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How divorce can turn you into Voldemort
If anyone told me that it would take half the time I was with my ex-wife for me to heal from my divorce, I would likely have wanted to punch them. This saying has proved true though as it has take me 3 years to heal from being together for almost 6 years. Today I am choosing to write about the part that was in the early to middle part of my life after divorce. After about a year of being divorced, I thought I was healed. I was going to therapy, I was spending some time alone, I was journaling a bit, but I was still bleeding. I thought I would get back up and start dating again.
When you are in your 30’s, the prospect of starting over and even how to date again is overwhelming to think about. I had to learn how to market myself again and boy did I do that. I used OKCupid and eHarmony to get back out there as well as meeting people when I was out. I should have known that I wasn’t quite ready as whenever my divorce would come up, I had a script I would stick to that made it sound like a perfect elevator pitch. “I loved my ex wife. Divorce was the hardest thing I have ever been through and I would wish it on no one. I finally got to a place where I knew it was what I needed to do after several years of working on it in couples counseling.” I would try to button it shut with that short statement. I hoped they wouldn’t pry as I knew the true feelings of sadness I had could leak out. I often felt like my sadness rode shotgun with me in this time of my life and talking about my divorce often felt like it would punch me in the arm to remind me it was there. I did everything I could to keep them from seeing my wound as I worried it would scare them off. I was ashamed of my divorce till one time I went on a date and a girl said, “I think it is a good thing you were married. It shows you know how to commit and work on things.”
So, how does all of this tie into Voldemort? Well, I started to date and I started to date A LOT. I dated a bunch of different personality types and I would date 5-7 girls at a time. This may sound great and to others I would say, “Hey, you are divorced. Get out there and have fun.” Looking back on it though, I know it was part of my defense mechanism. By dating so many people at once, it didn’t allow any one person to have the ability to hurt me. In a way, I split my soul among all of them so that a single one could not hurt me. It also limited them from getting too close to me as well. If I did fall into a relationship with one person, my pain became obvious and I would talk too much about the past as it was still in my present.
Everyone’s path through life after divorce looks different and it is rarely easy. My own path through divorce reminded me of a friend who would always tell me of this great new diet he was on and then I would regularly see him eating fried chicken. I knew what I needed to do but I wasn’t doing it for a while. My advice for people going through this would be to slow it down and really take it day by day for a while. It isn’t to say that you shouldn’t date, I would just suggest being open and honest about where you are and how there is emotional scar tissue from your past that will likely be sensitive to someone new walking around under your emotional skin. It also helps to process this with a therapist as you go through it. Letting someone new in can be a really tricky process and will likely bring up a lot of confusing feelings.
Finally, do things that ground you. This looks different for everyone but it may include things like running, church, cooking, going to a movie by yourself, yoga, journaling, or reading a book. Whatever you do, avoid using relationships as a horcrux as it tends to be an unstable way to live your life and it may cause you to take you longer to heal.
If you feel you need help coping with divorce, you can contact us to make a counseling appointment or read more about dating and relationships counseling or personal growth counseling on our dedicated page.
Brought to you by Just Mind, counselors in Austin who are working to provide their clients with the best care possible.