So I’ve been hearing this one thing a lot from divorced and separated readers and clients of mine who are trying to move the hell on after divorce: they all have unmet expectations.
- “It wasn’t supposed to be like this after divorce.”
- “We were supposed to grow old together…not get divorced.”
- “I was supposed to retire in a few years, but now I have to go back to work because of the divorce.”
- “I was supposed to be on his health insurance, but now I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
I should be….
Ah, the language of expectations. Or rather, unmet expectations that now haunt us after divorce.
It’s this trap. It’s those unmet expectations that are holding you back and maybe making you feel angry or resentful.
But here’s a truth bomb for you, my friends. We have a hard time recovering because we can’t f*cking let go of what we expected or assumed about how our life would be.
Here’s a shitty divorce truth for you all: we subconsciously think of our marriage and other relationships as a vending machine. We assume that if we put X amount of time into a relationship or make X amount of sacrifices over the course of marriage then we are entitled and guaranteed a certain output, a certain “Y.”
But guess what? That’s not how it works. Here’s what you need to know about divorce.
This idea that if we made sacrifices then we get rewarded is absolute bullshit.
But as women, we drank that Kool-Aid because that’s what our misguided puritanical society told us. From an early age we’re fed the lie that if we are good and work hard enough and make the sacrifices and do all those things that good girls do and check off the list of putting our spouse’s needs before our own, and we focus on his goals and not our own goals, and we define ourselves as a couple and not as an individual, then that means we get the payout of a comfortable retirement, financial security, and a stable and comfortable marriage where we’ll grow old with that person.
But seeing that you’re reading this, you know that’s not how your algebra equation worked out.
You know that regardless of how many coins you put into that shitty office vending machine, and no matter how many times you pushed the E3 button for that Snickers, and no matter how many times you pounded the machine when the little whirly thing got stuck on the candy bar that wouldn’t drop, and no matter how many times you stuck your hand in that little door at the bottom of the machine…you didn’t get what you put into it.
Your investment did not pay off.
The algebra equation did not turn out. And how does that make you feel?
Does it make you angry? Bitter? Did it make you feel like you got the short end of the stick? Did it make you feel like you were the latest victim in a Ponzi scheme? Have you caught yourself saying, “I did everything in that relationship and now I’m the one who has to start over, while that SOB is with his new girlfriend or taking trips to Mexico, and I’m here alone just struggling to get by. I feel like I wasted the best years of my life with that jerk.”
Your Feelings Are Real
And you know what? All of it is true. And all of your feelings are valid.
Great, you’re right. But now what? What do you do now?
You have two choices.
- Remain in that space of self-pity. It’s understandable, but it’s not going to get you anywhere. Or…
- You can take that shit to the next level and f*ckin do something about it.
Hey, I’m not saying to put on a happy face and be fake and make a vision board and do that “oh, I’m soooo glad we’re consciously uncoupling” bullshit that Gwyneth Paltrow did when she divorced that Coldplay guy. We all know that divorce sucks honey, so don’t be fake.
But here’s how you can start doing something about it.
Step 1: Take a quick survey of everything you still have and write that shit down. Be exhaustive and specific about it.
How is your health? ? What does your income look like? Do you have a job? How is your health insurance? What does your support system look like? Your therapist? Do you have a divorce coach? What interests or hobbies would you love to pursue but haven’t had a chance to? Do you have some f*cking goals and aspirations and dreams that are yours alone that nobody can take from you? WRITE. IT. ALL. DOWN.
Step 2: If you are lacking in any of those areas that you listed, write down exactly where you would like to be with those things that have nothing to do with your ex.
For example, if you were expecting that you’d be on your ex’s health insurance and you’re not, what can you do now to make sure you’re covered? To whom can you reach out to help you figure that out? If you were expecting to stay in your house where you’ve lived for the past twenty years, but you can’t swing the mortgage, what can you do to find a housing situation that you can afford? If you are going to have to go back to work when you thought you’d retire in five years, what things can you do financially (taking on a second job, cutting down on expenses, etc.) to make sure you’ll still be okay?
Shift Your Thinking
Here’s what we’re doing here. We’re shifting the mindset of not getting what we expected, to taking action to make sure that we’ll be okay, regardless. Doing so accomplishes a shit-ton of good for us.
It’s shaking us out of our learned helplessness.
It’s forcing us to get up and empower ourselves and let us be in charge of our own future. It doesn’t matter if your life is now different than you expected. That point is completely moot so it’s not even worth wasting your time thinking about. You have too much work to do to keep ruminating on how things didn’t go the way you had planned.
It’s building the resilience you deserve and showing you how strong you really are, even if you don’t know it yet. By shifting the focus to you – defining your future for yourself and no longer relying on somebody who obviously wasn’t that dependable anyway, you get to take matters into your own hands.
Because like it or not, you don’t have a choice.
Do You Have Unmet Expectations?
So, how about you? Are you struggling with unmet expectations? And if so, what can you do about it to move on? Write to me, and let me know.
That’s it for now. But if you want to learn how to quit feeling invisible and take your f*cking power back, book a free 30-minute strategy session at the link below. Whether you’re looking for one intensive session to set you straight or working with a coach for a few months, we have options for every preference and budget. Book your no-risk session to find out more.
PS – Just because your life didn’t turn out how you thought it would does not mean your life is over. You have the power to chart your own course now, regardless of your circumstances. Book your free coaching session to learn how.