Hating your ex is only hurting you.
You’ve done it! You’ve finally created a post-divorce life for yourself that you love. And honestly, things are absolutely perfect. Well, perfect except for one thing – you still hate your ex.
Hating your ex for a while as you heal from your divorce is part of the process. But when the hatred doesn’t abate despite moving on in every other way, it’s time to re-evaluate the energy you’re continuing to invest in the animosity.
The fact that you still hold such abhorrence toward your ex reflects all the hurt you felt about the end of your marriage and/or your ex’s behavior before, during and after the end. And these are valid reasons to seriously dislike, mistrust, and/or wish your ex would fall off the face of the planet.
But the more time, effort and emotional energy you spend hating your ex, the less time, effort and emotional energy you have for you and your nearly perfect new life. And seriously, your ex doesn’t deserve any more of you, do they?
So now it’s time to put the detestation behind you and stop investing in the past.
Here are 8 tips to help you move on from hating your ex:
- Get Grateful. Start focusing on what’s good about your life now. Any time your mind wanders to the past and what did or didn’t happen, remember that today you’ve got a great life and shift your attention to what’s good.
- Take a technology timeout. Being connected is a fact of life and has its benefits and detriments. And technology has a couple significant drawbacks when you’re still hating your ex. First, the ability to connect 24/7 increases the likelihood of yet another argument with your ex. Second, the ability to keep tabs on what your ex is doing. Neither of these is necessary or good for you, so do what you have to do to eliminate being constantly connected to your ex and the temptation to cyberstalk them.
- Curb the caffeine. Caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline which stimulates the fight, flight or freeze response. So when you know you will need to interact with your ex, cut down on your caffeine consumption and you’ll find that you are more able to keep your cool.
- Stop the negative self-talk. When you load yourself up with negativity about you, it’s really easy to want to shift the focus (and blame) from you to your ex which only exacerbates your extreme dislike. So learn to stop the negative chatter about you and you’ll start being less vulnerable to your ex’s antics.
- Get sufficient slumber. I’m sure you’ve noticed that if you don’t get enough sleep, you tend are grumpier the next day. Well, if you’ve already got plenty of reasons for still hating your ex, then cheating yourself out of the rest and recovery that sleep offers will just make you that much more prone to continuing your hatred because you’re too exhausted to try something different (like these 8 tips).
- Change your perspective. You’ve already had to change your perspective about so many things because of your divorce. Choosing to change how you feel about your ex is just another one of the perspectives you’ll be better off changing that continuing to center on. (And changing your perspective doesn’t mean that you’re going to forget. It just means that you’re not going to focus on the negativity anymore.)
- Set boundaries. There’s no reason why you can’t come up with appropriate limits to how and when you will engage with your ex. (Obviously, if you have kids your engagement with your ex will be much greater than if you don’t.)
- Stay aware of your emotions. Hate is a very strong emotion. When you’re stuck hating your ex, it’s very easy for the hatred to seem to take on a life of its own. That’s when you know you have a habit, an unconscious reflexive emotion of hatred toward your ex. By staying aware of your emotions, you’ll be able to catch yourself in the habit of hostility and choose to change your thoughts as you consciously move on from hating your ex.
Employing these 8 tips won’t cause you to immediately stop hating your ex. But they will get you on the correct path for finally moving past the hatred and hurt.
And if you find that after working these 8 tips on your own for a while that you’re still stuck hating your ex, then it’s time to reach out for some help. There are plenty of divorce professionals who can help you overcome your hatred.
Your time is precious – arguably the most precious resource you have. You’ve already invested so much time into your ex and the marriage you had. You don’t need to continue to spend any more of your life hating your ex. You deserve to fully enjoy the wonderful new life you’ve created for yourself without your ex ever taking any more undeserved focus again.
Looking for more advice to make your post-divorce life great? You’ll find what you’re looking for in Life After Divorce.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce coach and advisor helping people just like you who are looking for advice and support in making sure their after divorce is great. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. If you’re interested in taking the first step toward working with me as your personal coach, you can schedule an introductory private coaching session.