Slow and steady with a sip of water from time to time.

“To get through the hardest journey, we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping.” ~ Chinese Proverb

Whatever it is that you’re recovering from–an ism of some sort or in my case, divorce–a term you often hear is one step at a time.  I don’t believe anyone has ever mentioned how long I have to keep taking those baby steps or how many times I will slip backward and have to regroup.  Or how many times I will sidestep some of the more unpleasant aspects of recovery and then have to go back and deal with them.  I have learned, often the hard way, that I have to deal with all of it if I want to be a whole and healthy person.  This is not easy for me.

A recent incident comes to mind.  I saw my ex at a granddaughter’s athletic event.  He didn’t look well, as in unhealthy.  He looked emotionally stressed.  I am aware that he still has some difficulty as to how he’s supposed to interact with some family members.  I am  also aware that he has financial problems.  If what goes around comes around, he’s getting a heavy dose.  It doesn’t make me feel one bit better to see him this way.

Here’s my dilemma:  I wanted to protect him.  I wanted to fix him.  I wanted to reassure him and tell him everything would be okay.  Now I’m taking a step back (maybe several steps) and trying to examine this gut reaction.  My mind is going in a thousand directions.  I’m trying to remind myself of an adage I learned years ago which says (more or less):  If you do for someone what he can do for himself, you take away a piece of his dignity.  Thankfully, I didn’t do those things.  My question of wanting to do them is not about him, it’s about me.  That’s a hard pill to swallow.  It brings up many, many questions about me and my motives.  I’m not sure what all the questions are.  I certainly don’t know the answers.  I have some serious work to do.



12 thoughts on “Slow and steady with a sip of water from time to time.

  1. We both have suffered a loss and we are both mourning. It’s part of the process. I’m starting to feel as if I have my life, though different, back now. And you will get your physical stamina back as you continue to heal. The beginning of the healing process is always painful and difficult whether it’s emotional or physical. And of course in your case it’s both. Writing about it is going to help more than you know. Write for yourself, on your schedule. We readers will follow your progress whenever you write it.

    Hang in there.


  2. Hi Pat,
    Thank you for this post. I know I haven’t gone through something as life changing as divorce, but I do feel like I have lost something. And I feel exactly the same way about my recovery. I try so hard to keep moving forward but something inside me keeps pulling me back.
    What a wise woman you are. Although I am so sorry for what you have went through, I have to thank you for all the wisdom in these posts.


  3. Thanks for your comment, Lisa. I’m sorry you had to join this club but glad that you found my blog. You’ll find that we are a huge group and very supportive of each other. I have heard all along that time is the best healer and it was something I hated to hear when my emotions were raw. But I have found that it’s true. I get better and better every day. I’m beginning to wonder why I ever thought I wanted to be married to him.

    BTW, this is the first time I’ve ever been alone, too, and I’m much older than you, I’m sure. Hang on. You will heal.


    • Thanks for the welcome and encouragement. I’m learning the value and joy of being on my own, now that I’m past the worst of the grief for losing my marriage just a month before its 25th anniversary. So I’m thinking you’re probably not that much older than me. 🙂


  4. This is just a general comment to say hi and that I’m unbelievably glad to have found your blog. I’m about 6 months into this whole divorce saga (soon-t0-be-ex dropped the bomb that he was leaving last November and moved out in January). This is the first time in my life I’ve been on my own, and your wisdom and wit (well, ok, snark!) are a welcome addition to my life.


  5. Oh Pat your feelings are perfectly understandable. You are a caring person and those roles we have whether we take them on unwittingly or not are hard to shake especially if we have been in them for a long time. It is a process and different situations throw up different feelings along that journey as you know only too well. I just feel I am about 2 years behind my ex partner and sometimes certain things throw me back even farther. And for ages I hated it when people said it was a step by step process (I couldn’t even take a step in any direction for so long). What is for sure is that we will all be great dancers at the end of it. Now, a quick step anyone?!


  6. Caroline. This answer is actually for you!
    The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. But apparently some people first act then think. And by the time they realize she wasnt worth it, its too late cause the damage is done. I think I’ve said it before in one of my first blogs. The chances of an affair actually lasting is very slim. (Passion and romance seem to fly out the window once an affair becomes a relationship. Not so romantic when there’s dishes, and laundry to be done).
    So the result is they just traded down for fleeting butterfly feelings, which are fleeting. Once they realize their mistake, how can they be pleased with the result?!


  7. I agree with bye2. Well done you and lots of hugs.

    But what is SO interesting is that all our ex’s seem not to be faring that well! Now given they all did the ‘dumping’ it seems somewhat odd they aren’t bouncing off over the horizon like Tigger on speed and shouting for joy at their new found lives. That’s what I find so hard to take. If they were so keen to run why aren’t they pleased with the result?


    • Thanks, Bye2. You hit on a couple of things I probably need to think about. If I feel that way out of habit, what does that say about our previous, long-term relationship? To say I still love him is an overstatement. I care about him and wish for him to be normal and healthy, whatever that is for him. I know now that I don’t want him back but I also know that I will always care how he is doing. I think that’s just loving and caring about another human being. And you’re right, that is who I am.

      My “need” to fix other people is another matter. I think that’s what I need to take a long hard look at.


    • Thanks, Caroline. I don’t know about Alex, but D was like Tigger on speed at first. But he burned out almost as fast as a shooting star appears to from here on earth. It makes me think he didn’t think things through to the long term consequences of what he was about to do. I’ll probably never know.

      As you can see, I still have my moments. Most of the time I’m pretty happy these days.


  8. I know what you mean Pat. I have the same feeling everytime I see my husband and he doesnt look at his best. The questions are why do I want to fix him, to reassure him, to take care of him? Is it just a force of habit or do I still love him? The answer is its probably a mixture. And the best solution is to do exactly what you did: Take a step back.
    Its no longer your job to help. But its ok that you still care. I guess that’s just who you are. And that’s OK too. Big hug


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