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When Divorce Strikes After 50: Here’s How to Stop Thinking About Your Ex

By Martha Bodyfelt September 07, 2019 Family

As a divorce coach for fabulous women 50 and better, one of the most common refrain I hear from clients has to do with their ex – especially during the holiday season.

Dwelling on memories of times spent together, some of his thoughtful actions, etc. makes it very difficult to move on. And all these thoughts can creep up on you when you least expect it, especially when the split wasn’t exactly amicable, and when you’re still feeling hurt.

Although healing and moving on from the end of your marriage will not happen overnight, there are some systems you can start using to help you let go of those negative feelings.

The Truth of the After-Divorce Matter

Your emotional energy is finite. Don’t waste it dwelling on your ex.

One of the most common goals that women share with me is that they want to find purpose, enjoy retirement, and maybe find love again.

If you’re going through a divorce, or recovering from one, you may be in the same boat. And accomplishing those things is a tall order.

Think about it – you have a lot of work ahead of you. You are learning how to let things go. You are embracing what it means to be independent and on your own as you near retirement.

You are discovering what it means to make decisions that are best for you. You are finding out what living life on your own terms means and how to put yourself first for a change.

That’s a pretty awesome to-do list. So, where do the following thought patterns fit in with your recovery?

I get so angry thinking about how my ex screwed me over with savings and retirement. Is he trying to bankrupt me? Oh, and when he tries to say I’m not there for the kids? What a pile of crap.

I’ll admit it… I’m envious that my ex has a new woman in his life. Damn, he moved on quickly! It makes me feel like crap.

You guessed it. They don’t!

Thinking about your ex doesn’t help your recovery one bit.

Investing your energy worrying about what your ex is doing or harboring resentment of the crap he pulled on you means that you’re only hurting yourself. And you’re taking away the gift that this divorce has given you – the gift of a second chance.

You deserve better than that.

And I’m going to help you get there. The next time you catch yourself thinking about your ex, do this simple exercise.

Step 1: Ask Yourself: How Does This Thought Pattern Help in My Recovery?

This step is the first in decreasing the emotional energy you spend thinking about your ex. And the more mindful you become of asking yourself this question whenever thoughts of the ex start to drag you down, the more in-tune you can become to letting that negativity go. So, let’s take a practice run.

My son mentioned my ex’s “new friend” who was over at the house, and it really made me angry. Did he really move on that fast?

Wait how does feeling angry help ME?  

Hmm. Thinking about my ex doesn’t help me. I am going to acknowledge that I heard the information but will stop there and not spend my energy thinking about it.

Step 2: Write Down: What Can I Try Instead?

When you become aware of the negative emotions you get from thinking about your ex, direct that emotion elsewhere – specifically to something positive and healing for you.

I recognize this anger I feel when hearing about my ex. Instead of letting that anger get to me, I am going to flip the switch and channel those emotions into something that serves me.

There are dozens of awesome things you can spend your emotional energy on that will help your healing, so rock the heck out of those.

Granted, switching this frame of mind may not happen overnight, and it certainly comes with practice. But the more mindful and kinder you are toward yourself, the more excited you’ll be as you move on to this new stage in your life.

What do you do to stop thinking about your ex? Are there any exercises that help you stay mindful of what you can do to recover from your divorce instead of dwelling in the past? Please share your experiences and advice below.

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The Author

Martha Bodyfelt is a divorce recovery coach who helps professional divorced women over 50 overcome their divorce loneliness and break free from the patterns keeping them stuck so they can feel fulfilled, have more fun, and live fearlessly. To find out what's *really* keeping you stuck after divorce, take the 30-second quiz.

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