Divorce mediation is a true first love of mine,...
Is It Possible to Love Your Ex?
Some people find that idea odd, or distasteful, but it’s not what you think. Love is not preference or attraction, even. In this context, it’s about understanding and relatability. Seeing the human-ness in your former spouse.
Because that is the only way to make your peace with your past and continue to co-parent successfully.
And if you don’t have children together, then “loving your ex” still has meaning. There is no need to communicate necessarily but your memories and experiences will take on more peaceful feeling if, in those moments when you think back, you are able to “love your ex.”
But the first step in loving your ex is being happy with yourself. Yep, you read that right: you must get happy on your own before you can look fondly on anyone else!
It is so important after a relationship ends to spend time coming to terms with your choices and your situation. Get to know yourself again, in this new stage and place. Find new activities and pursuits. Get creative! Make new friends. Join a gym. Participate in a hiking group or find a yoga studio where you can get your meditation on.
This is a focus you may have to take on at different times in your life; it doesn’t happen all at once, or necessarily immediately after the divorce.
This takes time. You won’t fall in love with your new life or your new self overnight! Be patient – it is a getting-to-know-you process, like any worthwhile relationship.
During this time, reflect on your recently-ended relationship in every aspect – what do you appreciate about it? What bothered you? What would you say you contributed to it, positively and negatively? And ask the same question about your spouse.
The things that annoyed you about your ex will never go away – but hopefully through this process of reflection and self-strengthening, you can come to a place of acceptance for what is, rather than resentment for what wasn’t. And when you get there, that’s when you can “love” your ex – rather, see the humanness in them, and have compassion for the good times you shared.
That is the best way to move forward with kindness and understanding. And if you are parenting children from your relationship, you’ll want a healthy dose of both to take you into the future!