Friday, March 12, 2010

Divorce, Divorce Recovery, Infidelity

In my experience teaching divorce recovery for 10 years at a local community college, I found that many people had former spouses who got involved in rebound relationships that created problems with the new challenges of co-parenting and helping the children adjust to divorce.

Divorce recovery is challenging under any circumstances, but when newly divorced people get involved in rebound relationships, it creates unnecessary challenges. Firstly, let's define rebound relationships. Many people start new relationships right after divorce as a way of avoiding the pain, sadness and anger of losing a marriage. They are often trying to fill a void of what was missing. This may work for a while, but new relationships started during this phase are seldom successful.

Divorce recovery involves a grief process for most people, because it is a loss, and many people find it difficult to allow themselves the feelings connected to the grief process because they are painful, and pain is uncomfortable.

After a divorce it is extremely important to give yourself "time out" to process the issues that contributed to the divorce in order to avoid making the same mistakes. Rebound relationships that don't work create more pain and heartache leading to feelings of failure and discouragement after a series of several relationships that didn't work. When that happens you are likely to start feeling bad about yourself, which can exacerbate the already existing feelings from a failed marriage.

Feeling bad about yourself after rebound relationships interferes with the most important tasks after divorce: helping the children adjust and becoming effective co-parents. You owe it to your children to put them first after divorce. This requires a lot of time and effort for the first year. New relationships during that time actually can interfere with that effort, and with learning to relate to your former spouse in a business-like way as a co-parent.

Here are some guidelines that will help you avoid rebound relationships:

*Decide not to date for a period of time. Get to know yourself better.
*Get involved with activities that reflect your interests.
*Make a list of goals for building a new future, and pursue them as you are able.
*Be discerning about who you date. If dating to avoid coming to terms with the end of the marriage, new relationships are not likely to last.
* Focus on making friends rather than looking for romance.

The best thing you can do for yourself during divorce recovery is GET SUPPORT for dealing with the issues that led to a divorce and support for the grief process that you and your children are gong through. Allowing yourself time to do that should be the highest priority in your life, other than helping your children adjust.

I can assure you that if you focus on the things I have mentioned and get support for yourself, your chances are excellent for finding another partner who is right for you.

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