I have coached many women, straight and gay, going through separation and divorce. One of the themes I hear from women is about their bafflement about their conflicting emotions once the separation or divorce is final. They say things like, “I couldn’t stand living with him anymore!”, “She was so emotional that I always walked on eggshells!”, “My entire life was devoted to his pleasure!”, “She was possessive and suffocating!”, “He was a cheat and a liar!”, “She was so jealous that I couldn’t even go out with my friends!” or… You get the picture. They followed up by something like, “I couldn’t wait until it was finally over. I thought that I would be so happy when the day came. But now all I can do is cry! I don’t understand what is happening.”

As a woman who has gone through divorce 3 times, I can sympathize. Understanding the cycle of change and the emotions involved, I know that they are going through an ending. In every ending we give up something for something else. In all endings there is loss. We still experience mourning, even if the ending was our choice. While we are in the thick of things, we often numb out because the emotions that make us feel vulnerable become too much to handle. Numbing out is our bodies safeguard to keep us from falling apart when we feel we have to be strong. We blow an emotional fuse so we can stay in our head and do what we must. But we hold on to our anger, resentment and other negative emotions so we can let go of our partner and make the break. We focus on the END when we will be out of the situation we are finding intolerable.

The physical or legal end of a relationship is not always the emotional end of it. When the physical separation is finally complete, we no longer feel that we have to hold back. We let go and we feel the relief and the pain. Conflicting emotions flood us. We are finally out of the relationship that we no longer belonged to but we mourn the loss of the hopes and dreams that we envisioned when we first came together. We mourn what we thought we could have been together. We remember the better times, when we were open to each other and in love. We remember the things we still liked about the other person and miss them for that. We miss the things we still enjoyed doing together. When we separate, we feel safe again to become aware of the qualities that were overshadowed by our hurt, anger, fear, numbness,…

I coach my clients to honor their feelings and allow themselves to experience them no matter how painful they become. The only way to the other side is through the emotions and finding the meaning in them. I advise the to write their feelings down or talk about it with someone they feel safe with. It is perfectly normal to have conflicting feelings and to experience moments of pain and relief. I encourage women to find ways to express these emotions without judging or justifying them. Emotions are signals from within us that do not always fit our logical mind. Never-the-less, they always contain important messages for us. When we express them, the messages reveal themselves. When the energy of these emotions are depleted, they no longer hold any power over us. We can learn and grow from experiencing and expressing our emotions until we can forgive both of us for our parts, wish our ex-partner well and let them go. That is when we are emotionally separated and can begin to build a new future.

Link to a radio program that I did last year on Women In Transition Radio for Business and Professional Women http://www.blogtalkradio.com/women-in-transition/2009/08/03/sometimes-di...

Author's Bio: 

Afsaneh launched her newest project, Change Thrivers in 2006 based on her book Change Thrivers- Your Resource Guide for Making Change Work. In Change Thrivers, Afsaneh draws upon her 20 years of organizational consulting experience as well as her personal journey towards self-discovery. Through Change Thrivers, Afsaneh teaches individuals how to embrace change and realize their undiscovered potential. From books and keynote speeches to seminars, workshops, coaching and a radio show, Afsaneh’s Change Thrivers empowers women to successfully navigate the uncertainty of change by understanding the nature of change and trusting the process of life. www.ChangeThrivers.com

To schedule a coaching session e-mail info@ChangeThrivers.com