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There is Life and Happiness after Divorce
Written By: Mark Smith


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Managing Abandonment  Issues Through Recovery
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Each week I try to pay attention to what fate might bring across my path as the subject for my weekly column. It is always obvious what I should write about. I usually write on Wednesday mornings but this week when the time to write rolled around I was completely blank. So I punted and hoped that something would come up soon. It did. As I was waiting for a good friend for a lunch meeting at my new hang out, the fabulous new Carmel Monon Center I bumped into an old client.

You have to understand that I'm a notorious introvert who values his space. Quite frankly I usually duck out when I see an old client coming. While I do care about my old clients these re-connections many times feel like awkward mini therapy sessions and I'm rarely in a place where that feels right. I know that many of them don't really want to run into their old therapist either.

Things felt different with David though. I had a few minutes available and I felt like chatting. He looked healthy, better in fact then he looked when I worked with him 10 years previous. Let me give you a little background. I asked David's permission to write about him this week. His name and some of his story have been changed to protect his privacy.

David's wife had an affair. She met a guy in Seattle on a business trip. Ultimately the guy moved to Indianapolis and that was that. At the time David was quite reactive and I'm not sure how much of what I tried to teach him sunk in. They quit coming to therapy together once the affair was revealed. David stayed on doing some group work, but he wasn't really ready to process his individual stuff at the time.

You don't tend to get a bunch of flower petals thrown at you in the marriage counseling biz. By nature it is a confrontive enterprise. Couples are locked in mortal battle. They tend to not really see the marital therapist for the most part. I was surprised to then have David say that I had wanted to tell me how much that I had taught and helped him. It turns out the he had been taking it in. He said that the family of origin focused paradigm that I taught him helped him to piece together his part in his marital collapse. It helped him to proactively understand his situation rather then feel victimized.

David informed me that he had remarried and that he was really happy. I like to hear about happy marriages. I don't get to hear about them much. He said that everything had worked out. Life went on. His world did not cease to exist. He has become very successful at work, his kids are doing well and life is good. He said that he was surprised that things ended up panning out so well for both he and his ex-wife. He actually said the words "her affair and the divorce turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me." I love talk like that. He really did look good and he really did look happy. He understood that he was not victimized in his first marriage. He learned from the pain it brought him and then he moved on with his life with grace and maturity.

I guess that I just wanted to pass that little moment on to those of you who might be embroiled in a difficult divorce process right now. There is light at the end of your very long dark tunnel. There are "happy ever afters" even for people who have been abandoned and cheated upon. Hang in there. There is hope. Things happen for a reason. The universe is working to heal and mold you for a better and a healthier future. David's divorce was a tornado of drama and chaos. It looked like it might damage him forever. It clearly didn't though. It made him work on himself. It broke some things in him that needed to be broken. It prepared him for the good life that he now enjoys. He is not bitter at all. He is at peace.

If you are cleaning up the mess from a shattered relationship I wish you the kind of contentment and healing that David has found. Life is hard. Relationships can be excruciating. But if you keep working on your self and learning what you need to learn, your tomorrows will be brighter. See you next week.

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This article was authored by Family Tree Counseling Associates, a marriage, individual and family counseling center serving the Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield and Noblesville communities in Indiana. If you would like to contact us, please fill out a contact us form or call us at 317-844-2442.
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