I am so sick of my partner that even the way he chews his food makes me nuts. I am so sick of my spouse that just hearing her voice grates on my nerves. I know he leaves the toilets eat up just to make me mad. I know she deliberately works late leaving me with the kids on nights I want to go out with my buddies. He thinks he knows everything. She is such a nag. I wish I was single again!
It’s hard to believe that anyone who ends a relationship that looks and sounds like this could ever possibly regret the decision, but the reality is that many do. How could this be?
What we focus on is what grows. When we want or need to be angry or we simply are angry with our other half, we tend to focus on everything negative he or she does and quickly dismiss anything positive. The flip side of the same coin is when we are in a new romance. Our fresh love interest is perfect, our soul mate, and shares all our interests and desires. In the light of day, neither perspective is objective or real, regardless of how certain it may feel at the time. Consciously or unconsciously, positively or negatively, we work to prove ourselves right.
So, you get a divorce. Time goes by and emotions settle as you find your new routine, your New Normal. You and your ex have both moved on and created new lives for yourselves. You admit there are some things you really miss about your ex and about that relationship. You realize there are things that didn’t turn out exactly as you’d imagined in your return to single life. The friends you wanted to be free to party with turned out to be not such good friends and the partying gold old fast. When you walk in after a long day to silence, you remember how you used to come home to a warm hug and maybe a meal to match. If there are children involved, having time to yourself may turn into too much time with yourself, and too little time with your children who you miss when they are with their other parent.
By the time the realization sets in and the emotions have shifted, and the ex starts looking pretty good again, the relationship is in the rear-view mirror. Some try reconciliation and a few even succeed, but most often too much damage has been done and repair is not an option. We find out too late, we had it all, or at least pretty good, and we didn’t even know it.
Excerpt from Reinventing Normal: How Choice and Change Shape Our Lives, copyright 2013