Divorce Blunders Divorce "Blunders" To Avoid

Harlan Jacobsen Copyright 2003  Page 2               Return to Page 1


  • When you are recovering from a long term relationship you are going thru a lot of emotional adjustment and processing of what has happened to you.

  • You are untangling and getting off of a long time relationship addiction that is like getting off of a drug addiction or booze.

  • You need to stop all contact with the drug COMPLETELY, to be able to work thru the withdrawal pain.

  • If the alcoholic "sneaks a drink" his adjustment withdrawal starts over.

Certainly you will have sexual needs and many newly divorced are not able to handle new relationships initially.

  • They decide that since they are not yet ready or able (or at least not succeeding,) to handle relationships, maybe they can just go back for "familiar sex" with the STBX, (soon to be ex spouse) or just "ex" or "x".

This may solve, for now, the "sexual needs" problem, but really messes up their getting their head on straight.

  • This causes the same for their STBX who often goes along with this only to "appease their STBX" in order to improve the odds of the divorce settlement, being more reasonable.

  • There is this overlying sword hanging over their head, that until the legal "divorce is over", their STBX can still "do them" a lot of hurt, better not chance upsetting them, and go along.

  • The result is you have both parties, engaged not sure if they are emotionally leaving or getting back together and there are mixed "crazymaking" signals. This just adds months if not years of ever completely working thru this untangling, separation from this person.....

We had several people still in the legal process justify this saying that they were forced into "going along" with the "ex sex" because it "might" make their divorce settlement better or if they did not agree, it would make the settlement process far worse than it would otherwise be.

  • We occasionally had people in our divorce classes that did not seem to be progressing in working thru their divorce like the rest of the class.

  • We were stumped, why this individual obviously was not "moving" on from the emotional turmoil of divorce.

  • Then we accidentally find out they were continuing a sexual relationship with the ex.

There are other "better ways" to handle your sexual needs, we will get to those later, I promise, but for now, simply understand,
  • EX SEX
    is a major roadblock ADJUSTMENT BLUNDER.



To escape the "pain and trauma" of the divorce process many have made a big blunder in taking an "out of the pain" right now shortcut.

Put Pain On Hold


The idea is to "drown the pain" and so you can get on with life. Actually the pain and problem are not eliminated with booze, it is not drowned, it is "irrigated." Working thru the pain is postponed, put on hold til another day.

  • In addition to the problems you had originally, you will have succeeded in having grown some new ones.

    • Booze has side effects that you are well aware of and you are already aware it will only add to the problems overwhelming you..

    It is a blunder to decide to use any of these three that Instead of fully experiencing and working thru the pain, you try to avoid having to deal with it and get stoned. You are putting the "working thru it" on hold.

    • This only serves to delay your getting out of the pain.

    Using booze to put your divorce pain on hold, can lead to an addiction to booze, in other words you put yourself at risk of becoming an alcoholic. It is a result, not an option.


Put Pain On Hold


When in pain, you will look for any way out, and sooner or later you will be offered "illegal drugs" as an escape and a way to put your "running wild" divorce adjustment emotional turmoil on hold.

  • These, like the booze, will likely put your "working thru the divorce pain on "hold" and you will not progress thru it and you add to the time it takes to finish working thru it..

    • You will still have to "spend the same length of time" working thru the process, illegal drugs, merely put it on hold.

Now, you have gained nothing but a delay, and you have added new "potential serious problems".

Can you as a sensible person already overloaded, risk adding more and NEW serious problems?

  • All drugs have "side effects".

  • You also know that in the emotional state you are in now you are highly likely to develop an "addiction" that you will not be able to control.

If you think your life is out of control, now, just wait til you are addicted to some substance, then you will know what "life out of your control" means.



  • All prescription drugs have side effects. many are even addictive. Whether you use "illegal drugs" or "prescription drugs" as a crutch, as an escape and a way to put your "ceaseless" divorce adjustment emotional "turmoil" on hold, the result is the same.

All of them stopping your divorce processing on "getting past your divorce pain".

    • When you go to your doctor and tell him you can not stand the pain from your divorce, he will likely be able to spend only ten minutes with you to help, (we ask for 6 months) to solve your problem, so he really has only one choice or option,

      • "Write you a prescription" for a "chuck it all" magic happiness pill

        • If you had a terrible headache 24 hours a day seven days a week, and the doctor prescribes "Tylenol" you know he is only "getting you by" for a while and he is doing NOTHING to solve or clear up the source of your problem.

        Result: you keep taking the "Tylenol "and you keep "getting by" but it is keeping you from getting whatever is wrong "fixed".

        • You will still have to "spend the same length of time" working thru the process, illegal or prescription drugs, merely put it on hold.




The advantage the widow or widower has in adjusting to the death of a relationship over those in the divorce process, is that they know positively the relationship is over.

  • Even then, they often do not completely process and deal with it being over, and stay frozen in time.

  • We had a lady who had been widowed who volunteered to speak to our divorce class.

      What she said has stuck with me for years.

She said her husband had been gone for over two years, She had gone in for counseling, She had attended "handling grief sessions", a widows support group, and had done absolutely everything that newly widowed were supposed to do.

  • She said after two years, she still felt "hollow" and her life was just not working.

  • Then she said one day she found her self driving to the cemetery, she go out, went over to his grave and said "goodbye".

  • She said, it was like a big weight had been lifted from her shoulders, and from that point on she got on with life, and has been leading an enthusiastic happy life since.

    • Newly divorced, nearly half, I would guess, do not deal with reality and are in denial that the relationship has really "died".

The most extreme story of this I heard was of a lady and her kids, after two years, were still setting a "place at their table" for the father and husband who they were sure was sooner or later "would come to his senses" and come back home.

  • This does not sound "too bad" until you hear the ex husband had already been remarried for someone else for over a year.

This is the most common blunder, if you count the number of people going thru a divorce that get "hung up" in this trap.

  • Once one party decides the relationship has died, there is often no clue supplied for the person being left and therefore it often comes as a total surprise.

  • Thus the person left is often in "shock" and will naturally take some time in dealing with the reality that the relationship is indeed over.

The blunder is in trying over and over and not letting go of or quitting the impossible job of trying to put humpty dumpty back together.


Just can not admit the "horse" here is dead and just keep beating on it to get it up and do what it always did.

    How long it takes to realize and "admit your "marriage" horse is dead," is basically how long it will take for you to move on down the road of life as a single person.

    We repeatedly use this analogy because many newly divorced have trouble realizing they are not dealing with reality when they are still beating on their dead marriage six months later, still hoping to revive it.


This persons part in your life is over, and you both need to go your own way.

  • "Clinging, pleading, trying to hang on, that is long over with and should be apparent to you by now it was a big mistake..

  • It was not becoming and (besides it never works)

      It ate up (time) part of your life that could have been used to get on with your new life.


When asked "when it got better for her" a lady on our chat page replied........... (If we could boil all of our "recovering from divorce" articles down to one paragraph, this ladies advice would be it.)

  • "What helped me is that I finally came to realize that it is now all about me. I'm in charge of me, and I need to make me happy. I can no longer spend time thinking about us and how it was, wasn't, could have been, etc. When the pain of the whole split comes into my head, I try to redirect. I find it hard but it works better than the pain."


    You need to be ready and willing to close the door completely on "what was" before you can expect to be able to open a new door wide and be able to welcome in, a new full, and better life.

    • Recognize, that the big hang up and delay in working thru your divorce, is in "not letting go" and trying to recusitate a "dead marriage".

    Once one person decides the relationship is dead, the other looks pathetic trying to convince them it is not or should not be "dead". it never works, and is an undoable job. Give up.

    • Many divorced peoples lives have been in continued pain "misery for unnecessary years".

      Solely, because they got caught up in this

        "MAJOR not letting go of "what was" Blunder." 


      Next...If thru the legal divorce go here... Adjusting to life as a single.  

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