February 6th, 2023
Moving on After Divorce: Why Letting Go of Your Ex Is So Important
Is your emotional attachment to your ex husband keeping you stuck in — well, a MARRIAGE — even after you’ve decided to divorce?
You may still be walking on eggshells to keep your ex happy…
Or letting them control the narrative with your kids…
Or allowing them to call all the shots — even if you disagree…
Or leaning on your ex for emotional support…
Or dragging things out in couples therapy — just so he can understand…
If this resonates with you, you’re not alone, love. Far from it.
I’ve seen this so many times with my coaching clients and in my community.
And honestly, it makes a lot of sense for you to feel this way.
After all, you’ve spent years — or even decades — building an intimate bond with your ex. You’ve built a life together. Maybe even had kids together. That’s a fucking LOT to unravel!
But my advice to you is this:
When you’re done, be DONE.
Letting go of your ex is hard work, but you deserve the peace of mind and independence that comes with it. And your first step is to unravel the unconscious knots that are keeping you from being fully empowered in your own right. It’s the ONLY way you’ll be able to carve out a life of your own — and on your own terms.
Why is letting go after a divorce so crucial?
When you allow yourself to stay emotionally entangled with your ex, you’re essentially giving up your right to think freely and make your own decisions. And this isn’t something you’re doing consciously. It’s a pattern you have to be INTENTIONAL about breaking.
Because if you’re unconsciously perpetuating your old dynamic with your ex — or allowing his narrative to control you — how will you have space for creating a life that works for YOU? A life that YOU love?
Without letting go, you WON’T be able to.
I see this soooo often.
So many women will physically divorce. They’ll legally divorce. But most forget to EMOTIONALLY divorce.
Don’t let this be you. I don’t want you to be stuck living a life that doesn’t allow you space to grow and shine.
And the only thing stopping you from leading your own life is that you haven’t disengaged with the unconscious patterns and expectations you have with your ex. You haven’t unraveled the deep shit — the emotional ties and cycles that are keeping you connected to someone you’ve just divorced.
Here’s a real-life example…
For years after my client’s divorce, her ex maintained control by hiding behind the term, “united front.”
She heard it time and time again…
“We need to be a united front in our parenting.”
It sounded GREAT on the outside, but what he really meant was, “You need to get on board with MY way,” which was just another way for him to control her.
And it worked. For wayyyy too long.
My client stayed on board with his ideas and his narrative because he still had her convinced that his way was the “right” way.
It took her 10 YEARS to realize she didn’t have to play into this dynamic. When she was finally ready to release herself from the toxic dynamic they’d been perpetuating well into their divorce, it suddenly became clear to my client that she didn’t have to agree to things she was vehemently opposed to.
So she finally started listening to what SHE wanted — despite being steamrolled for so long that she had lost touch with her own perspective.
After she stopped catering to her ex, they could no longer say they were a “united front.” But do you know what? By cultivating autonomy over her parenting decisions, my client demonstrated to herself that she had her own back, and in many cases, her son’s.
And now she has peace of mind because she sticks to her guns on the decisions that matter most to her.
You deserve this, too. But don’t wait ten years!
You deserve autonomy over your life. And the life you’re building might look very different from what your ex husband expected of you throughout your marriage.
But you don’t need anybody’s permission to live your own damn life. Not his. Not anyone’s.
And you do NOT need to feel guilty for making executive decisions about your own life — or your children’s lives. When you make an empowered life decision, you’re acknowledging your VOICE. It’s just been buried for so long that you’ve lost the knowledge that it’s been there all along.
That’s why it feels so wrong. But your voice and your intuition are NOT wrong, love.
This is hard for a lot of women to fully accept — because it can be challenging as hell to step out of familiar patterns. ESPECIALLY if your ex is the controlling type. Because that means you had to keep yourself very small — for a very long time — in order for the relationship to survive at all.
In fact, there are tons of reasons why you could be stuck in the same old cycles with your ex, so please don’t beat yourself up about it if you are. And have grace with yourself as you learn how to shed those patterns.
Moving on after a divorce when you have kids together
Cutting emotional ties with your ex is hard enough on its own, but when you throw kids in the mix — it can feel impossible at first. When you’re both responsible for raising the same small humans, how on Earth do you disentangle from each other’s lives?
The answer is BOUNDARIES. And a shit ton of them.
Because now is not the time to try to be BFFs with your ex. There’s a massive ravine of healing to be done before you can even think about redefining your relationship as “friends.”
You’ll need to take space and time to heal and figure out who you are on your own. And the only way to do that with someone you were previously enmeshed with is by sticking hard to your boundaries.
Here are some examples of healthy boundaries between you and your ex as you co-parent:
- Communicate differently — When things are raw immediately following the divorce — and likely for a long while afterward — keep the communication strictly limited to discussing the kids ONLY. Don’t rehash all the old shit every time you speak. Don’t get sucked into relationship conversations either. Just focus on the kids and get off the phone.
- Create a parenting schedule — Decide on a formal parenting plan and stick to it. This eliminates the back-and-forth between you and your ex and reduces the chances of conflict or manipulation.
- Don’t compete — Not only is this exhausting, but it doesn’t serve anybody involved. Be consistent in showing up and loving your kids without giving in to the urge to compete or keep score with your ex.
- Stay out of each other’s lives — I can’t say this enough. His life is his, and yours is yours. Don’t drive yourself crazy by trying to figure out what he’s thinking, where he’s going, and what he’s doing. And the same goes for him. Trust me, that energy will be much better spent deciding what YOU want in the next phase of your life. Unfollowing them on social media is a really good idea at this point.
When you can’t let go of your ex husband, build a new support system.
Listen, if the thought of cutting the emotional ties between you and your ex scares you shitless, know that you’re not alone. You may even be saying, “Kate, I don’t have any other support in my life. My ex was my only support system.”
That isolating feeling… that powerlessness you’re experiencing — it’s all totally normal. But those feelings are BIG signs that you have work to do to disentangle from the enmeshment.
Trust me, I went through the same exact feelings when I was in the muck of my own divorce. And I’ve worked with countless women who are right where you are.
But I don’t want you to stay there. I want you to come out on the other side of your divorce confident and thriving.
And that doesn’t happen to women when they try to do this alone. It’s essential for you to start cultivating your new support system and investing in other relationships — outside of your ex. You’ll need to build trust with people who can intimately encourage you and guide you in the right direction.
If you’re wondering where the hell to find that kind of support, don’t worry — I’ve got you covered, love.
You’ll find all that and more in my intimate community coaching experience, Grit & Grace. This program is custom-designed for women like you who are contemplating, going through, or recovering from divorce. Click here to learn more and join my supportive cohort.
I’m here for you. WE’RE here for you. All you have to do is take the next step!