The Bumpy Road
It’s nobody’s fault, really.
Sometimes the road is smooth and sometimes it’s rough and that’s just the way life is. Just like a marriage goes through cycles – times when you are so enamored with one another and everything fits and flows, and times when you annoy each other and fight and wonder how you ever came together – a divorce goes through cycles too.
It’s a relationship like any other.
Last year, I wrote about how the drive to my favorite gym is full of potholes and patches and it’s a really bumpy ride to get there. I wrote about how I get every red light on my way, no matter the time of day, and what a metaphor that is.
I was driving the same road recently and I started noticing all the potholes and the bumps and I thought, “Yuck, I am back on that bumpy road again.”
Perhaps it was the damage from a winter of snow and ice and salt to make the roads drivable that caused more damage. Or maybe that’s just how it goes. Some days we notice the bumps, and some days we don’t.
We need to get used to the cycles of our lives. And accept them.
Post-divorce relationships are like that. Here’s what you can expect:
The divorce is final, so the wounds are new. You clearly aren’t in a position to really communicate or work together very well. The hurt needs to heal. The damage needs to become a distant memory. You both need to get used to living this new life.
Time passes and you find that you don’t hate him or her quite so much, and vice versa. You can sort of see what you liked about them, while still remembering why you decided to split. But this newfound plateau enables you to speak calmly as you plan details of parenting time or discuss shared expenses.
Then perhaps you meet someone new, or he does, and the awkwardness resumes. The old hurt pops up anew for the one who is still alone. They bitterly wonder what’s so great about your new love and they’re mad at you all over again and life becomes hell between the two of you.
This, too, shall pass.
Because one day, the divorce will be far enough behind you, and you’ll both be in your new, happy, successful lives, and you’ll realize that it is so much easier to accept and make peace than it is to hold grudges and harbor ill will.
The road isn’t always fixed. It’s just that sometimes the potholes bother you more than other times.
Every year, the winter comes, bringing snow and ice, and that damages the road more, so when the spring starts to come after the thaw, you see as if for the first time all the jagged edges to the road you always drive.
You’ll get used to it by summer and not mind quite so much.
Eventually, it will be repaved entirely, and you’ll be bothered by having to take a detour to get to your favorite place. But that, too, will end, and then you’ll have a smooth road, smoother than you could ever have imagined, and life will be good.
Underlying it all, people are essentially who they are. They don’t really change. We might marry someone and hope that the annoying behaviors will dissipate, but they won’t.
And what you first loved about them you might end up really hating.
Have realistic expectations for this post-divorce road. It will be bumpy, and sometimes you’ll mind and sometimes you won’t. It wasn’t easy to be married to this person; what makes you think it will be now?
You will have fine conversations and be cordial to one another but there will be times of conflict and frustration. Accept it.
No matter what changes you make, the relationship will always be the same. Make the best of it. It’s all you can do.
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