I have been divorced from my husband for going on 7 years after 14 years of marriage—and I am still struggling. I know, this sounds ridiculous, right? My friends and family tell me (pretty regularly!) that it is well past time for me to be moving on. I know they are right but I just don’t seem to be able to “get over it” like they tell me to. My ex has definitely moved on. He was remarried within a year after our divorce was final—and he and his new wife have two children. They seem to be a happy family without a care in the world. Meanwhile, I am lonely and angry—and I feel like I have failed. What is wrong with me? How can I shake off this 7 year fog I’ve been in and make a new life for myself?
Hopelessly Alone…After All These Years
Dear Hopelessly Alone,
We are very sorry to hear of your struggles—and they do not sound ridiculous at all! We want you to know that, although you feel alone in your pain and sorrow, what you are experiencing is not at all uncommon—and you may be surprised to know that many others are grappling with very similar feelings and questions.
Divorce is a major loss, in and of itself; then add to that the multitude of losses that most often accompany divorce, such as loss of hopes and dreams for the future, loss of friends, loss of security, loss of financial stability, etc. When you add this up, it makes sense that you are grieving—and if you have not been able to acknowledge and attend to your grief you may need some help to get through the process and come out on the other side feeling healthy and whole and ready to begin the next chapter of your life.
We encourage you to seek the support of a professional counselor/therapist who can help you navigate this territory that is unknown and can seem daunting. It may also be helpful for you to find support among others who either have experienced or may still be experiencing similar feelings and doubts. Sage Center offers a Divorce Support group, as do many churches and other organizations, because we find that feeling comfort among peers is so essential to the healing process.
Author Vera Nazarian said, “A fine glass vase goes from treasure to trash, the moment it is broken. Fortunately, something else happens to you and me. Pick up your pieces. Then, help me gather mine.” We wish you the very best in your healing—and remember, you are not alone!
I moved to the Atlanta area about one year ago and I feel like I have made the adjustment pretty well. This is important to me because I have a tendency to be shy and isolate myself somewhat in unfamiliar situations—and I’m working hard not to repeat that pattern. I joined a group of people I met through my gym who go to various activities and events together several times a month. That has been a great way for me to acclimate myself to a new place, meet new people, and get involved. The problem is there’s a guy in the group who expressed that he is interested in me romantically. I don’t have the same feelings for him—I like him as a friend but don’t feel anything more for him than that. I don’t know what to do or say—I don’t want to hurt his feelings or anything—but recently I find myself not wanting to attend gatherings because I feel uncomfortable. What can I do?
Just Want To Be Friends
Dear Just Want To Be Friends,
First, we’d like to welcome you to Atlanta—and we are glad to hear that you feel you are finding your way and fitting in well! This group sounds like it has been a great help for you in your transition so it is important that you stay involved with them. As Benjamin Franklin is often quoted, “Honesty is the best policy” and that is what we feel will be the best approach for this situation.
We encourage you to tell him the truth—much like you did in your letter to us. Make it clear that you like him as a friend and are happy to engage with him platonically as part of the group however you are not interested in becoming any more involved than that. Think of it this way: your honesty with him is a gift—both to him and to you. Thomas Jefferson said, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” If you are kind, gentle, and caring in your delivery, you have done all that is within your power to not “hurt his feelings.” The rest is up to him.
We wish you much happiness and continued success in your new home!
Pegge Riley, LPC and Angela Wacht, LPC are Counselors and Directors of Sage Center: Counseling, Consulting, and Creative Community Wellness. They are here to provide suggestions and guidance about everyday life. To submit a question or concern to Sage Advice go to www.SageCenterAtlanta.com and click on the Sage Advice tab. The advice in this column is general and is not intended as actual counseling for specific issues or concerns. If you need to address more specific issues requiring more intensive focus, please contact Sage Center at 404-419-6221 or visit our website at www.SageCenterAtlanta.com