expert or not. It made me wonder if they would tell the same advice to a widow? I wondered if there was a certain prejudice for divorcees vs widows where widows receive more sympathy? Possibly they assume all people who divorce are happy about it and are dating the week after they sign the papers? I am sure that is the case with some people, and I am not judging them at all, but that was certainly not my case! So with that, I tossed that idiotic label right out the window.

Would I have loved to have been “over” that relationship and happily dating within in a year or sooner? Of course! But it was not happening as fast as I would have liked/hoped and it was not for the lack of trying. It took quite some time but what I found helpful was to realize that moving on was not abandonment, dishonoring, nor disrespectful to the wonderful times we had together. I suspect a divorce is not so different than the passing of a spouse (feeling wise anyway). We both mourn the loss and although for the widow it is not possible for their spouse to return, the divorcee gets to watch their ex-spouse walk around and be happy without them. Honestly, I think it’s a toss up on which feeling is worse.

In any event, however you lose a loved one, it is important to shake off any labels people try to place on you and move forward at your own pace (no matter how fast or slow). It is your life and your feelings and nobody except you should be the judge on how fast you can“move on”. There was a great saying on a fitness site that I think is appropriate here – “No matter how slow you go, you are lapping everyone on the couch.” As long as you keep trying, it will happen eventually and one day you will be over it. And for those people who can date two weeks after a divorce or becoming a widow, power too you!

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1 comment:

  1. A few quotes from a world-renowned doctor came to mind while reading this:

    "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

    "To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world."

    "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."

    and my favorite one...
    "You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams."

    The doctor's name?
    Seuss :-)