His love was a lie so why can’t I stop thinking about him and missing him?
How do I stop loving him? I’m tired of the pain and confusion.”
You know in your brain that the marriage is over. You know the person you love has checked out of the marriage in one way or another. You may even know it is probably for the best given the circumstances.
So why on earth can’t you get over him?
It’s hard to let go.
You got married because you loved someone and believed they loved you back. You were sure of it. You had visions of your life together and dreams for the future. Your heart was in the marriage. It is understandably hard to accept the loss.
In fact, it can feel like the worse thing ever.
What’s more, such conflicting feelings and thoughts can be so frustrating.
So What Do You Do?
- Realize that the grief you are going through serves a purpose. Grief is a process that helps us to sort out realities and deal with losses so that we can move through and beyond the pain toward healing. It’s healthy to work through the process of grief.
- Be honest with yourself. Are you loving the reality of who your ex or soon-to-be ex (STBX) is now or are you loving who you thought that person to be and the dreams that went along with that image? It can help to make that distinction.
- Make two lists. Make a list of the traits of the person you married. Make a separate list of the traits of what that person is like now. Which list represents the target of your love?
Since your marriage has ended, I suspect you are feeling love for what was in the past and what might have been rather than what is now. Understanding this can help you understand why you can still feel so much loss even when you may not even like the person your spouse or STBX has become. This truth is not an instant cure for grief but putting things in perspective can help.
It’s easier to stop loving your ex when you realize that you are not in love with who that person has become.
4. Dare to dream new dreams. As you are working through the loss of dreams that comes when a marriage ends, dare to consider new dreams. Crushed dreams fade most readily in the light of new dreams — dreams for a brighter future.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
NOTE: In this scripture Jesus is telling the Jews who believe in him that if they hold on to his teachings they will know the truth and that that truth will set them free. I believe that is still true for each of us today. I also believe that while divorce isn’t desirable, accepting the truth of our situation helps to liberate us from the past.
Talk with God
Ponder this reading and share your thoughts with God. 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?
Renee Smith Ettline is author of the award-winning book, Peace after Divorce, and founder of After Divorce Ministries, LLC. Her Christian divorce recovery blog posts every Friday morning. Church-based divorce recovery workshops based on her work are offered around the country.
*Peace after Divorce has been recognized as an exemplary Christian book by the 2013 Illumination Book Awards.
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