If you are reading this, chances are the love of your life has left you.
Your world is crushed. A piece of you is gone; there’s a hole in your heart. A part of you has died. Your heart is wounded.
Your expectations of what you thought life would be, have been rudely interrupted.
However, life can still be rich and fulfilling but it will never be the same again.
Is there hope? Yes.
Can life be good again? Absolutely.
Earl Grollman said “Grief is not a disorder, disease, or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical, spiritual necessity, it is the price we pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.”
That is why we grieve because love has been wounded. You have a history with the person you’ve lost. This person has connected with you every single day since the relationship formed, possibly connecting with you more than anyone else ever has.
It is difficult for others to understand why you might be hurting so bad because they haven’t walked in your shoes. The process for recovery is difficult.
Below we will list the 3 main steps in healing from lost love. We still encourage you to reach out for help during this time.
You have a broken heart. You don’t have a broken brain. You are NOT crazy, there is nothing wrong with you. You don’t need to be “fixed.”
We aren’t here to fix you.
Step 1: Give yourself permission to grieve.
You have every right to grieve for however long you need. We live in a society where everything is suppose to be nice and neat. Losing someone is NEVER a nice and neat process.
Most people feel guilt when they lose someone, whether through death or separation/divorce. They don’t believe they have the right to be happy ever again because the person they love is gone. You need to give yourself the permission to grieve.
This permission to grieve helps you get out of that pit of grief. Grief is normal and natural. The feeling of being incomplete and that need to be made complete; the “I wish I would’ve said something or done something differently or done more, why wasn’t I better?” All these feelings of guilt are incomplete.
Step 2: Start defining your regrets/resentments
Al Williams said “All I can do is all I can do, and I’ll I can do is enough.” Recognize the incomplete. Stop the action that hurts them, apologize;at that point, you have done all you can do.
Guilt equals regret. Identify your guilt/regret and apologize. Do this for you, not them. Forgive resentments and apologize for grief you may have caused.
In the Save My Marriage Course the standing spouse (the spouse who wants to put the marriage back together- when the other spouse wants out) is asked to write a letter apologizing for what you may have done wrong.
Don’t beat yourself up, don’t go on and on and do not put any resentments in that letter. You may get a variety of results but hopefully, this is a step that could lead to a reconciliation.
You may even want to keep a copy of the letter so that you may add things later on if you need.
If you are doing this on someone who has abused you either sexually, physically, or emotionally- do NOT do regrets. You are totally innocent.
In addition, do not hold in any resentments because you feel they are dishonoring your lost one.
If you choose to give your spouse the letter apologizing for what you have done, do not put any resentments in this letter. That will push your spouse further away.
The resentment part of this exercise is only for you.
Step 3: Remember the good times.
Do this for yourself. This is tough. We tend to villainize the people who have hurt us. If we aren’t careful everything is negative and it’s a skewed view because we do have good memories.
We use to love them, if we don’t still. We want you to be balanced in your view of the person you lost. We want you to have at least three resentments & three good memories.
You maybe wondering, “If I am going to heal, how can I leave the door open for my wondering spouse to come back? Where is the balance between hope that helps and hope that doesn’t help?”
When you have really thought about your regrets, resentments and the good memories with that person. And you keep trying and trying and trying but the other party just keeps hurting you, when you really deal with your pain you are in a better position to move on.
You will go through the grieving process. A part of you will be gone.
If you have had an affair and have now chosen to reconcile your marriage… You need to grieve the loss of your affair partner. You gave part of your heart to this other person.
So, yes, you have to grieve this person once you have ended the relationship. It’s not an honest recovery if you don’t admit that these feelings of grief exist. You have to deal with those emotions. Give yourself permission to grieve.
The feelings will go away quicker if you stop hiding behind them. Lean into the waves of grief, it won’t hurt near as badly as pushing against them.
Grieving is a change of familiar pattern. You will have triggers of grief. If the grief is anticipated, such as an upcoming wedding anniversary, then have a plan. Share the pain with someone & make a plan.
You may also experience unanticipated triggers such as a song that comes on- give yourself permission to grieve during these moments.
Sometimes you can’t do anything, you just have to embrace the sadness.
We believe there is always hope for your marriage, unless your spouse has remarried. During this time of hope, work on you.
Part of that is setting healthy boundaries. Listen to Dr. Beam’s podcast on boundaries or come to our Marriage Helper 911 Workshop to get help with that. If you cannot make the workshop, look into our Save My Marriage Online Course.
You have to change yourself first. You cannot “fix” your spouse, that won’t work. Do not beat yourself up.
Be in a position to get up and do healthy things. If you are needing extra support during this time please look into joining our Save My Marriage Group on Facebook.
If you are needing more help with the grieving process, please visit www.sparkoflife.org