Divorce in a Small Town

Question:

“I live in a small community. My biggest challenge is I am always seeing my ex and the woman he had an affair with and married on a weekly basis because of the children’s activities. I feel like I can’t “get over” my divorce because I am kept inflamed constantly in the present.”

Answer:

Living in a small community where “everybody knows your name” can pose an additional challenge to those trying to rebuild their life after divorce, particularly when your ex and his partner seem to be omnipresent. Nonetheless, the basic principles of thriving after divorce …that I discuss in my book, The 7 Pitfalls of Single Parenting: What to Avoid to Help Your Children Thrive after Divorce, still apply. It sounds like you are actively co-parenting your children together, which is important. Do your utmost to keep the children out of any cross-fire or emotional battles you may be engaged in with your ex. If possible, have an honest conversation with your ex about your situation. Perhaps you can request a little breathing room and not have the new wife attend every single children’s event while you adjust to the circumstances. I’d encourage you and your former spouse to educate yourselves on how best to manage the intricacies and politics of a blended family. The October 21 THRIVE Community call will be dealing with just that issue, so please join us! (Just go to http://www.AskThriveAfterDivorce.com to register for this free call).

The need for you to do your emotional homework is even more urgent given the close proximity you have with your ex and his new wife. Work with a divorce coach or therapist to help you work through your anger, resentment and sadness. Practice excellent self-care and surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Resist the temptation to gossip about your ex. Instead, keep your thoughts firmly on your own needs and dreams.

There are huge lessons to be learned from your divorce, but the answers aren’t going to magically appear if your former husband and wife suddenly decide to leave town. You’ll start to find your peace in the situation when you are able to see the underlying gifts that this situation has for you. Keep asking yourself “What is the gift of this for me? What can I learn from this pain I am feeling?” Perhaps it’s to discover self-respect or compassion, or to take the reins of your happiness firmly in your own hands. Maybe the gift is to discover and articulate healthy boundaries. Explore these questions with open-minded curiosity and you will discover your way through this situation. It is part of your soul’s curriculum that you that this situation is requiring you to draw upon new skills, resources and insights within yourself that perhaps you’ve never had to call upon before. I wish you every success!

Have a question about divorce you’d like to see answered? Submit yours to Thrive after Divorce by sending an email to askthrive@ThriveAfterDivorce.com.

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