Some of the hardest post divorce task I've had to tackle have been in the areas of 'Letting Go.'
First, I had to let go of material things.
Days after Bob moved out of the house, I stopped the lawn service, discontinued the wine of the month club, beer of the month club, and dinners out. I checked books and videos out of the library and joined Price Club. I waited for sales before making purchases, and for the first time I set foot in the Dollar Store and Tuesday Morning. I began to frequent Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, and scour yard sales. I even shopped at Wal*Mart regularly. Slowly but steadily I stopped paying retail and studied wholesale prices. I had no choice.
Second, I had to learn to let go of former dreams.
We had plans to build a lake house on some lake property we had just purchased. I had dreams of getting my novels published. A more immediate dream had been to visit Hawaii. All these had to be swept aside as I concentrated on emotional and financial survival.
Third, I had to let go of my former friendships.
Oh, I kept most of our friends, but the nature of those friendships changed. All of a sudden I found myself living in a largely female world. Where before Bob and I would go out as a couple, now I would meet my girlfriends for lunch. Since my divorce I've seen some of the men I used to see weekly only six or seven times. While those "couple" friends would invite single men to their parties, dinners, and get-togethers, I seldom got asked to attend them as a single woman. I had to let go of my anger and disappointment towards those friends. They were treating me in a different way. I could either accept this or move on and find a new, close circle of friends who were not intimidated by my single state. I chose to move on, connecting with old friends less often and concentrating on my new life.
Fourth, I needed to let go of the anger.
This has been the hardest task. I haven't completely forgiven Bob for giving up on "us" or forgotten some of the hateful things he said, but I have placed him far down the list of people who matter. Consequently, my anger about the divorce has lessened. I found this one thing to be true: It is impossible to love someone you don't respect. Once I lost my respect for Bob, my love for him disappeared. Once I stopped loving him, I could let go of him and most of my anger.
Fifth, I needed to stop thinking of myself as a failure.
Through 6 years of dating and 26 years of marriage I did my best. I loved Bob with all my heart. In my mind I was a good and devoted wife. Yes, my faults and actions contributed to the demise of the marriage, but I did the best I could given my background as a child of divorce and his seasonal depressions. Once I stopped thinking of myself as having failed at marriage, and once I stopped beating myself up, the healing started.
Read more on this topic:
Coping: Letting Go of Anger
Divorce Support Forum: Letting Go of Anger
Strategies to Cope With Anger After Divorce