When you divorce, where does the love go?
Opposites. We learn this concept in kindergarten. The opposite of up is down, the opposite of left is right, and the opposite of forwards is backwards.
What if I asked you about love. What is the opposite of love? For most, hate is what comes to mind. Seems to make sense, the opposite of like is dislike so it’s only natural that pattern follows suit on a grander scale for love vs. hate.
I used to think this, too. But not anymore, not even in the slightest.
You see, to hate something means you have to devote energy to the idea. You must think about it, agonize over it, and be bothered by it. I used to question my husband on why his Ex’s insults and actions never got to him. “I don’t know,” he’d say. “They just don’t. I don’t care what she says or does. I view our relationship as a business partnership now, emotions are left out. I do not give her a place of value in my head or heart. Those spots are reserved for my family and friends.”
Interesting, I thought. When people divorce, where does the love go? I used to think it transformed into hate, and for some, it does. These people live a life full of hatred and anger, and their divorce ends up tarnishing their chance at happiness in their new life.
For the lucky ones, the love once felt for their former spouse does not transform. It simply disappears. It becomes a hazy fog drifting away until one day the sun shines so bright it vanishes, never to be seen or thought of again.
Observing the way exes interact has now changed my definition. The opposite of love is no longer hate. It is indifference. It’s the act of not devoting time and energy to feeling emotions towards something or someone. My husband is one of the lucky divorcees that experienced this path.
Hatred and jealousy over ex-spouses can seem never ending, especially when one spouse moves on to a new relationship. Accusations, insults and personal attacks can be hurtful, but you have the power to remove their effects on your life. Ignore, disengage, and refrain from participating in the spite. Communication that serves no purpose but to cause pain does not deserve nor require your attention. Let them argue alone.
Seeing a former lover happy with their new partner is not an easy situation to accept, especially if you're not happy yourself. Emotions aren't always handled in the best way, and there is no manual on what exactly the 'best way' is. All I know is my husband's attitude seems to provide him a very happy lifestyle and peace of mind. There is no anger, no bitterness, no sadness...it is just...indifference.
My husband is indifferent to his first wife's actions and behaviors. He reserves his emotions for his friends and family, to those that matter to him and his life. He literally has turned off his ability to feel for her, and it is because of this that I think he is able to lead such a joyful life. One of my favorite quotes is “Holding on to anger is like letting someone live rent free in your head.” This is so true, especially for divorcees. It’s okay to be angry for a moment, but as Elsa would say, let it go. If you don’t let it bother you, you can’t feel hate. And blocking out hate is always a good thing.
If you are a Stepparent, encourage your spouse to let it go. Let go of the anger, let go of the pain, let go of the hatred. Those feelings can consume a person, and it can turn their soul into a very dark and bitter place. Reserve your heart for those that save you a place in theirs. Be in love with your current spouse, and be indifferent towards your past one.