It doesn’t really matter who wants to end a partnership. Endings are hard. We feel the effects of backing down, getting out, and leaving our commitments whether it be to an organization like a company or employer or a family unit. We do not like change. Change brings with it a lot of feelings – feelings that catch many of us off-guard. We miss our kids, our friends, our routines, the lifestyle. One of the hardest parts about separation and divorce is accepting all the changes and feeling the emptiness that separation brings with it. I know you’re yearning for the things you miss. Here are the 5 things you yearn for most during your separation or divorce and ways to get over missing them.
Things you yearn for most: missing your children
You may have been the most absent parent around but when it comes to being forcibly separated from your children, you’ll find the emptiness really difficult. Your children are a part of you and I’ve yet to meet a parent going through separation or divorce who has an easy time letting go. Our need here is primal, not personal!
Too often we beat ourselves up during divorce wondering why or how we could have let these important relationships wane over the years. I find these thoughts impossible questions to answer with comfort. Instead, I recommend feeling your feelings without the need to make them more than they are.
In other words, just miss your kids.
Feel the feelings that go along with the yearning for someone. Understand what it feels like to take the first step and rebuild your relationships with your children. On your own without their other parent in your lives. Do your best to show up for your kids when you’re with them without making things worse by asking them about their other parent. Stay on your side of the street without needing to compare lifestyles.
You will long for seeing them and then, over time, you’ll become as comfortable as they will with the new routine. Life will settle down. It’s up to you how long this process takes and what you’ll do with your children when you have them. It’s best to focus on those thoughts and find the answers you can live with.
Things you yearn for most: longing for your old lifestyle
The routines, friendships, status, and material items you once took for granted will loom large in your memory as you step out on your own. In fact, too many people remain married in unhappy relationships precisely because of material needs and benefits. I don’t blame them! It’s way easier to stick to your corner of a mansion or have an affair than willingly walk away from an easy life.
So when lifestyle changes happen whether you were the one who asked to leave or you were forced out, the struggle will have you pining for your old ways. It’s not easy. This is where comparing your new lifestyle with theirs seeps in all the time.
My lifestyle dramatically changed once my children’s father and I divorced. I recreated my profession, moved uptown, and had to return to school. My kids and I felt the transition. The vacations and clothes shopping shifted from high-end stores and resorts to online sales and visits to family. These kinds of changes may or may not build character. Regardless, they’re felt physically and emotionally.
With lifestyle changes, the routines you once kept, the friends you once had typically go away. It’s not easy to show up at the same country club charitable dances with a new lover on your arm. You shouldn’t expect to be greeted kindly while your ex is there socializing with your old friends. Do that once and chances are, you won’t be eager to do so again.
Ways to get over missing them: new friendships
Instead, look for new friendships and events that will help you redefine who you are today. We cannot go back. My coach says, “yesterday is as over as WWII”. It’s much easier to strike out on your own and find new people to socialize with, new events to go to, and to create new holiday memories than it is to try to keep up the old ways. New people bring with them new conversations and experiences. It’s going to feel odd but by doing so, you create something wholly your own.
Today, my children and I share holiday and vacation memories that are uniquely ours. I have an entirely new group of colleagues and friends that I adore (and wouldn’t trade for the world). And my lifestyle is getting closer to where I like it to be. I may or may not have more character, but what I do have is the ability to walk through my home with my head held high. And that lifestyle choice is priceless.
Things you yearn for most: feeling safe and protected
On a primal level, we all need to feel wanted, safe and protected. It’s a feeling that comes with our DNA genetic coding. It’s the experience of nurturing our kin and keeping our families, communities, and countries (our tribe) together. All of us have this in us.
So when you’re family or your relationship ends, you most likely will have moments of intense sadness and feelings of being cast aside. You will probably ache for safety and protection, long for someone to hold you at night (and may start sleeping around just to get physical touch). You will think there’s something wrong with you when that’s the furthest thing from the truth.
Feeling safe and protected is also rational.
We create safety and protection by choosing a good place to live. We know how to select healthy people as friends, and to abide by community standards and state laws. Safety is something we create for ourselves moment by moment. The need to stay safe is also in our genetic makeup.
As you go about recreating your routines, stay tuned to the intuitive hits and gut feelings about where to live, the kind of furniture and even the bed you buy for your new home; pay attention to the things your new group of friends does to entertain themselves and don’t be afraid to move on if they’re doing things that threaten your sense of security. The failure to protect yourself and your kids as you recreate your life aren’t left to chance. You’re the one who has to put a sense of safety front and center.
You know what you need. Trust your gut and make sure your new life has a foundation that you can build on.
Things you yearn for most: missing sex
Yep, you’re going to miss the ease with which your relationship afforded sex (when it did). You will have less sex with a committed partner at first unless you jump into another relationship right away. No one (except your ex and your kids) would blame you if you did!
I’m a big believer in having intimate relationships. For men, intimacy gives them a chance to feel loved and wanted. For women, it provides safety and security never mind a good time. So I’m not advising you to stay home and sulk. However, saying that, most of the time, during separation and divorce, those first relationships do not last and simply create more heartache. They’re usually filled with angst, guilt, frustration because they are not what you’re used to. And they usually cause a lot of drama with your family and friends as you’re all getting used to all the changes.
Ways to get over missing sleeping around
Some people wrongly think that sleeping around or experimenting with new ways of doing it are the answer to the loneliness and their primal needs. Life becomes quite titillating for awhile. There are secrecy and a big turn on factor. Again, perfectly fine as long as you realize the multiple partners and experimenting are a distraction from the pain you don’t want to feel.
When the novelty wears off, usually, you’ll settle into your new lifestyle omitting the group sex and multiple partners for something more familiar and long-lasting. It’s then that you’ve got a chance for your sex life to normalize and improve. You’ll know how to maintain romance because chances are it dwindled during your marriage, and you’ll be grateful for the person in your arms – all recipes for a satisfying and long love life.
Don’t worry about missing sex. You’ll find your way back to it if you want it!
Ways to get over missing feeling loved and wanted
Usually, women won’t have sex without feeling loved and wanted. Many women don’t sleep around. Many won’t, it’s completely off their radar in terms of healthy relationships. Feeling loved and wanted is underneath most men’s craving for sex as well. We are only human after all.
We yearn for feeling loved and wanted. It’s all over us. We all long to greet a new lover. (When we find one.) This is natural, normal and definitely missing when you first separate and divorce. Sometimes it may take years of healing to allow someone new into your heart.
I see this over and over again with my clients and students as they struggle to find ways to get over missing feeling loved and wanted. I myself had to take a long break from dating before I could trust myself to let someone safe in. Decide what works for you. But don’t think for one moment that you’ll get used to being single. You will but there’ll always be a tinge of wanting love in your being.
When you do decide to let someone in, you risk all the things you’re afraid of. Vulnerability will be present. You’ll worry that they may hurt you, especially if violence has been a part of your past. Be tuned to your intuition and wisdom. Pay attention to your kids’ safety, your own heart. And yet, know that the feelings of love, safety, and protection are primal. There’s no escaping these very basic human needs.
Sex and intimacy feel good. That doesn’t mean you won’t hold all your concerns as equally valid. Both are valid and true. It just means you’re wiser and more experienced, ready to trust yourself and move on after your separation or divorce to the things you yearn for and are allowed to have.
Things you yearn for most: a great life.
It’s your responsibility to decide what you want and to go out and get it. So, I invite you to discover my divorce school. I teach a select group of people how to safely go through their separation and divorce so that they don’t repeat the patterns and mistakes of their past. This curriculum-based program is for those who want to understand this modern-day rite of passage and avoid what I call, Post-Traumatic Divorce Disorder.™ Apply here for my upcoming class.