2 months into the Shelter In Place orders and it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, from secretly thrilled to not having to go into the office and wearing sweat pants and skipping the daily shower to crying and staring at the wall for hours.
My divorce was 5 years ago, so that’s awhile ago. It was not drawn out nor particularly heated. No one cheated, it was just over and we both knew it. I was happy to move on and boy did I! I didn’t waste any time in dating and traveling and doing all of the things my Ex didn’t want to do. I was having more fun than I had in years. I also started a new job and it was intense, I threw myself into all of these new experiences and activities and didn’t look back.
And then we were all in a new world and Covid-19 hit. I wasn’t scared and did all of the preparedness things that were suggested and I have a good group of friends and family where we regularly check in with frequent calls and video chats. My job cut back my hours and (ugh) my pay too, but somehow I haven’t been too panicky about it all.
I started to figure out how to cook things from scratch and workout more but something started to kick-in a few weeks in of Shelter In Place. I just became really down and lethargic and overwhelmed. I didn’t have enough work to keep me occupied and I had already organized all of the closets and drawers. I was sick of watching shows and movies and I just felt really alone.
Inevitably on one of my lonely evenings, I googled my Ex. I hadn’t even looked at any of his social media since we split up. He doesn’t keep anything private so there I saw all kinds of posts – 5 years worth and felt like I was catching up with an old friend (uh . . .except a friend that you stalk online and they don’t even know you are watching them . . .). He looked great, he went on great trips, he seemed to be hanging out with interesting people and women . . and participating in activities. Lots of the same stuff he didn’t want to do when we were together but it didn’t make me mad, it just made me really really miss him. I started thinking about all of his great qualities and somehow forgetting about why we split up. This just made my sadness and loneliness intensify. What was wrong with me? This relationship was over years ago and I had in fact had a couple other great boyfriends after him.
I wasn’t getting out of bed and not returning my friends calls until one persistent friend finally got a hold of me and helped convince me to start some teletherapy. I don’t even think the therapist was necessarily the best for me but it just felt good to talk and talk about my Ex and everything that I’ve been feeling and just to have the release. A few weeks into my sessions, the therapist asked me to tell her what kind of work did I do to mourn the end of my marriage 5 years ago. I just looked at her (through my computer screen) with squinty eyes — what do you mean? It was over and we both knew it and it was the logical smart thing to do and we both moved on. We had discussed it for months and it was no surprise. Even as I was answering her I realized her point. I never really recognized the loss. This was a major significant relationship in my life for many years and I just glossed over it and didn’t even cry once. I could see now years later that I was scared at the time to acknowledge the loss because maybe I wouldn’t go through with separating, maybe it wasn’t the right thing to do, maybe I was not going to be o.k. on my own.
Now with all of this alone time, I was not distracted and finally ready to face the loss and mourn it for real this time. Just realizing that alone was super helpful since it defined my feelings. It’s been helpful to just go for walks and to not listen to podcasts or music on the walk and do what I guess they call “process” and make steps towards moving on, and this time it’s for real.
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