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When Your Ex is Still the Right One

Dear Philippa,

My wife ended our long marriage last year and she's about to marry someone she met shortly after we split up. Although the last few years we were married we were always fighting, I never gave up on the hope that we could get back together again. Since the divorce we've tried to put the unpleasantness aside. Now I have to face the fact that some other guy is going to see more of my daughter than I do. I'm working through your 4 Steps process but I'm having difficulty defining the kind of woman I want to meet because I keep comparing my ideal woman to my ex-wife. Maybe I'm not ready yet to look for anyone else. What do you think?

�Bret, Houston, TX


Dear Bret,

My husband has one child living across the country and I've seen first hand how tough this kind of separation is. Add to that pain the fact that you didn't want the relationship to end and anyone can see that you're dealing with a great deal of loss at this time.

You are right to suggest that you may not yet be ready to figure out who your ideal woman is or look for her at this time. You are clearly attached to your ex-wife and former family life. You may benefit from sharing your pain with other men who are dealing with divorce and child separation issues. Trained counselors frequently lead these groups. Call some psychologists in your area for recommendations and information about local support groups.

While you are healing you may still choose to date and seek casual companionship. But be honest with yourself and others about your intentions at this time. There are women, who like you, are healing from the loss of a relationship. Together you can share solace, friendship and some enjoyable times. Keep things light and casual. Don't try to replace or fix your loss. Just discovering how you can have some good times with a variety of people.

As you get to know different women and have some positive experiences, jot down the aspects of the women that you like. Don't try and formulate any conclusions from your notes. As time goes by you'll discover many wonderful aspects in some of the women you date and you'll notice how good you can feel around them.

And most importantly, you'll discover there are women who think you're a fabulous guy. You may be divorced, but you are not your divorce. You are still the wonderful man you have always been.

This is a tough passage you are going through, but one with a beautiful vista over the horizon. It may be hard for you to picture that one day you will be healed and feel happy again in a new life. Like any loss, the pain never goes completely away, but we learn how to deal with it. When Love comes into our lives our heart finds new ways to grow again. I promise this will be true for you too.




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