Lucy was struggling to hold back her tears.  “It is over and done. I know I can no longer be with this man. I don’t even love him anymore. Why do I feel a twinge when I hear he is going on vacation? When I see him, and he looks good, why do I feel this pull towards him?  I know I don’t want him, but when I think of him with another woman, I get upset. I tell him not to call and then he doesn’t and I feel devastated. Maybe I should call him? I think I am going crazy.”

    No, Lucy, you are not going crazy.

    The transition from married to single is gradual and does not occur in a linear fashion. As with other elements of divorce, the process of unraveling this complex emotional connection is a roller-coaster ride. Your feelings are neither predictable nor linear. This unpredictability is what results in your feeling so wildly out of control. You are shocked that you change feelings faster than you change outfits.

    Here are two things to keep in mind as you journey through this difficult time. First, recognize that no feeling is permanent. Every feeling will pass if we simply allow it to. You also don’t need to do anything to “get rid of” the feeling. Second, have patience with yourself as you struggle to get through these difficult emotional times. You don’t have to beat yourself up for feeling whatever you feel.  

   When you feel sad or lonely or anxious, don’t call or text him in an attempt to alleviate those feelings. Feel whatever you need to feel but don’t “act out.” Those uncomfortable feelings have very little to do with “him” and everything to do with your own self growth. In your new situation, feelings of self-doubt are normal. But turning to him for solace merely renews the roller-coaster ride. If you follow through on that call, you may find that you only complicate your situation and reinforce those very feelings you were so desperately trying to ameliorate.  

       Reaching out toward your ex in moments of pain is like tossing lighter fluid on a dying fire – things can  quickly heat up beyond control and you may get burned! Allow your feelings toward him to pass without impulsive action. Eventually, like that fire, they will wane and die out.

      Discuss these feelings with a trusted friend or therapist. But don’t turn to him. Remember, you cannot get over him by continuing to connect with him.

 ©2009. 2011. Donna F. Ferber From Ex-Wife to Exceptional Life: A Woman’s Journey through Divorce won an Honorable Mention Award by the Independent Publishers Association.

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  1. Danna on the 27. Mar, 2011 remarked #

    Whoa! Been there; done that. After my divorce and again after an intense relationship. You are right on, Donna!

  2. Ellen on the 27. Mar, 2011 remarked #

    Good article. I certainly went through those feelings regarding relationships. They consumed me. Being a person in recovery, however, I can also take your article and substitute the word “alcohol” for “man”. Interestingly, by working the 12 steps of alcoholics anonymous, I have not only completely changed my attitude about alcohol, but I have also learned to come to terms with “relationship” circumstances in life that are beyond my control.

  3. CJ Golden on the 28. Mar, 2011 remarked #

    When we go through these times of doubt; feelings of confusion, we believe that we are the sole proprietors of these emotional roller coasters.

    It helps tremendously to know that we are not alone; there are trusted friends and professionals who can guide us and help us to understand that our feelings are normal.

    It’s always nice to know we’re normal!

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