I’ve been single (again) for a while; in fact, I’m approaching 10 years of separation and almost 9 years of being divorced. This journey has been by far the most rewarding aspect of my life, because the level of personal growth has amazed me. I must emphasize though that it isn’t “fun” being a divorcee or being the participant in a failed marriage. That feeling intensifies when I look at my now towering son, wishing things were otherwise. (Thankfully, he and his dad have a good relationship.)
So, I’ve recently made a startling discovery as I begin the journey to “not be single” – and that discovery is buried pain. Because I came from an emotionally abusive situation, I realized I needed to have a way (or two) to let the pain out and to begin the journey to heal. I signed up for counseling and went religiously for a few years. I started to blog (which is why this blog exists). I started sharing some of my lessons learned in convos with family members and friends.
As time went on, I had the strength to get back out and become active again; I started singing in the choir, teaching Sunday School, volunteering on the dental van for the company I used to work for, traveling, and so on. I even signed up the lil guy for sports. I felt I was doing well.
Now, as I’ve opened up my heart to someone new, some of the pain that I thought was resolved started rearing its ugly head. Things that I thought I’d never see again, reappeared. I was not ready for that, and wondered what happened to all the time of counseling, journaling, praying, crying, fasting and so on.
I think I know what happened: I am still on a journey towards healing, but without being in that situation, you won’t know how complete the healing is.
Think of someone playing a sport and spraining or breaking an ankle. They are carried off the field or court and to the ER. X-rays find the extent of the damage; they receive a cast or a wrap, and they are given instructions on how to manage the injury. They may also receive pain meds to take the edge off. In about 6 weeks they return to remove the cast. X-rays show that the bone or ligament is mended. The X-rays may show this fact (the healing), but the true test occurs when that athlete goes back out there and attempts to run, jump, kick or whatever they need to do. Pain may occur. Does it mean that the X-rays were telling lies? Was the machine faulty in what it displayed to the doctor or X-ray technician? No! Healing did take place, but now the ankle needs to be strengthened and conditioned to get it back to where it was (or stronger)! So the next step needs to be some type of physical therapy, and strengthening exercises. Once the athlete has completed required conditioning for their ankle, they will be able to run, kick, jump and do whatever else they need to do, and probably even better than before.
So here’s my heart; I have gone through the process of healing. My spirit is no longer hostile towards my ex-spouse. I can honestly say that I care what happens to him as the father of our son. So these feelings that resurfaced may just mean that my heart needs some conditioning and possibly more therapy as I adjust to changes.
I can also say this: anyone who has been through a traumatic situation must consider the importance of continued counseling. Get things off your mind, heart and spirit so that you can grow and become all that you need to be. Also, if you are dating seriously, talk through your fears or issues with that person so they can begin to understand your response to things. Here is another important point: Do not neglect or ignore pre-marital counseling. In fact, I highly recommend pre-engagement counseling as well so you are assured that you are heading in the right direction with your intended. This is highly recommended for people who want to marry again.
So that’s all, until next time!
2 thoughts on “My Surprise Discovery in Relationships”
Totally agree. I read an article by a therapist who said that there is no magic time after divorce to start dating again because you will never know if you are completely healed from your last relationship unless you get involved in a new one.
I hear that, but I disagree. When someone has been in a long-term relationship (or a very intimate relationship) and it’s over, they still need some time to heal – without being involved with someone else. Give it as much time as needed to let go of deep anger, hurt, etc. Then when a new relationship appears they are not necessarily working as hard to get to that “100% healed” place.