It has been five years since I split from my husband and now he’s getting married again. His new wife had nothing to do with our divorce and I’m trying to be positive about it for the sake of our children, who will be at the wedding without me. However, p
TANYA SAYS Generally, people don’t view marriage as a temporary arrangement and so a divorce means the painful letting go of future dreams. What you are feeling is very unsettling and also very normal. You may be wondering how your ex could move on so easily. Perhaps you fear he is re-creating your old life but with someone ‘better’ than you. You may also wonder whether he loves his new partner more than he loved you. All this cuts to the heart of your self-esteem.
I admire you for keeping positive for your children – many exes do not. Your children
Staying positive will help you get through with your integrity and selfrespect intact
are not responsible for the divorce, and indeed their life outcomes will be enhanced by having two parents who are happy and settled, albeit separated. It is normal that one of you would have moved on first. What this may highlight, however, is that you need support to make the next step forward in your own personal life.
Prepare for the date by reaching out to friends who understand how hard this will be for you. Create a day where you can have fun and be among those that love you. Staying as positive as possible will help you to maintain your self-respect and to get through it without too much anguish.
But you should also focus on the positive aspects of your life and your resilience. Despite the heartbreak of divorce, you have continued to function. You have continued to mother your children and, faced with this impending marriage, your focus is still on supporting them – even though you may fear they will become close to their new stepmother.
Next, accept that your feelings relate to a realisation of being without a partner and feeling alone. The future may at times feel like a vast unknown that you have to deal with on your own. These feelings are valid and need to be understood. Maybe this event has jolted you into the awareness that you have become stuck in the process of moving on and now need to address this.
Be kind to yourself. Find space to process these painful feelings, mourn the loss of a marriage and confront any fear around being in a new relationship. Empower yourself and look at what your feelings mean. Counselling or psychotherapy may enable you to face these fears in a safe and supported space; see itsgoodtotalk.org.uk.
Just as your ex was able to find someone else, you too can find somebody who will love you. This sits around being open to that, being able to trust another person and so being vulnerable. By thinking, with support, about why this feels like such a challenge and something you may have so far felt unable to do, you can finally begin to move on. In fact, the feelings stirred up by your ex remarrying provide you with an opportunity to learn from the past and move on with renewed wisdom and insight. I wish you well.
Professor Byron is a chartered clinical psychologist. Each month, she counsels a reader going through an emotional crisis