Moving on after a serious breakup can be one of the hardest challenges in the world. And when you're forever tied to your ex through your children, the moving-on process can be even more complicated. Like many Circle of Moms members, mom Tiffany V. says she's determined to protect her children from the negative feelings she's harboring toward their dad postsplit and is looking for advice on how to heal from the relationship. "I just don't know how to get over it," she admits. Here, Circle of Moms members who are single or divorced offer five tips for getting over an ex when you're a mom.
1. Censor Your Family's Negative Chatter
It's not uncommon for a single mom's friends and family to voice their negative feelings about the mom's ex, but many Circle of Moms members say it's important to try to keep those comments at bay in order to move forward and get over the split. As Danielle M. warns, "Talking about the hatred will only cause you more stress."
In Chris B.'s case, she has instilled strict rules for her extended family, forbidding them from badmouthing her ex, especially in front of her kids. She's also tried to guide them to let go of the resentment as well. "You have to let it go," she says. "If not for your own sake . . . for the future sake of your children, and how your feelings (both verbal and nonverbal) may project on to them and affect them for the rest of their lives." Keep reading for more tips.
2. Invest in Yourself
As difficult as it may seem, many Circle of Moms members say the best ways to begin to heal from the injury and hurt caused by an ex is to throw yourself into rebuilding your new life. Tina H. advises: "Don't waste a moment of this time pining or becoming frozen. Invest in yourself. Go to school, learn something new, exercise, [get a] new style, go on day trips, obtain something new and exciting to celebrate a new you." Focusing on yourself, she adds, will help give you "confidence and pride" and ultimately get over your ex.
3. Talk to Someone Who Knows What You're Going Through
Amy B. is a single mom of three who says that as much as she tried to move on and become thoroughly engaged in her kids' lives, she eventually sought professional help to get over her ex. "Finding a friend or therapist to talk to about your feelings" is a good way to move on, she shares. "[My counselor] let me know the things I was doing were the right things. It was nice to know that from a professional who worked with kids."
Amy also says she got help from friends who've been in similar situations: "I have been so grateful for two friends that had been through the same experience. They let me bend their ear or just use them for a sounding board," she says.
Circle of Moms member Renee K., meanwhile, found help in healing her relationship with her ex-husband through a program for divorced single parents at her church. "I've been attending for over a year, and the healing is slow," she says. "Statistics say it takes one year of recovery for every four years of marriage."
4. Be Patient With Yourself
Despite the advice above, there is no magical spell or specific time frame for getting over your ex, reminds Circle of Moms member Josie C. She acknowledges that it is difficult to get over the feelings, whether they are love, anger, or fear, and suggests moms be patient with themselves. "It took me a long time to get past my feelings because he hurt me more than anyone could understand," she says. But she found that by focusing on her son, eventually she did get over her emotional wounds. "Just take it slow," she advises.
Forgiving is a tough process in itself, but many moms like Nokuthula K. say forgetting is even harder. She's struggling because she's also a Christian single mom and has been trying to work through the forgiveness and forgetting with members of her church. "I have a lot of encouragement from members of my church, but I still can't let go of the anger," she says, adding that she knows she also needs to be patient with herself and the process.
Single mom Judy R. agrees. "Some injuries take a long time to heal," she says. In her own life, she says she's working on forgiving the "person" as her way of healing, but the behavior "is still out there, and takes far more work to let go of." Her advice to getting over an ex is "to take one day at a time" and "to pray for the grace to get through that one day."
5. Have Hope: Time Does Heal Wounds
The good news is that time does heal most wounds and you can eventually move on, say Circle of Moms members like Joanna V. "Let go of (your feelings) instead of holding onto them," she says. Of course, she admits this is not a simple thing to do. "The trouble is, it sounds simple but it's not easy and nobody else can wave a magic wand and do it for you. It is all up to you to let go, move on, and find ways to enjoy life again. It gets easier with time though, I promise you that . . . and you still have the most precious gift of all, your kids."
Ciesta L. confirms that time did eventually help her get over her ex. "I went through grieving the loss of my marriage and finding me in the process," she says. "I didn't date for one whole year. I must admit, I was lonely, but determined to find my own happiness. I did . . . I remarried a wonderful man less than two years ago. He is faithful, trustworthy, and everything I want and need in a marriage. Take care of you. Find happiness in yourself and you will find someone who loves the ground you walk on and appreciate you for you."
How did you heal and move on from your relationship with your ex?