Fly with the Phoenix


Walking out of love

Do you remember when you fell in love with your ex-husband or ex-wife? It hit me about a month after the first date during a romantic picnic my ex-husband planned for my birthday. In front of my fireplace on a blanket, we ate (shrimp cocktail and chocolate come to mind) and shared wine. Finally, he sprinkled rose petals over my head while he said romantic stuff in French and finally pledged how he’d love me always. Those were the days.

Falling in love–for many people–is easy. Learning to “unlove” someone, well, that’s another story.

When couples divorce, whether or not it was an acrimonious split, there is need to let go of the love you felt as the other person’s mate. If we fall in love, we slowly walk out of love. In order to move your life forward, it’s important to let go of this part of your past. Your ex-spouse always will be a part of your history, and if you share children, he or she will remain a part of your life until the kids are grown. But the way you remember the person and how you feel about him will change in time. The trick is how you can walk out of love and do it gracefully.

As a Christian woman, my faith tells me I have to walk away from the romantic love I felt for my husband and move more toward the type of love I hold for all of God’s children and creation. This state of love is built with kind concern but certainly void of romantic ties.

I listened to a grief coach recently talk about ways to work through difficult memories and I think these can be used to help us walk out of love.

According to Ann Leach, it’s good to list the fine qualities of a loved one when we are on a grief journey. When this tactic is applied to our ex-spouse, it gives us permission to remember the good points to him and the marriage. The relationship wasn’t always difficult, the person not always tough to live with. Remembering the good times helps us to release hurt and anger that may swirl around the end of a relationship.

Equally important is facing the imperfect qualities of your former loved one’s personality, but doing something positive for yourself or others around those memories. Ann used a couple of examples. If your loved one was judgmental, you can set personal goals that will help you not to judge others. If your loved one drank too much, Ann suggested making a donation to MADD in the person’s memory. A link to Ann’s site appears in my blogroll and also on my Web site, www.hopefultransitions.com. If you’d like help with learning how to walk out of love, a new mentoring service I offer might be the ticket for you. It’s useful for people trying to get unstuck from a point in life so they can move forward. Request information by emailing me, deb@hopefultransitions.com.

Meanwhile, to help you walk out of love, write down at least three good qualities your ex-spouse had, and write three shortcomings. If you want to identify more, feel free to do so. Record in your journal how you felt after this exercise. My guess is you may feel less connected as you appreciate the once romantic love you had while moving away from the old relationship.


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