It is a sad truth that fifty percent of marriages end up in divorce. Women are the ones who leave. Seventy five percent of divorce is initiated by women. There are so many reasons a relationship will end. One person gets a DUI and the other partner has to face the ugly truth. One person lies, forges the other’s name and leaves them bankrupt. One person has an affair more than once and doesn’t solve the problems underneath the affair. Facing up to the harsher realities is a journey I’ve been on with many. After 15,20 or 30 years, suddenly finding yourself stuck with the burden of solving everything alone is very hard to face. The devastating finances are often a shock. No longer joining two incomes is often a surprise lesson in economics. Betrayal lingers and leaves doubt about who you are. It’s no wonder that so many people continue to deceive themselves instead of facing the truth and delay figuring out what’s really going on.

Once again part of the solution is to face the painful uncertainties and willing yourself towards the disturbing picture of reality. This is the beginning of courage and strength. Reality really is your best friend for the long haul, its surviving the present that’s a more tricky deal. So face the loneliness and pick up the phone or find a group that interests you on Subscribe to the newspaper and find new things to sample. Read The Blue Diary by Alice Hoffman who writes delightful fairytales for adults. This book begins with a woman who has the perfect life which does a 360 degree turn on her and she has to face a lot and grow. Discover what’s important to you that has nothing to do with anyone else. Experiment with trying new things. Visit a friend you haven’t seen in a long time. The other persons absence leaves a vacuum and it’s a lot of uncertainty on how to go about filling that up. Embrace the uncertainty and learn how to live with it. Accept it because uncertainty is reality.

Try writing a goodbye letter. This entails writing about what you’ll miss, what you’re relieved not to be around, what was good, your favorite memories, what was hurtful, how you felt betrayed, what you’ve learned, what you hope they’ve learned and anything else that makes the letter seem complete. Be Specific! Describing the details can be very healing. Really starting the process of goodbye includes respecting what were the valuable pieces among the broken shards. Then you can send it or not. Burn it in the grill, bury it with pictures in the back yard or store it in a box. Sometimes rituals can help people to move on.

Grief about a family breaking up can take 1 1/2-2 years. Grieving what you thought you had, accepting the new reality that has emerged takes a lot of time. It’s important to restore your belief that your life will get better. It’s easy to set yourself up for bitterness (which is a very bad idea). Grieve, Let go and Move on.

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About the Rhoda Mills Sommer

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