It is one of those statistics we’ve accepted as fact: More than half of marriages end up in a divorce. It’s all over the internet, in books about relationships, even quoted by prominent TV advice and relationship “guru”. Over fifty percent of the US couples get divorced. That whole “till death do us apart“ seems really hypocritical and far-fetched. Should we blame the death of marriage on moral decay of today’s consumer society, twitter-quick attention span of today’s youth, rampant alternative life style, or online dating?
Here is the truth….
Fifty percent of our marriages are NOT ending in divorce. It’s a fiction. A myth. A sadly perpetuated urban legend, just like the Richard Gere and the gerbilstory.
See, there is no credible statistical evidence anywhere that would support the 50% divorce myth. Some demographers claim that there was increased focus on divorce rates during the 1970s when the number of divorces rose. This increase was partly as a result of no-fault divorce. Divorces peaked in 1979 and that’s when articles started to surface claiming 50 percent of American marriages were ending in the divorce court.
According to a spokesperson for the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics it appears the misinformation may have originated from a misreading of the facts: “It was true, if you looked at all the marriages and divorces within a single year, you’d find that there were twice as many marriages as divorces“. In 1981, for example, there were 2.4 million marriages and 1.2 million divorces. At first glance, that would seem like a 50-percent divorce rate. Logical, right?
BUT… The problem with the numbers is that virtually none of those divorces were among the people who had married during 1981. And the statistic failed to take into account the 54 million marriages that already existed, the majority of which DID NOT end in a divorce.
Second major problem is that most researchers rely on surveys, estimates, assumptions and predictions. Why? Because some states states do not report divorces to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), including the largest US state — California. One of the largest reports about divorce released by the NCHS is based on a 1995 study of 11,000 women. It predicted “one-third of new marriages among younger people will end in divorce.”
More flawed divorce statistics are discussed in the New York Times study “Divorce Rate — It’s Not As High As You Think” here.
Joshua R. Goldstein, associate professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton’s Office of Population Research, said the loss of detailed government data, coming at a time when divorce rates were at their highest, might have distorted not only public perception, but people’s behavior.
“Expectations of high divorce are in some ways self-fulfilling,” he said. “That’s a partial explanation for why rates went up in the 1970’s. As word gets out that rates have tempered or actually begun to fall. It could lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy in the other direction.”
OK, but what does that all mean? Maybe you already are in a middle of a painful divorce, about to become the latest statistic and there is absolutely nothing you can do — other than to accept the inevitable.
One thing: Keep hope. Hold on to hope. Even if it didn’t work out this time, there is ALWAYS next time. Remember that love, marriage and a great, committed relationship between two people is not only possible, it’s within your reach. And no urban legend, flawed statistic or myth can ever take that hope away.
There are several things I have discovered and a few lessons I learned (some the hard way) during my breakup and my divorce. One of the biggest revelations I had during my last break up: It doesn’t matter all that much who pulls the plug on the relationship. It is just as difficult and painful to say “it’s over between us” as it is to get dumped. Getting the bad news — whether you saw it coming or not — brings shock, anger and sorrow. But things are not any easier if you’re the one who calls it quits. Get ready for a wave of guilt, doubt and heavy questions like:
Should we give it more time?
Was breaking up REALLY the right thing to do?
Was the relationship just a waste of time?
Was there a way to save it (and would it be worth it)?
During the quiet time of solitude that follows your mind keeps replaying the past with your ex and you perpetually mull over incidents and arguments you could have handled better, things you should have done differently, stuff you shouldn’t have let happened in the first place. There isn’t much you can do about the guilt right after you end a relationship BUT if you don’t watch it, the heaviness of your guilt can over time tear you down. One glance on that picture of you two and BAM!, you’re in the pits. Here are three tips to help you regain balance and get back on your (emotional) feet:
1. BE OK WITH YOUR FEELINGS
You feel what you feel at the moment and other than heavy dose of pills, nothing will bring instant relief. Remember, any decent human being with heart and conscience feels guilty. It’s normal. No point of beating yourself up over it. Yes, your divorce or breakup is painful and your ex is hurting, but “I’m sorry I hurt you” is NOT the same as “I hurt you because I’m a bad person“. Make sure — really MAKE SURE you KNOW the difference.
2. WATCH FOR TRIGGERS
All it takes is a birthday card you got from your ex to trigger all those negative emotions of regret and remorse. Or just a thought that can open Pandora’s box of guilt and sadness. Next time you start going down that road, just pause and be aware what triggered it and where it’s trying to take you. Pause, take a step back and just notice what’s happening: “Hmmm, driving by our favorite coffee shop really made me feel guilty and sad. Maybe next time I can take a different route.”
3. BE PATIENT
Divorce or a breakup is not just a flu. You are going though very difficult, complicated, and messy emotional storm. Be patient with yourself, even if you’re like me and patience is not one of your strengths. Do nice things for yourself and be gentle. Remind yourself WHY the relationship really ended and stand by your choices and decisions. It’s over and done. You and/or your ex were not happy and it was time to move on. It’s true that a big chapter of your life has come to an end, but it means that something new is beginning.
After my relationship ended, I was looking for ways to ease the pain of my heartbreak. I realized that there is no such thing as “quick fix”. No magic pill that would get me through the difficult times.
But I also found comfort in knowing that I was not alone. Almost every adult has at some point gone through the same painful ordeal of a break up or a divorce.
Some of the greatest art, paintings, poetry and music were born out of a heartbreak. I began to collect famous broken heart quotes about heartbreak and sadness, and I later put together a video. One of my favorite quotes is from Missy Altijd because I could so relate to it — heartbreak really does hurt everywhere:
“I don’t know why they call it heartbreak. It feels like every other part of my body is broken too.“
There is also another great quote from the English writer and poet Rupert Brooke:
“I thought when love for you died, I should die. It’s dead. Alone, most strangely, I live on.”
I didn’t believe it at the time — there was just too much pain, despair and sadness, but today I KNOW this to be true:
“A heartbreak is a blessing from God. It’s just his way of letting you realize he saved you from the wrong one.”
Just want you to know that you’re not alone in your heartbreak. Hope the video will sooth your heart and bring you relief in your pain. Enjoy and let me know what you think.
I was not ready for the breakup. Not at all. “It’s over. I’m leaving.” Those words, like a sharp razor cut right through my soul. Emptiness, sorrow, and sadness filled the days and weeks that followed. I could not sleep, I couldn’t not eat, I could not even think straight. It felt as if the heartache would never go away.
“Don’t worry. You’ll get over it. Time will heal all wounds.” I know my friends meant well but all that advice was NOT helping.
If you struggle through a breakup or a divorce right now, it may feel like the pain is unbearable and it will never end. Here are some tips from Bossip that will help you get through these hard times.
Avoid the Friend Zone - when it’s over, it’s over! There is no such thing as being friends with your ex right away. In time, you can be friends but take the time you need to heal! No phone calls, no random late night sleepovers because “I miss you.” Stay strong and avoid contact for at least 90 days!
Do Not Get Drunk and Dial - alcohol and a cell phone are the perfect elixir for a disaster! Getting drunk and calling your ex to ask all the questions you think you want to know the answers to “do you miss me?” or “have you been seeing anybody else?” You might not be prepared for the answer or the attitude on the other end of the phone saying, “take your drunk a*s to bed.” This is never good. Remove the numbers from your phone to avoid these kind of nights.
Refrain from Random Sex - finding a “jump-off” or a void filler is nothing more than quick fix that doesn’t help you in the grand scheme of things. Furthermore, why pass the pain that you’re feeling on to someone else? Nobody wins. Take the time you need to heal, jumping into a fling immediately after a breakup is not healthy and likely ends up being a waste of time.
Switch It Up - Go through your house and rearrange your furniture, especially in the bedroom. Move your bed to another corner or switch up the entire layout of your living room! You can take it a step further and paint a room or two a different color. This helps refresh your attitude and enhances the desire to turn a new leaf!
You probably still have feelings for your ex. Maybe you still want to get back together, or at least stay friends. Staying friends with my ex was probably one of the biggest mistakes I made after my breakup and one of the most painful lessons I learned the hard way. Be strong, cut the connection, and avoid all contact with your ex. Yes, it is a hard, but necessary step on the way to healing.
Some relationships are meant to last a life time. Take my grandparents — they were together 52 years. But it doesn’t always work out that way. Over time, some relationships flourish and some dissolve. When a couple grows apart, it doesn’t mean that either one is a bad person, but rather that they’ve learned all that they needed to from the other, and that it’s time to move on.
Tina Su from Think Simple Now offers seven helpful tips to help you get over a break up, heal, and let go of the emotional baggage.
7 Tips Getting Over a Break Up
1. Letting Go
What would you do if your house was burnt to the ground, and everything you owned was destroyed? I’m sure you’d be frustrated and angry at first, but at the same time, no amount of anger will undo what has been done. It is what it is. Your best bet is to begin moving on, and working towards creating a new home.
Similarly, when a relationship ends, you’ll want to practice letting go and allowing the healing process to begin quickly.
If you were on the receiving end of a breakup, do not dwell on whether the person will come back or not, if they broke up with you at one point, chances are, something is wrong with the fit of your partnership, and you’ll be better appreciated elsewhere, with someone else. Even if you and the ex get back together, it is unlikely to last (from my experience).
Trust that everything in the Universe happens for a reason, and it benefits everyone involved in the long run, even if the benefits are not yet clear. Trust that this is the best possible thing to happen to you right now, and the reasons will become clear in the future.
2. Release Tension and Bundled Up Energy
We all have the need to be understood and heard. Whether we’re on the receiving end or the initiating end of a breakup, we often carry with us the tension and any unexpressed emotions. We can release this extra energy by:
Talking about it with a friend.
Voicing our opinions honestly and openly with our ex-partner, which have been bottled up in the past.
Punching a pillow and crying freely for 10 minutes
Screaming out aloud and imagining unwanted energy being released with your voice (seriously, I’ve done a meditation that incorporated this, and I instantly felt better).
Writing in a journal (more on this later).
Exercise and body movement.
3. Love Yourself
The practice of loving yourself is the most important aspect on the road to personal happiness and emotional stability. I’ve personally had my most valuable personal growth spurts during the period when I vigorously worked on this aspect of my life.
I did everything from cooking myself fancy dinners, to spending every Sunday on my own doing the things that I loved, to taking myself to Symphonies, to taking overseas trips on my own. Each one had its own challenges and confronted my beliefs about loneliness. Through overcoming the fear of loneliness, I experienced deep joy all by myself. It was so gratifying, refreshing and empowering.
Here are some ideas to cultivate the art of loving yourself:
Take yourself on romantic dates as if you were on a date with another person. Put on nice clothes, maybe buy yourself flowers, treat yourself to something delicious, and take long walks under the stars. Whatever your idea of a romantic date is.
Look at yourself in the mirror. Look yourself in the eyes. Smile slightly with your eyes. Practice giving gratitude to what you see. You don’t need words. Just send out the intent of giving an abundance of love to the eyes that you see, and feel the feelings of love within you. As you are looking into your eyes, look for something you admire about your eyes – maybe the color, the shape, the depth, the exoticness, or even the length of your eye lashes. This will be a little weird and uncomfortable at first, but just trust me, and continue with it. Do this for a few minutes every day.
Sit or stand in front of a mirror, or sit somewhere comfortable (mix it up, and do both on different days), put both hands on your chest and say to yourself, “I love you, <insert your name>”. Repeat a few times, slowly. Continue with qualities you like about yourself, or things you are good at. Be generous and list many, even if they sound silly. Example, “I love that you always know how to make your salads so colorful and appetizing.”, “I love that you have the discipline to go to the gym regularly, and you really take care of your body.”, “I love that you are so neat, and can keep your desk so organized.”
Practice doing things on your own to challenge your fear of being alone. For example, if you have a fear of eating alone in a restaurant, go out to a restaurant on your own. Your mission is to find the joy within that experience.
4. Love Your Ex-Partner
Allow the love within you to flow. Try practicing forgiveness and open up your heart.
Over the past few months, my friend Tom Stine and I have been chatting about the topic of overcoming breakups. Tom had been married for 13 years and went through a divorce that took him 2 years to emotionally recover from. When asked about how he got over his ex-wife, he had a few snippets of wisdom to convey:
“I let myself love her. Even when it felt like my heart was going to break. Adyashanti says something amazing – when people say, ‘My heart feels like it is going to break.’ He says, ‘Let it break. If you let it really break – really, really break, it will transform you.’
“LET YOUR HEART BREAK WIDE OPEN”. Let go of every possible belief or thought that says your ex is anything other than the most incredible, amazing, wonderful person in the Universe. You gotta love them and open your broken heart, WIDE OPEN!!!! That’s how to get over a break-up, really get over it. Anything short of that is not gonna do it.”
“The key for me was getting utterly clear: we are apart, and the Universe never makes mistakes. We are over. And I can still love her. That was HUGE. I can love her with all my heart and soul and we never have to be together. And when I realized that, I felt amazing. And still do. The freedom was great. I could finally own-up to how much I wanted out of our relationship. All the hurt and anger disappeared. I was free.”
The underlying message of love in Tom’s words is pretty clear and powerful.
5. Give it Time
It takes time to heal. Be patient. Give it more time. I promise the storm will end, and the sun will peak through the clouds.
6. Journal Your Experience
Spend some quality time in a comfortable chair, at your desk or at a café, and write your thoughts and feelings on paper. No, not typing on a laptop, writing on paper with a pen. Follow your heart and flow freely, but if you’re stuck, here are some writing exercises you can do:
Drill into the why – Start with a question or statement, and continue to drill into why you feel that way until you have a truthful and satisfying reason. The exercise isn’t to issue blame or blow off steam at someone else. It’s meant to gain clarity and understanding into how you feel, so you can alleviate unnecessary pain. For example, you might start with the statement, “I am in a lot of pain, ouch!”, and your why might be “because she left me”. Now ask yourself, “why does that hurt so much?”, and one possible why might be, “because I feel abandoned”. The following why to “why does feeling abandoned hurt so much?”, “because it makes me feel alone”, etc. More than likely, the real reason has something to do with our own insecurities or fears.
Finding the Lessons – What did you learn from the relationship? What did you learn from the other person? How is your life better because of it? How will your future relationships be better because of it?
7. Read Something Inspirational
Books that deal with our emotions and ego are incredible tools at a time of healing. They help to enlighten our understanding of ourselves and our experiences.
We often judge the quality of a relationship by the number of years. But a successful relationship is not measured by the amount of time you spend together, but in the amount of joy, love and happiness you give and receive — whether it lasts only a year, ten years, or fifty-two.
I remember not that long ago going through one of the most difficult times of my life. Days filled with a dull, physical pain, sorrow and emptiness. Yes, support from my close friends and family was helpful, but I still felt isolated and alone at times.If you’re going through a difficult breakup or a divorce, know that you are NOT alone.
Journalist, writer and kindred spirit Rea de Miranda offers these warm words of encouragement for those going through the pain:
There is a myriad of emotions we experience after a loss. We may feel shock and disbelief and after that anger at the person who left you or the boss who fired you from your job or at God for the illness you have or the death of a loved one. We go though things like bargaining with God or the person you lost, to intense anger, helplessness and hopelessness, depression and finally acceptance. The road to healing is a long one and it is an emotional roller coaster ride.
We can waver between bouts of weeping, laughter and faith. These feelings come and go and have no order to it. We must let ourselves go though this and accept the emotions, it is part of the healing process. We should give ourselves time and take care of ourselves like you would a friend going through something like this. There is no timeline to grief of any form. It all depends on the kind of relationship you had with the person you lost, if you will find a job again or if you will be healed from your illness. We all experience emotions in a different way. Where someone might be very emotional and open about it, some will act strong and hide their pain away. One of the best medicines for a broken heart is crying. Tears cleanse the soul.
When a loved one dies there is this huge void left by their parting. We grief not only for them but the future we had with them. The loss of a parent is the love and safety that is lost. The death of a child is part of your life gone. The death of a spouse is the other half that is lost. Every loss through death has its own different compartments you mourn. Death is one of the deepest and most final losses we can experience and it takes longer to heal.
A divorce is one of the most upsetting and painful transitions we can go through. The dream for the future you had, the person you confided in and with whom you shared your life is now all broken dreams. People who go through a divorce feel intense loneliness and depression. You can feel like a failure and that you don’t fit in anywhere any more.
When you lose a job it creates financial insecurity and worries about how you are going to manage to survive. You may also experience feelings of failure and hopelessness. Fear of the future is also a great factor in this situation.
Sudden illness can rob you of your normal life and life expectancy. It is very upsetting and painful not to be able to live like you used to. Many kinds of illnesses alter your life so much that you are incapacitated. Sometimes you need a complete adjustment to life in general and it creates a loss of self.
All these losses contribute to a broken heart and we need time and patience to work through the different emotions we experience. When you feel yourself going into deep depression you must seek professional help. Medication or therapy can help you come to terms with your situation. We have to take care of ourselves and not give up when our hearts are broken. Talk to a friend or someone you can trust about your pain and suffering. Not one of us is an island and we must try to reach out and ask for help. Many people feel too proud to admit to weakness but it is futile to think that way. We can’t overcome heartbreak alone.
I hope with this you can feel yourself reach out to others and in this group. If you need love and understanding and comfort we are here for you. Don’t feel alone and isolated, it is not true.
Perfect relationship, the love of your life, “happily ever after” with your soulmate…
And then it came crushing down. Painful breakup, maybe separation, or worse – a divorce.Sonya Green teaches people how to reinvent themselves, recreate their lives after a painful breakup through meditation. She offers this excellent insight:
Love and death are the two life experiences which really compel us to look at life and the nature of reality. The loss of love, such as a divorce, the end of a relationship or even an unrequited love can be as devastating as losing someone through death. We try to be rational and look for answers from an intellectual viewpoint, but we rarely, if ever, find satisfaction or resolution. At best, we may decide that, “It’s just the way things go, get over it and move on”. Through some force of mental discipline, we suck it down and convince ourselves that we have accepted and recovered from our loss.
When we have been deeply connected to another person we feel intrinsically woven into them. We try to express this sense with statements like, “He was a part of me” or “He completed me”. In death or divorce, it is common to feel like you have lost a part of yourself.
Family and friends will usually be supportive and sympathetic, but there are no cards, no flowers, and no time-out to recover. We are not encouraged to talk about him, and if anything, we are shut down, and advised to dismiss or deny our memories or sentimentalities. Well meaning friends will try to accelerate your disconnection by reminding you about what a cad he was.
You see the disappointment in their eyes and feel the humiliation well up inside you, and you remind yourself again how desperate and insignificant you really are. You make a mental note to yourself, “Don’t say that out loud ever again, don’t even allow yourself to think it again – keep telling yourself, it’s over, until you believe it”.
So, plan B: “I hate him, I never want to see him again, I don’t know what I ever saw in him, he is scum, and I will never, never take him back.”
Plan C: Enter the actress: New hairdo, new clothes, weight loss and party, party, party. “Who? Oh yeah, I used to have a scene with him, big mistake, what a loser.”
At some point, we manage to split our life into two realities. Our external face presents well, and for all appearances, we seem to have gotten over it. We rarely, if ever, mention him, and when we do – it’s in cool tones. We are back in the game and might have begun dating again or become involved in some new hobby or interest, and, all in all, we may appear to be doing well and moving on. Our second life – our secret life – plays itself out within our imagination. At home, alone and private, our love is as real and as powerful as ever. Perhaps it’s even better than it ever was; alone in bed and silent – he comes…
Only love can replenish love. Even if you feel you are faking it at first, it is most important to get back your flow. Be, loving with yourself. Treat yourself the way he should have treated you. Treat yourself the way you wanted to treat him.
Acknowledge the love you share with family and friends, and allow that to expand. Try and stretch loving moments and experiences – take compliments and kindnesses, imbibe beauty and extend pleasure. Re-call your energy andbring it back into yourself. Love the lovable and love the worthy.
Going through a painful experience such a breakup or a divorce is emotionally very close to losing a loved one. The grieving process, the pain, sorrow and sadness take time to heal just as much. Get back to living as soon as possible. As Sonya suggests, fake it if you must. But do start living again. Because at the end, it’s all worth it!
“It’s over. Now what?” You may be afraid that that feeling of emptiness and loss after a breakup or a divorce will NEVER go away. The emotions of a breakup or a divorce are like NO OTHER experience.
Famous relationship expert Dr. Phil offers this advice:
There’s no question that breakups can be painful, and that it’s difficult to trust and love again. But there are ways to get past the pain. Here is some of Dr. Phil’s advice for healing the heartbreak.
In time, it is absolutely vital to put the pain behind you and move forward with your life and love. Otherwise, you are giving away your power to the people who hurt you.
Sometimes the relationship you need to rescue is the one with yourself. Moving past a breakup is about you, not your ex.
Don’t start thinking about being friends right away — if ever. You have to be your own friend first.
Grief is a process to go through, not a destination in which to wallow. In a process, you keep putting one foot in front of the other, and each little step is part of your healing.
Define your real intentions. Are you trying to move past the breakup, or are you hoping to get back with your ex? You won’t move on until you’ve accepted that the relationship is over.
Be careful about the language you use. When you use catastrophic terms like “nightmare,” “terrible,” and “horrible,” you’re bound to spend time dwelling on the negative. Focus on what you can do.
Sometimes you can’t get over being hurt until you know you’ve been heard. Give yourself permission to express your anger and sadness.
Don’t embarrass yourself or put yourself in a situation where you’ll look back and feel humiliated. Driving past your ex’s house, making dozens of phone calls or e-mailing non-stop is no way to let go of the past or come out with your head high.
Learn to trust again. Whenever you get involved in a relationship, you know there’s a risk. Don’t let a bad experience keep you from living your life to the fullest. You can go through life suspicious, or loving and laughing.
I can tell you from my personal experience that just being able to express all the emotions of a breakup such as sadness, loneliness, anger and sorrow has made a huge difference in my healing process. Find a trusted friend, share openly EVERYTHING you’re feeling and you will feel instant relief.