When you are leaving a toxic marriage, it can be helpful to know what to expect.
You can avoid unpleasant surprises and start preparing for your future by preparing yourself against future drama.
- 1 What To Expect When Leaving a Toxic Marriage
What To Expect When Leaving a Toxic Marriage
1 – Your Spouse May Make Promises
You have decided your marriage is over, but your spouse may not be cooperative.
During your marriage, you had plenty of experience with your spouse making promises which they did not keep.
Do not be surprised if this pattern continues. If they want to keep you trapped in the marriage, they will promise to change, do things differently, and be a better partner.
If you want a better life, do not fall for empty promises.
Do not let your spouse manipulate you into changing your mind about separation or divorce.
As promises were not kept in the past, there is no reason to believe they will be held in the future.
2 – It May Not Be A Clean Break
The late ballplayer Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over til it’s over.” When it comes to a toxic relationship, it is not necessarily over then, either.
You may find you are up against various tactics that show your ex is still influencing your life.
One example is known as “hoovering.” Whether you recently walked out or whether the divorce has become final, your ex may try to get you back.
No matter how long you have been without contact, they may try to suck you back into the relationship.
Stalking is a second example. Your ex may show up in places where they know you are, use other people to find out who you are with and what you are doing, or even send unwanted gifts.
As a third example, smear campaigns are common. If you start to hear untrue rumors about your morality, mental state, or basic integrity, consider the likelihood that the person who said they loved you is where the rumors began.
At its worst, leaving a toxic marriage may result in violence. The most disturbed individuals cannot stand the thought of their former partner leaving them behind and moving on with life.
If you believe you are at risk of violence, seek professional help immediately. It is smarter to prepare for the possibility than to do nothing and become a statistic.
3 – The Pain Will Not Automatically Disappear
The divorce decree may be in your hand, and you may even move to a different location.
When you plan to establish a new life for yourself, be prepared for some painful feelings. Regardless of how long you were married, some wounds will not vanish overnight.
You may find yourself second-guessing your decision to leave the marriage or doubting your worth as a person.
While these feelings are perfectly normal, make sure you do not act on your emotions. Continue to remind yourself that you made the right decision.
Remind yourself of your worth by focusing on your good qualities and your strengths. When you take these positive steps, you will start to heal.
4 – You May Question Your Identity
An identity crisis after a broken marriage is not limited to housewives. Career women can have this experience, and so can men.
When so much of your life was invested in your ex, you may have trouble knowing who you are, what you are, and what your life should be like without that person.
This is your time to focus on yourself! You can return to interests you had in the past if they are still meaningful to you.
You can think of goals you had before you married or establish new goals today.
Consider this the time for exploration and learning what has meaning and purpose for you. You will be pleasantly surprised when you “find yourself” in the process.
5 – Be Prepared For Anxiety
Whether it is a vague sense of anxiety or all-out fear, you leave something familiar and choose something unfamiliar. When you understand these feelings, you do not need to become immobilized.
Your feelings are perfectly natural. Remind yourself the marriage was not in your best interests and that the unknown future ahead can be so much better and more fulfilling.
You can also tell yourself that the future is about your own choices. You will no longer have someone else make your decisions for you.
In some cases, fear and anxiety can have physical symptoms. Suppose you are suddenly experiencing trouble breathing, heart palpitations, headaches, insomnia, or do not want to leave your home. In that case, it is a good idea to visit your doctor for a consultation and a checkup.
6 – Be Prepared For Loneliness
It can be tempting to look for a new partner as soon as your marriage is over. There are some important reasons to resist this temptation.
There is much you need to do before you are ready to invite someone new into your life. It is not fair to yourself or to the other person to embark on a new relationship before you are ready.
Rebound relationships almost always fail. Whether you are considering a serious relationship or casual dating, take time to heal and to build a new life for yourself before you take that step.
7 – Expect To Feel Grief
Everyone experiences and processes grief differently, but it is a normal part of the loss.
Even if your spouse treated you horribly and the marriage was unbearable, you will still feel some sense of loss. Perhaps you are thinking of the good times when your ex was loving and kind.
If your mourning is excessive and interferes with your daily life, consider professional help.
If it is only minor, though, tell yourself you can and will get through it. You will eventually be able to put your feelings in perspective.
It would be wonderful if leaving a toxic marriage meant nothing more than moving forward.
When you are prepared for these complications, though, you will be able to cope. You will have less difficulty dealing with these issues and soon be able to move on with your life.
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