Coming Apart
Harlan Jacobsen Copyright 2003

The process of coming apart is a difficult one and it helps to understand what goes on.

    The first phase of coming apart we call the:

    Disillusionment stage.

You were always fairly sure that you had married the right person and. now you have decided or are about to decide that the marriage was a mistake, that this wasn't really Mr. or Ms. Right after all.

Previously you had been gathering evidence that this was Mr. or Ms. Right and you held out this gathered evidence to friends and relatives justifying your decision about your marriage.

Now you are doing the opposite--gathering evidence that this is Mr. or Ms Wrong, to prove it to others and yourself.

Things in the marriage have been bad and the trend is not getting better but everything seems to be getting worse.

You had been looking forward to always being happy in this relationship and now you are saying, is this all there is?

There must be more to life than this.

You develop a sense of helplessness and hopelessness.

Sometimes you go to a marriage counselor at this point and there is a slight chance the marriage counselor might help put you both back into the marriage.

Usually by the time you arrive at the marriage counselors one has already made the decision and has gathered enough evidence to prove to themselves that this marriage has died, is no good and they must get out.

Next comes the EROSION stage.

The counseling and the marriage in general are just not getting anywhere.

There is not enough talking between you.

You bottle up things rather than fight them out and when you do store up enough and explode you do not fight constructively.

You tear each other down, chipping away at the marriage and destroying each other bit by bit.

You become emotionally deprived and you no longer, fill each others' needs.

You get in crazy making situations.

An example would be-- -your spouse says "you know that I love you" and at the same time is fooling around with other people,

Your mental computer can not handle this type of double contrary input and the whole thing is driving you crazy.

Next comes your Big Decision stage.

You decide that the only hope for any type of life for you worth living is to get out.

There is no future for me here."

You have a great deal of anger at your spouse for not living up to your expectations whatever they were,

You are angry at yourself and your spouse that you could not make it last when it was 'supposed to last.

You decide, I am going to live before I die and this just is not living, so you make the big decision.

You make the decision to get divorced for the same reason you make the decision to get married,

You feel that it offers hope for a better life.

You still feel a sense of general hopelessness but decide that you have to do something and anything will be better than this.

You have a feeling that you just don't care what happens but this marriage definitely is not it.

You have been saving brown stamps.

Negatives about your marriage.

You have collected so many that you can now turn them in for a divorce.

You make the spouse an ogre to your friends and, yourself, enough to justify your getting out.

Next comes the actual PHYSICAL SEPARATION.

It happens you actually physically separate.

You enter a bewilderment period. Is this really happening to me?

No matter how you looked forward to and no matter what a relief it is, you are still somewhat shocked when it happens.

You now enter an emotional yoyo.

A roller coaster of mixed feeling.

Elated that it's over but you are miserable alone.


You enter the STRESS Stage.

A period of great trauma.

You become under stress for these reasons:

  • 1. You are entering unknown or unfamiliar territory.

  • 2. You go through withdrawal pains from not being able to do what you have always done,

  • 3. Like a drug addict you have a painful withdrawal period to go through.

  • 4. You do everything now on manual (mental process instead of doing them automatically, subconsciously.

  • 5. You have to think about everything you do because your life style has changed so much you cannot do it automatically yet.

It uses much more energy, it has physical manifestations and you just plain overload' your computer.

  • Now you enter the WAITING Stage,
    like waiting for the other shoe to drop.

You wait to hear from your ex.

You want to make contact, even have a fight, anything.

You get into legal hassles, then you wait for something to happen.

You wait for new people to enter your life.

You wait for a new job.

You go through a period of grief not unlike a widow or widower.

You try to let go of yesterday or what might have been.

You try to get over your anger.

You eventually give up on "if only."

You eventually learn to stop rehashing (regurgitating) the past and stop worrying about the future and gradually you are learning how to make today a great day.

You get ready to let go and realize you have to say some final goodbyes before you are really ready for some new hellos.

You have already passed the bottom of the "waiting" miserable stage.

Next comes the, COMEBACK STAGE.

You start gaining a new identity.

You are no longer a part of something, you are a total something.

You start to regain a new self-esteem and you start to let go of the "I am divorced and I am a failure" syndrome.

You drop that idea that no one will ever like you again.

You decide that maybe you are not as defective as you thought you were.

You decide to walk out of the scrap pile of human debris on your own.

You do some experimenting and testing to find what is right for you.

You start to decide on what type of new life you want.

You start to live again and then move on to living a better life than you have ever lived before.

One entirely of your own choosing.


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