How Long Does It Really Take to Get Over Your Ex?

breakup

How Long Does It Really Take to Get Over Your Ex?

When you are in the midst of a breakup or a painful divorce, usually people are there for you. It’s the one good thing about it. What they say though is sometimes another matter. For instance, people will give you all kinds of wild and contradictory advice, including how long it takes to get over someone. For a long relationship, say lasting five years, some say it takes twice as long to get over. But does that mean you’ll be stuck in a rut for the next decade? Others say it doesn’t take double the time. Instead, take the duration of your relationship and cut it in half. How long does it really take to get over your ex? The problem is way more complex than a simple formula. Plus not everyone is the same. In fact, there’s a lot of deviation when it comes to dealing with the emotional pain that follows a breakup. Some people have a tryst with a new lover and feel rejuvenated. Others pine away, spending months on the couch in sweats watching romantic comedies and wondering why they aren’t feeling any better.

There are a lot of reasons a breakup is not easy. One is biological. Researchers at the University of Berkeley found that dopamine, the reward chemical, is released when you are in love, the same kind of feeling you get from a drug high. You are, in a way, literally addicted to that person and must go through withdrawal. But everyone withdraws in their own way. According to British psychotherapist Elly Prior there are seven factors that influence how long it will take for you to move on after a breakup. These are: how long the relationship was, whether or not the breakup was recent, how obsessive or intense it was, whether or not it was meaningful to you, how things ended, if domestic violence entered the picture and whether or not one or both of you had an affair. Other important factors include if this is your first breakup, if you have a support network in your life, what other stressors surround you, if property or possessions still have to be split up, if you suffer from depression, how you interacted with one another and whether or not you are surrounded by reminders, say a photo on a shelf or your ex constantly springing up on your newsfeed.

One simple formula isn’t enough to solve such a menagerie. You may feel like you are being swallowed up in a pit of hopelessness and despair. But realize that emotions such as these don’t stick around for long. Pretty soon it will start to subside. There of course will be moments when you are reminded of the person. But those also pass. It’s important to tend to yourself at this time. Vent, have a good cry, spend time with friends and reconnect with people you lost touch with. Think about your future and what dreams you want to fulfill now that you don’t have any dead weight pulling you down. Reflect also on what you loved about the person. If things feel incomplete, make your own ritual and find an appropriate way to say goodbye. You don’t need their permission. They don’t even need to be there. Do it on your own. Try to turn around a breakup or divorce and make it a positive experience, one that you learn from and makes you a better person. For more on breakup recovery read, How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Peter McWilliams and Harold H. Bloomfield.

Does your Ex make you Jealous?

jealous

Does your Ex make you Jealous?

When you’ve been together with someone you care about and you break up, it’s hard to pivot away from seeing them as yours and instead seeing them as someone you’re not associated with anymore. But that painful transition becomes compounded when your ex moves on before you’ve had a chance to fully heal. Don’t hasten through when you aren’t ready. But don’t wallow in misery either. Some people reflect on it over and over, making the heart sicker than it needs to be. Instead, let the grieving take its course but focus on healing. Stop focusing on what your ex is doing and focus on what you are doing. Learn how to let go.

Whether they are enraptured in a rebound relationship with a would-be superstar or are touring the Vegas Strip, ask yourself what it really matters what they are doing? Should your focus really be on them? If they are going out on a rebound or partying up a storm, it shouldn’t matter. And what does it really say about them? Are they really emotionally secure or are they making grand gestures to show how “over” you they are, in effect showing a deeper side of how not over you they really are? If they were so over you why would they go through all of this trouble to show that they were?

Sometimes we focus on our ex as a target for the horrible emotions a breakup puts you through. We want an outlet and hating them becomes a good one. But it can also become an obsession and take away your own power, and your life. Your goal is to rejuvenate yourself. Become the person you’ve always wanted to be. Make this a transformative experience. Learn from it so you can make your next relationship ten thousand times better than the last and you ten thousand times better than the person you were.

Sometimes you aren’t ready to accept that things are over. But that is strictly part of the grieving process. Even at its worst you know brighter days are ahead. The pain subsides little by little each day, wearing away like a season until that season is gone. Let it go naturally of its own accord. Explore where the hurt really comes from. Is your ego bruised? Was it really this person? Was there some other deep seeded thing that surfaced in this relationship? Explore the root of your jealousy and use it to find out what issues and baggage you brought to the table, how you can own those, and release them from it. Through this transformative experience, that of self-discovery, you will ultimately become free. For more advice read, How to Stop Being Jealous and Insecure: Overcome Insecurity and Relationship Jealousy by Michele Gilbert.

The Aftereffects of Cheating on a Marriage

sad-woman

The Aftereffects of Cheating on a Marriage

Once you find out about cheating, it can cut you so deep that it feels as though the pain will never go away. If you are the cheater you start to realize how getting sucked up in the moment can have tremendous consequences on your life. But what are the real aftereffects of cheating on a marriage? If you are staying together, it means trying to pick up the pieces and reestablish trust, no easy feat there. You may feel like you are in jail or constantly on trial in your own house. If you are the victim of cheating you’ll feel like you’re living with a criminal, someone who reminds you constantly of the betrayal, someone you are always suspicious of no matter what they are doing. It’s hard to reestablish trust and it takes lots of time.

If you aren’t staying together, realize that unless the assets were used to conduct an affair, no fault divorce laws in every state means that cheating has no legal bearing on the separation of assets. In Florida the law is such that if a husband was meeting a lover, let’s say at a hotel room using his and his wife’s shared account, if she can prove it she can recoup that money. Adultery may come into play in a custody battle if the lawyer can prove that it shows evidence of that person being a bad parent.

The psychological aftereffects of cheating after divorce are low self-esteem, anxiety, anger and the need for revenge, depression and for some a disconnect from reality. Sometimes you realize the affair all of a sudden and it ends the marriage. Sometimes it’s one person’s dirty little secret that the other knows about, but tolerates for a time. But sooner or later enough is enough. Either way when you find out you’ve been cheated on the pain can be overwhelming. And when it leads to a divorce it is compounded, especially if it is a long, drawn out and painful divorce with fighting over the assets or custody of the children.

Lots of people need to rest after that, reconnect with themselves, their friends, and their family. They have to get used to being divorced and being single again. There are lots of adjustments to be made. Where will you live? Do you have to go back to work? There’s the need for validation which usually comes from dating again or a rebound relationship. Am I attractive? Will others find me sexy? Sooner or later everyone gets over infidelity even if it leads to divorce. It’s a painful journey but light is at the end of that tunnel. Usually things fall into place in the long run. For more help with recovering from an affair, read the book, Transcending Post-Infidelity Stress Disorder (PISD): The Six Stages of Healing by Dennis C. Ortman, Ph.D.

What Content should Online Co-parenting Classes Have?

Custody

What Content should Online Co-parenting Classes Have?

Some states now require divorcing couples with children to take classes online in co-parenting. Experts believe that these classes are beneficial as they teach parents how to position themselves in order to take care of the child’s needs given the new family dynamic. The trouble is that each divorce and family situation is unique. Since divorces aren’t uniform, what content should these classes have? Experts say it should have many different tracks. One section should be for parents to mitigate their own emotions. A parent’s emotional state will inevitably affect the children and the divorce process, which affects them as well. The better a parent can cope, the better the child will do as well. University of Illinois researcher Jill Bowers who specializes in human and community development says there should also be sections for specific problems such as alcoholism and violence.  “There is no cookie-cutter divorcing couple, and with online programming, educators are able to supply content that applies to diverse family situations,” said Bowers. She began evaluating online courses in divorce education in 2011. Bowers continued saying, “Program developers could create a two-hour core component that would apply to many divorcing or separating couples with children; then parents could have the option of choosing other topics based on their interests, or results of a pre-test could direct parents to further hours of programming based on their unique needs.”

Bowers authored a recent study evaluating such a program. 1,543 participants took part in these online courses. The creator of the program asked the researcher to provide feedback. 46 states now require parents to take online co-parenting classes when divorcing. The length of time varies depending upon the state. From two to six hours of programming is generally required before a divorce can be granted. Bowers said, “Divorcing parents must pay for these classes, which used to involve classroom instruction. In the past decade, however, course selection has expanded to include many online offerings, and that’s created a market for online program developers and educators.” Bowers checks to see whether or not programs are based on actual research. She says, “An online search for parenting after divorce generates millions of results, but that doesn’t mean the answers you’ll find are from credible or reliable sources. I believe it’s important for online educators to cite their courses and explicitly talk about their conceptual foundations so audiences can distinguish credible sources from self-proclaimed experts. Then judges and parents should look for programs that are scientifically grounded in divorce, child development, relationships, and communication literature.”

Most programs focus on child-parent communication and interaction. Bowers says they do a good job in helping parents communicate what is happening in the divorce to children at different ages and stages. There are lots of strategies to help children deal with their new family dynamic and for handling a situation where one parent is bad-mouthing the other. “But adult-focused content could be enhanced. For example, research shows that parents who have not had time to grieve the loss of the relationship may experience emotional issues, and because of their grief or anger, they may be unable to help their children cope. Programs could be improved by adding content that helps parents address their emotional needs so they would be better equipped to help their children through the transition period. We’d also like to see strategies that parents can use when conflict is escalating,” Bowers said. Some adult lessons would include topics such as sex, cohabitation, introducing a child to a new partner and blended families. What’s more, the legal system parents enter into is complex and confusing according to Bower. Online programs could enlighten parents on items including mediation, legal terms and processes, financial obligations—including child support and more. Bowers said, “The companies that have developed these programs appear to be very committed to helping families. The ones we have worked with have been especially responsive to our evaluations. We know that divorce is a really tough time for families, and we hope that these suggestions for adapting course content and design of mandated co-parenting classes can not only make a difficult and often traumatic experience easier but that it can also optimize outcomes for parents and children going through this process.” To learn more about divorce as a process and how to come out of it in a good position read, The Divorce Survival Guide: The Roadmap for Everything from Divorce Finance to Child Custody by Calistoga Press.

Your Feelings don’t have to be Logical after a Breakup

crying-girl

Your Feelings don’t have to be Logical after a Breakup

When you first break up, though emotions may run deep, you have a good understanding on why the relationship didn’t work out. But as time moves on you may have nostalgic memories bubbling up to the surface. Sadness, a desire to be with that person, and regret could inhabit your thinking. Though it was clear in the beginning why it ended now the reason could be far murkier. These new feelings don’t match the understanding you have, or had when the breakup first occurred. You aren’t supposed to feel this way. But you miss your ex and even long to be with them. This doesn’t make logical sense, especially if the person treated you poorly or the relationship was so uncomfortable you couldn’t wait to get out of it. But so what? Your feelings don’t have to be logical after a breakup. It’s one thing to have illogical feelings but it’s quite another to put those feelings into action. The disconnect however can be confusing, being pulled between your logical understanding and missing your ex. This disconnect causes shame. If you tell a confidant or a group of them how you are feeling, often they will be shocked, wondering how could you feel this way after the way that person treated you. And this reaction may compound the guilt you are already feeling for missing this person, instead of relieving your pain.

Do not run back to this person. Give yourself space. You need time in order to think things through, let these emotions pass and see things in a more balanced way. Don’t go running back to your ex. Though the relationship surely had moments that were pretty great, if you get back with them the same old problems will creep up again. You’ll hurt your reputation and you’ll have to disentangle yourself from this person once again. Instead recognize your feelings. Don’t judge them or feel guilty, just come to understand and accept how you are feeling and why you are feeling this way. If you left a relationship that was good and you think that you two can work out your issues, and that you both want to, give reconnecting consideration. But if you know logically that this relationship wasn’t good for you or your ex by and large, and there is no way to make it work, then allow yourself the freedom to feel the way you do. Understand that emotions aren’t always logical. Be okay with how you feel and understand it. But when the time comes let logic be your guide.  For more on healing from a breakup, pick up a copy of Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You by Susan J. Elliott JD Med.