February 1, 2021

Why I Stopped Comparing Myself to the Other Woman (& my Ex).

Some traumas take a lifetime to recover from.

We experience moments of release and growth from the pain, a subsiding of the discomfort, and the wound, for all intents and purposes, appears closed and healed—then life happens.

Ten years ago, I divorced from my high school sweetheart of almost 15 years. In those 15 years, we brought into the world two beautiful children who at the time of the divorce were 10 and eight.

After the big decision was made, the girls kept mentioning another woman that they were hanging out with when they were at their dad’s house.

Yes, you guessed it, he was dating again, and this other woman was quickly swooping in to replace me. The pain of the divorce was enough, but another woman? So soon?

From the back seat, I watched my girls build a new family life with this woman and their dad, while I remained single, healing my broken heart and struggling to make ends meet on one income.

Soon, I started to date again. My confidence came back. I found someone I could see myself spending the rest of my life with. I was going to have a family again and feel safe and whole. I was determined.

We bought the house, we bought the car, we went to counseling, we cried, we argued, we were sad, and we were unhappy—and so I moved out. And this is when the wound that I was convinced was healed and grown anew, revealed itself as still open.

You see, my safety and wholeness were dependent upon a picture I had painted in my mind of how life should be.

I was so focused on regaining what I had lost from our divorce that I overlooked that I was actually okay on my own and I was actually okay in the dating situation that I was in.

He had his busy life and child, and I had my busy life and children, and we supported and loved each other. I was chasing an idea that I thought would make me whole again. I hadn’t yet realized the safety I was seeking could only be found within me.

I have read that comparison is the thief of joy.

Coming out of my divorce, I longed to have what I lost and what my ex-husband had so quickly rebuilt. I compared my life to his and made decisions to match what he had and not what I needed.

Comparison ultimately leads to suffering.

Instead of focusing on what is truth and reality, we long for another feeling, another life, another experience, which ultimately creates a void. I realize that I created that void and then—like most humans—needed to fix it.

And so I continue to tend to the wound, to move through what wasn’t yet processed or understood, and grant myself the grace to heal.


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