Have any of you gotten to that place, when you wake up one morning, and you realize, “I’m over it?”
I’m not talking about no longer texting an ex-boyfriend, or realizing that your heart has finally mended. I mean finally moving past the heavy mourning phase of your divorce. It takes time – a lot longer than you can possibly predict. There’s some myth which states that it takes a month of healing for every year you’ve been together. I was with my ex-husband for 14 years, but it took more than three to feel “normal,” to get to know myself, and to reach the end of the ‘what is my life going to look like now’ journey. And then it took another year to quit smoking the nostalgia cigarette in order to feel creative and mine my grief for material (this blog not included).
It didn’t seem possible three years ago. I didn’t think I’d ever get to a place where I could talk about my past without saying “we” – where I had accumulated enough experiences that happened to me, rather than we.
It happens slowly, and yet you notice it suddenly, like:
1- When you run into your ex, and instead of feeling nauseous and shaky, you feel okay.
2- A mutual friend tells you that he’s reading your blog. Not just reading it, but “studying it.” You’re curious, but you don’t mind.
3- You stop going to his Facebook page to see if he’s changed his profile picture (since you’re not friends you’re not privy to anything else). It’s like reopening the fridge to see if something new has appeared until you realize you’re not even hungry.
4- You don’t feel the uncontrollable urge to talk about your marriage or “what happened to you” anymore.
5- You enter into a new relationship where you don’t cry the first time you have sex.
6- You enter into a new relationship where you’re not comparing the new guy to your ex, checking off the positive qualities he has that your ex didn’t. Or perhaps you’ve come so far that you realize they have some good things in common, too.
7- You find out that your ex has a new house, a new wife, and a new baby. Six months ago it might have driven you to the brink of email bombing – but now suddenly, you are too busy making your own life worthwhile, and enjoying it, that you don’t care what is going on in his. Maybe you’re even happy for him.
8- Your sister calls you on what would have been your tenth wedding anniversary, to see if you’re okay, when you don’t even know what day it is.
9- He sends you an email out of the blue- when you haven’t spoken in almost two years, and while you experience a disconcerting jolt of anxiety, it doesn’t send you into a tizzy the way those emails used to. And even if you might consider writing back, you get too busy in your own life that the email gets buried in your inbox.
Life gets in the way. Your life. A life that you’ve built all by yourself, from the ground up, and when it whisks you away – even rescues you from the lurking tidal wave of your past – I think it’s a good sign.
I went through a period where I actually felt a yearning for that dark place, and sometimes, I admit, I still do. It’s disconcerting. In some strange way – looking back through the gauzy lens of nostalgia – I believe that I felt more raw and real and creative inside of that space than I feel in the bright light outside of it. But it’s probably a good thing.
Can you detect the moment when you realized you were over your ex and the life you left behind, and when you did, did it make you happy, sad, or both?