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Don’t Let Your Ex Push Your Buttons

I’ve arrived. I feel absolutely neutral about my ex-husband.
Gone is romantic love. Gone is anger and resentment. I’m free.
Divorce can’t push my buttons anymore.

Really…I feel totally neutral about my former spouse. For me, this is the ultimate goal of healing from divorce. I’ve reached my destination and it’s a platinum achievement.

I believe you can reach it too. It’s what I call a State of Neutral.

You Gotta Be Kidding!

No, it really is possible. Getting over the emotions of divorce may seem insurmountable but it can be done. It takes time and intent but it is worth the effort. You’ve nothing to lose by setting it as a goal.

What’s a State of Neutral?

Feeling neutral means you no longer have strong positive or negative emotions about your former spouse. It does not mean you wish them ill. A state of neutral means you have cut the emotional strings that bind you to the past. Cutting those strings frees you to focus your emotional energy on a positive future. Feeling neutral does not happen all at once, but I believe it is in most circumstances an attainable goal. Achieving a state of neutral takes time and work.

The #1 Barrier to a State of Neutral

Strong emotional attachments to your former spouse, either positive or negative, can keep you tied to the past in an unhealthy way. They stand in the way of achieving a State of Neutral. Clinging to remnants of a marriage that is obviously over keeps you from moving forward with your life.

Whether emotional ties are feelings of love, concern, need, or resentment, they give the person who is now no longer your spouse, emotional power over you. It may take time, but you can choose to stop yielding that power to your former spouse. To do this you need to identify your emotional knots and work through them until you feel neutral about your former spouse.

Identify Your Emotional Ties

Divorce proceedings untie the legal knot of marriage, but emotional knots can be much more difficult to untangle. Identifying emotional ties and understanding how they hold you back can help you to loosen their grip. Thinking through those things that bind you to your former spouse may be hard, but it can also be liberating.

Are you still angry with your ex? Are you carrying a sense of responsibility for your ex’s welfare? Do you still try to change your ex’s behavior? Do you think you need your ex to be whole? Are you still in love with your ex even though that person has clearly moved on? Are you still resenting your ex? Are you still waiting for your ex to explain his or her behavior?

Six Steps to Breaking Emotional Ties:

  1. Make a list of the ways in which you are still emotionally tied to your ex.
  2. What needs are you fulfilling by clinging to those feelings?
  3. How can you meet those needs in a more constructive way?
  4. How would you benefit by achieving a State of Neutral?
  5. List steps you need to take to breaking emotional ties.
  6. Day-by-day, for as long as it takes, work to implement the steps you identified in #5.

Seek Support

Breaking emotional ties can be a challenge and you may find personal counseling or a support group helpful. It is also helpful to talk with God. Ponder the concepts above and share your thoughts with Him. Find a quiet time and listen so that the Holy Spirit might fill you with wisdom and peace. What concrete actions do you need to take based on what God is saying to you? You can heal. You really can!

Christian Thought

I know whom I have believed and I am convinced
that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.
2 Timothy 1:12 (NASB)


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