Being newly separated is never easy. But what happens when one of the people gets into a new relationship right away? It kills the other person. Here is what’s going on with one DGS reader, who writes, “My ex has a new girlfriend after a month.”
I’m feeling blue. I wanted the divorce. I was unhappy for so long. I have a ton of awesome support. I’m in therapy. I’m reading all the damn self-help books out there. I’m spending time with those I love. I’m taking care of myself. But then my ex tells me he can’t watch our daughter so I can go to a doctor appointment because he’ll be out of town. With his girlfriend. My ex has a new girlfriend after a month. I know he spends all of his time with her. He texts me that he’ll be out of town, and it sends me into a tailspin and I can’t concentrate. Why couldn’t he love me that way I needed to be loved?
Thank you for sharing where you are struggling – that takes vulnerability and strength!
Divorce brings up emotions regardless of who initiated it. One minute we are fine and the next minute we are triggered. It is completely normal and happens to us all! And we also fall into old behaviors and patterns with our ex – mentally and physically. And it sounds like you fell into an unhappy pattern that triggered you when your ex wouldn’t help you and it sent you into a spiral.
I bring tough love into my coaching, so I am asking for permission to provide feedback to you. You are the one who asked for the divorce because you were unhappy and now that your ex has a new girlfriend after a month, you are now resentful of and blaming him. Do you see how you are doing that?
It is completely normal and painful when someone we loved moves on, i.e. “the ex has a new girlfriend after a month,” regardless of who initiated the divorce. But you are punishing him for your decision to divorce when he has created a new life. And you are drawing conclusions about his relationship that you have no information about.
How do you know he is in love with her? How do you know he is loving her the way she needs or that it is the same you were loved? And I want to repeat something to you – “why couldn’t he love me the way I needed to be loved?”
You took a stand for your needs and divorced him because you know you want more.
He was not the man to provide you with that love and THAT IS OK! But you are so focused on the fact that your ex has a new girlfriend after a month, that you are closing yourself off to new love and someone else who will love you the way you want and need.
Much of your response focuses on what he is doing, how he is feeling and it is triggering you. And it is so easy to fall back into old responses. Here are some indicators you need more firm boundaries:
1. You are in contact with and dependent upon help from your ex more than you like.
2. You give in to or get the short end of the stick with your ex.
3. Your ex calls all the shots and holds control of the relationship.
4. You can’t make a decision without calling your ex.
5. Your ex yells, curses or says derogatory things to you.
Setting clear boundaries are for YOU not him! They are meant to serve you moving forward and learning how to engage with him in this new relationship of co-parents. They help keep expectations clear and avoid disappointment.
Here are some recommendations of some boundaries you can put into place moving forward:
1. Kids come first – see him as their Dad and communicate with the kids at the “center” instead of putting them in the middle. This might mean not relying on your ex for help.
2. Ignorance is bliss – knowing less is more and creates boundaries. So when you catch yourself thinking about him or drawing a conclusion about his life, ask yourself if that is the truth or a story.
3. You are no longer his wife – You cannot control what he does or how he chooses to live his life. And he cannot do the same for you.
4. Choose email vs texting or calling to communicate – and wait at least 2 hours to respond. Then re-read the emails at least 3 times before you send.
Boundaries also keep expectations clear and necessary to having joy and health post divorce. Get comfortable with the emotions that come up, but feel them without judgement. Explore what is underneath it and start keeping track of your triggers.
There is always a physical reaction to it – pay attention and get curious about it. Where do you feel it in your body? And I recommend you do not call him until you understand what is going on inside you. Name it – and by doing so, it takes the power away from it. And perhaps you might choose to not respond or wait to respond until you are ready.
I know it sounds hard, but when you practice it more and more, it does get easier and the triggers have less charge to them. Keep that energy focused on YOU instead of giving it away to him. He feeds off of it. So please use it to find the love you deserve, desire and crave. It is his loss. Xo
Wendy Sterling is a Divorce Recovery Specialist, a certified life coach, writer, author and speaker who founded of The Divorce Rehab™. Wendy helps divorced women remember who they are and what they are capable of by ending their pity party, mourning their marriage and MOVING FORWARD with dignity to see how much better life is afterwards. A graduate of UCLA and The Co-Active Training Institute, Wendy is also a divorced single mom who has transformed her own life from Corporate America employee to entrepreneur. To connect with Wendy you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit her website at wendysterling.net.
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Like this article? Check out, “Why It’s So Infuriating When The Ex Husband Gets a Girlfriend”