It’s been 8 years since my ex husband and I split up.
We were together for 18 years and have four children together.
I have been in a relationship since, for 2 years and my ex husband is in a relationship now and has been for a few years.
I can't stop thinking about him wishing we had tried harder.
I would love to try again with him but I think that is out of the question. Why can't stop thinking of him?
How can I move on in life when I feel depressed about it?
I have no friends and I live in a rough area l need help to get on with life!
Mig Bennett says:
“It seems that a lot in your life isn’t bringing you happiness and connection. You mention where you live and your lack of friends. Sometimes when our mood is low and we feel ‘depressed’ we yearn for things that once were good in our lives. “If only I had” or “What if it had been different” is a pattern of thinking that is unhelpful. It keeps us hanging on to something we can’t change! And, for you, that something is that your marriage ended.
Can you focus the energy you spend regretting onto something that is more positive and that might bring about change for you? What can you do to increase your contacts with others who might become friends ...... or revisit older friendships? Can you do anything to bring about a change in where you live? Is this low mood and yearning for the past something that is damaging to you and your new partner? Are you putting enough in to that relationship? Does it bring you nurture? If not, why not and what needs to happen?
Make an itinerary of the people and things in your life that are good and you are grateful for. Make a list of them and stick it to the back of the coffee cup cupboard. Look at it regularly.
Then do the same for the things you’d like to change or do differently and consider if changing them is fantasy or whether there’s a glimmer of possibility and create a list of possibilities. Back of the cupboard door again.
‘Brainstorming’ is useful for the above two exercises, best done with two or three brains. Others can see our potential when sometimes we can’t. Would your partner help you, or a relative?
If you consider you may be depressed, I’d advise seeing your GP. It may be you can get counselling through your surgery for the low mood but also to look at the end of your marriage.
Now to those feelings about your ex-husband. The end of a relationship is described as a ‘complicated grief reaction’. It has the hallmarks of a death along with the complication of that person still being alive, in contact with you and now with someone else. It’s not possible, in a separation, to mourn, put flowers on a grave, be a widow. Yet the feelings of loss can be as strong and often stronger and more immobilising. I’m wondering if you didn’t really grieve the end of your marriage or that it ended with acrimony and the feelings of loss are only seeping through now. These feelings can often be delayed and emerge at another time of stress or crisis.
Here are some basic tips for stopping dwelling on a person:
- Remove him from all your social media
- Keep only a mobile number in case of emergencies
- Hide away all the marriage memorabilia (that’s if you want to keep it for the children)
- Turn off or delete any music that was ‘yours’
- Don’t ask the children for news or updates and, if they're old enough, ask them not to tell you
- Avoid seeing him, at all costs
Two years with your new partner? It sounds like he might not be getting enough from you for the relationship to flourish. Do you want it to grow? Do you really value him or was he just Mr. Right, for now? If you could get to see a counsellor, I’d suggest looking at the end of your marriage and it’s effect on you. Then, focus on talking through what you want from your life going forward, and whether it includes this new relationship.
Mig Bennett is a fully qualified relationship counsellor specialising in relationship problems, sexual issues and sex addiction. She has over 25 years of experience, both in her own private practice - Mig Bennett Relationship Counselling (www.migbennettrelationshipcounselling.co.uk) and Relate. She is able to provide relationship counselling online and face-to-face.
Contact Mig on [email protected]
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