What Price Are You Paying For Holding Onto The Past?

Letting go after a divorce is hard. You feel as if you are on an emotional rollercoaster and do not know how to get off. You feel confused and are constantly thinking of “If only,” “What if,” “I could’ve,” and “I should’ve.” You are spending most of your waking day with these thoughts. You just do not understand the unfairness of it all. You thought marriage was for life. You cannot believe that this is really happening to you. You keep wishing that you would wake up from this nightmare.

Many women hold onto many emotions after divorce including anger, sadness, loneliness and guilt. You want revenge and you are looking for fairness. You have a notion that he is out having the time of his life. You cannot stand the thought of him being with another woman and may begin to wonder what is wrong with you. You may also want him to hurt as much as he hurt you.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, you may still love him. You are waiting for him to realize his wicked ways and repent. Then he will once again become your prince charming and you will live happily ever after.

“We need not destroy the past.  It is gone.”  ~John Cage

You are paying a price for holding onto the past.  When you are holding onto the past, you are unable to embrace the moment.  It is up to you to determine exactly what price you are paying; however, here are a few of the most common costs.

  • You are unable to see the happiness and joy that awaits you
  • You hold onto stress by resisting the reality
  • Your health may be deteriorating
  • You may have a difficult time sleeping
  • You are eating either too much or too little
  • You lack motivation to go out and meet new friends
  • You are allowing depression to settle in

You are like the foundation of a house. It can withstand fire as well as the most severe of storms.  You built your marriage on top of this foundation. The marriage crumbled and the walls came falling down. Nevertheless the foundation remains. Holding onto the past is like trying to figure out how to rebuild using the same damaged material.  When you begin to sweep away the debree, you are left with a beautiful strong foundation to build your new life on.

“Letting go isn’t the end of the world; it’s the beginning of a new life.” ~ Unknown

Holding onto the past keeps you a prisoner. The irony is that YOU are the only person who has the key to unlock the doors and set yourself free. You are choosing to remain a prisoner by staying chained to blame, resentment, anger, denial, guilt and resistance.

How do you set yourself free?


1) Release the need to take care of your ex
After years of marriage, you may still feel responsible for your ex or believe that he is responsible for you. This includes your ex asking you to take care of him if he’s ill, doing his laundry, handling paperwork or bailing him out of jail. On the other hand, you may feel the need to contact him if a pipe bursts or if your car breaks down. He is a big boy and can take care of himself. You can find other friends to help you out when need be.

2) Say good-bye to your ex and to the past
Saying good-bye to your ex is a huge step in releasing the past. You will not be saying this to him in person. You can either write him a long letter (not to be mailed) or have a friend step in and take his place during a role-play. Tell him about the good and bad times, your hopes and dreams and your feelings about the divorce. Tell him good-bye and wish him well.

3) Explore your options
Letting go of the past frees you to look to the future. Begin exploring where you want to be in five years in all areas of your life. Include where you live and work, what your finances look like and with whom and how you spend your free time. Get out a notebook and start writing down everything that you can think of.

4) Step out of your comfort zone
Take action. Start going out with friends, and perhaps throw a party yourself. Take up new hobbies and explore hobbies of the past, such as roller-blading, bowling, playing tennis or softball.  Look in your local paper to find clubs and organizations that may interest you and attend a meeting.

When you let go of the past, you will begin to feel happier and more alive. You will be interested in creating a new life and exploring all the possibilities that life has to offer you.  If you would like to speak to divorce specialist about rebuilding your life after divorce, schedule a free private session today.

“Without freedom from the past, there is no freedom at all, because the mind is never new, fresh, innocent.” Krishnamurti

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Filed Under: Emotions, Life After Divorce


  1. Frances Stevens says:

    Thank you so much for this article. This is exactly what I needed to hear exactly at this moment. The past few weeks have been confusing and heartbreaking. I barely eat, only go to work and return to a small apartment, and hardly ever check my email. I am so glad that I did tonight. Again, many thanks!

    • You are very welcome Frances! I am grateful that I have been of service to you. You may also be interested in joining our support group on Facebook. http://Facebook.com/SupportForDivorcedWomen.com
      I lived off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for months after my divorce. Letting go can be difficult. If you would like to schedule a time to talk to me in person, go to http://ow.ly/gUTTD
      I truly wish you a lifetime of peace and happiness and it really can be yours!

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