Relationship advice: When its time to forget your ex and focus on yourself, ‘Living well is the best revenge’ – Michmutters

Relationship advice: When its time to forget your ex and focus on yourself, ‘Living well is the best revenge’

If you’re finding it difficult to move on after your divorce, or you’re upset that your ex seems to be living their best life while you struggle, you’re far from alone.

It’s a conversation I see a lot in the support program I run, Women’s Divorce Academyfrom women who feel betrayed and abandoned by the partner who had promised to love and honor them till death do they part.

But, while it’s natural to have feelings you need to work through in the months after your separation, it’s not good for you to get stuck for years in that cycle of: Where did it all go wrong? How could they do this to me? And, worse, how dare they look so happy when I’m still finding it so hard?

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If you’re upset that your ex seems to be living their best life while you struggle, you’re far from alone. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

It’s this sort of mindset we saw playing out publicly when Ioan Gruffudd and his partner Bianca Wallace were granted a three-year restraining order against Gruffudd’s ex-wife Alice Evans this week.

In his submission to the court, Gruffudd claimed Evans “has used her social media accounts to continue to harass, threaten, and disturb the peace of both me and my girlfriend.”

Evans had shared private text messages, criticized her ex-husband and made claims about him cheating on her while they were married – all in the most public way.

Whether there was truth in Evans’ claims is besides the point. Divorce is never easy and nobody is their best self when they’re going through a painful time, but it’s also important to place your focus where it belongs: on your own wellbeing and that of your children.

Ioan Gruffudd files for divorce from Alice Evans.
Ioan Gruffudd and his estranged ex-wife Alice Evans. (instagram)

Keeping your focus on what you can do to recover and keep your children feeling secure and loved by both parents is the gold standard of a ‘good’ divorce. It’s by no means easy, but it’s something we can all strive for.

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Trying to convince your ex, or anyone else for that matter, that you have been treated unfairly – or punishing them for what has gone on between you – only traps you in a cycle of negativity and victimhood. It could also get you in trouble with the law.

Depending on the state you live in, your former partner (or current partner) can apply for a domestic violence order against you if you are stalking them, sending excessive text messages or emails, making threats, making insulting comments, calling them names, blackmailing them, preventing contact with family or friends, or putting them down – with or without your children present.

Whether your situation gets that far, or if you’re just feeling stuck and unable to move forward, it can help to talk to a therapist who can help you work through your feelings of hurt, betrayal and anger, and start to focus on your own happiness.

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divorce diaries
Making someone else miserable won’t actually make you happier on the long run. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

They say living well is the best revenge, but beyond that, it’s also just a much more fun way to be. Making someone else miserable won’t actually make you happier in the long run, but there are some things that will:

  • Go cold turkey on checking your ex’s social media feeds, as well as any of their friends. You don’t need to know.

  • Minimize contact as much as possible, and when you do need to talk, keep it in writing and 100 per cent business: times, places, etc.

  • Don’t ask your children to dish any dirt or put them in the middle of anything, no matter how your ex is behaving. Take the high road and make your home a conflict-free zone.

  • Be prepared to sit with feelings of grief, loss and anger. It’s hard, but really feeling those feelings means they will fade faster.

  • Write your ex a letter about all the ways you feel hurt, and don’t hold back or keep it polite. Don’t send it, but read it out loud to yourself daily for a week or two, and it will take the wind out of those feelings. Some therapists then suggest you burn the letter, or pee on it, or tear it to shreds. You can also just throw it away – your choice! Repeat as often as you need.

  • Take some time to get to know yourself again as a single person. Who are you and what do you like now? Learn something new or join a new community that doesn’t know you from your former life.

  • Make plans for the future that excite you. The plans you had together may be gone, but now you get the opportunity to create a whole new future, exactly the way you want it.

  • Give yourself a break. Whatever has happened up to this point can’t be changed, but you have the chance to decide what happens next.

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