Letting go of the Life You Had Once Imagined
No one imagines they will find themselves single, divorced, and living in a 4 bedroom house in the suburbs alone, and then it happens. So what do you do when you wake up and realize that your life is not at all what you ever imagined it would be? How do you “cope” and “mourn” the loss of the life you had been planning for yourself?
First, remember you are not alone. You are never alone in this. Lean on your friends, family, and a good support group – whether it’s a support group you created with a network of friends and family, or a more formal divorce support group in your area. There are so many resource out there, find people/places/networks that you feel comfortable with. Seek out professional counseling or therapy, sometimes just talking about these hopes and dreams that could have/should have/would have been to a neutral party can be such a relief.
Know that it is ok to mourn this loss. For you it may be the loss of the “perfect family” you had envisioned – whether you never had kids and always wanted them, or had 1 or 2 and had wanted more. Maybe for someone else who is forced to go back to work because of the divorce, it may be the loss of being able to stay at home with the children. Perhaps it’s the loss of a certain lifestyle one may have gotten used to or thought they would attain someday, whether financially or within a certain social circle. Maybe divorce forced you to move to new area and you are mourning the loss of being close to your friends, in a certain school district for your children, or even simply mourning the loss of your home. It’s not irrational to mourn these things, whether they are lifestyles and material items you no longer have, or were simply hopes for the future – it is ok.
Take comfort in knowing that you never know what the future has in store for you. Maybe you always wanted kids and suddenly find yourself dating someone with children that you simply adore (young or old). Think you’re too old for that reality? Maybe you will remarry and have pile of grandchildren in your future. Maybe having to go back to work will one day lead to a promotion that allows you to take your children on trips of a lifetime and provide for their college education. There is a quote by Joseph Campbell that reads, “We must be willing to let go of the life we had planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Remember that.
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