Divorce Relief: What to Do When You Can’t Stop Thinking About Your Ex

Q. “I am challenged by wondering all the time about what my soon-to- be ex-spouse is thinking or doing, and most agonizingly sad, who is is with?

A. Separation and divorce is a bumpy road and it takes some time, dedicated effort and great tools to help get through to the other side. You are not alone is having part of your mind get on a frustrating hamster wheel of wondering about your ex. Our brain can get like a dog on a bone, chewing endlessly (often in the middle of the night) with a litany of questions like:

Is he as sad as I’m feeling?

Is he regretting his choices?

Is he healing faster than I am and what is wrong with me that I still feel grief?

Has he moved on in love, and who is he with? What is she like? How do I compare to her?

Divorce, even if you’re the one who initiated, is still a shock to your emotional system. The brain wants to make sense of it all, so it starts to seek and scan for answers. Our egos want to compare and judge – who is “winning the race” for getting through the pain and over the divorce first. It’s simply a natural way our sense of self-identity gets constructed.

It is important to realize excessive speculating and wondering is actually a distraction from your own healing journey. Here are some ways you can break the pattern and stop fixating on your ex….

Keep a journal and write out all the questions you have running around in your head. Like taking the lid off a boiling pot of water releases the pressure, journaling your worry thoughts will help them to dissipate more quickly. You get to see your questions from a more objective perspective.

Sometimes we let our attention wander and get ourselves stuck in the past is because we don’t have a clear vision for our future after divorce. Do some work to help create your road map through your divorce. The award-winning Divorce Resource Kit to has questions, exercises and guided meditations that can help you chart your course for your future.

It’s also important to keep your focus on what you actually have control and influence over, such as your own thoughts, words and actions. Diverting your energy to anyone else instead of your own process of understanding the deeper spiritual lessons that are available through your divorce is a distraction. Take responsibility for what you can change and learn, and let the rest go.

© 2012 Carolyn B. Ellis


2 thoughts on “Divorce Relief: What to Do When You Can’t Stop Thinking About Your Ex

  1. Sometimes I wonder why I can’t move on. I try to be free of any attachment to money so there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to get over the fact that my ex came into the marriage with nothing but now stands to leave the marriage with literally everything I came into the marriage with and everything I’ve earned over my lifetime while I end up in debt. She isn’t in need as she has a job earning many times my salary.

    I’m not naive and understand injustice can happen to anyone, so it shouldn’t upset me that she’s been able to do this because her lawyer has delayed selling the home for years while misleading the judge that I’ve been hiding assets by saying that she didn’t receive the financial disclosure I sent more than half a dozen times. The fact that the mother gets to charge me for half the mortgage during this time but I can’t charge her occupational rent has meant all my equity in the home has been transferred to the mother along with all my possessions. Rather than letting it go emotionally I feel like a victim of theft. I think of my ex sitting with her boyfriend in our luxury home I worked so hard for, watching my big screen while I sit on the floor in a run down apartment without cable … and I’m so wracked with feelings of self-contempt that I could be abused so badly … I’m completely unable to move forward.

    Then there’s the kids. I try to bear in mind that some people lose their children to fatal accidents or diseases, or see their children suffer debilitating conditions … so theoretically there’s no reason why I can’t get over not being able to see my kids more than every two weeks or play a meaningful role in their lives. I should just be thankful that they’re alive and healthy. Still every time I think about not being able to enroll my son in little league or take them camping … it makes me so angry I just want to throw something though a window. Of course I know I can’t react in anger so the anger just turns back inwards and becomes depression.

    Sometimes I think I could start again with a new family and new children that I would actually get to be a father to … but I even if I could let go of my emotional attachment to the kids there would still be the debilitating financial obligation that could see me in and out of jail for inability to pay. I’ve never been to jail or even had a criminal record but the child support the mother is seeking to have me pay based on an imputed income would mean I wouldn’t be able to pay rent much less think about a new life … not to mention how galling it would be to pay her such a punitive amount to deny me my own children … which is what would be the case if I accepted her offer to desist from her aggressive litigation in return for me giving up any right to more parenting time and agreeing to pay her far greater than the table amount of child support.

    I don’t believe in being a quitter or allowing myself to be made a victim. I don’t believe in ever giving up on fighting for my kids’ right to have a father in their lives, yet as I continue to be raped over and over again in court where the mother’s lawyer misleads the judge outrageously, the only way I can move on emotionally is if freely give up everything they want to take. I don’t know how to do this. I sit here getting more and more physically and mentally worn down. If I give up everything I will have compromised everything I believe in. I don’t know what there will be left. I’m afraid nothing.

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