Question: How do you stop obsessing about what your ex-husband is doing with his life? How do you detach from someone that you were literally linked to as “one flesh” for years and years?
The same way you spit out the elephant you’ve been eating for years…one bite at a time.
Okay, let’s get something straight. Becoming un-one is super hard, super sad, and will take a super long time, there’s just no getting around it.
God made you one. I’ve heard it said, think what happens when something is super-glued and then gets ripped apart…neither piece comes out unscathed, right? The same goes for a marriage that ends in divorce. When something happens that wasn’t supposed to happen – like a divorce – it sort of goes against the natural laws of physics or what-have-you, and that usually means you can count on extra amounts of healing being needed.
So first of all, please show yourself some grace. All the way up to divorce day, you were married. And you had a husband. And we are conditioned to think about our husbands, to care about them, to wonder what they’re doing, to be concerned about their choices. You don’t just turn that off overnight.
But you can, slowly, deprogram yourself, for lack of a better word. I think there are a few ways you can do this.
The first is to take your thoughts captive for Christ. When you find yourself wanting to text your ex-husband (about something non-essential or non-child-related) or you are wondering if he’s dating yet or you’re concerned about his drinking habits, you must stop yourself in your tracks. You can do this a couple ways. You can literally say “STOP” out loud. You can remind yourself right then and there that “he is no longer my responsibility because he is no longer my husband,” or whatever kind of mantra you want to slip in there. You can even pray for him and envision handing him over to God to take care of from now on. But then you need to be ready with a new thought. It can be a Scripture that you’re working on memorizing or even something silly that you’re looking forward to doing soon.
Secondly, borrowing a concept I’ve learned from author and counselor (and who I consider to be one of my spiritual fathers, though we’ve never met), John Eldredge, is to pray something along these lines: “God, I sever all spiritual, emotional, physical, relational, and mental ties I have with my ex-husband. Break all unholy and unhealthy heart, soul, mind and body ties between us. I bring the Cross of Christ between us. I send back everything that is his to him, in the power and authority of Jesus Christ.” And girl, you pray that over and over and over. To quote Aundie Kolber, author of Try Softer (a book I cannot recommend highly enough, by the way): “I return what is not mine to hold.”
And thirdly, another great way you can stop obsessing about your ex-husband’s life is to start living your best, fullest life possible. But Beth, you want to say, I’m sad and grieving and I lay in my pajamas all day every day. Yeah, I get that. I did that. (I sometimes still do that.) But there are so many things that you can fill your mind with other than your ex-husband. DVDs, books, praying for your kids and your friends, making yourself a healthy meal, looking into an online class, dusting off that old hobby of yours and starting it up again, going for walks, taking an exercise class, going out for tea with a friend, serving someone in your community who needs your help or company. In other words, as you fill up your life and your heart and your mind with good and beautiful things, you will have less time to wonder and worry and obsess over your ex. Trust me, the days when I’m even just running errands or meeting with a friend or leading a small group or writing like crazy are the days when I forget (okay, almost forget) that I even have an ex-husband, let alone what he’s up to.
Girls, it’s time to move on. It won’t be easy or overnight. But it all starts in your head and it all starts with you.
If this post encouraged you, you would benefit from some of my other divorce related resources:
Free Lies We Tell Ourselves webcast
Living Through Divorce as a Christian Woman e-book
Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage book
COURSE STARTING IN MARCH! Heartbreak to Hope e-course
You are invited to spend three months digging deep into your pain, processing your grief, feeling better and actually start thinking about your present and your future with more hope in my e-course, Heartbreak to Hope: https://elisabethklein.com/product/heartbreak-to-hope-coaching