I often equate going through a divorce to being in a severe car accident. In both cases you emerge very badly battered and wounded, one emotionally and the other physically. Just as it takes a significant amount of time to heal from the physical injuries of a car accident, it also takes significant time to heal emotionally from a divorce. I did not realize this when I jumped quickly into a relationship within weeks of my divorce being final. About six months into this relationship, I hit the wall. I simply could not give the amount of energy, sacrifice, and love that the relationship required. After much internal struggle, I realized the right thing to do was to end the relationship.
Why did this happen? By all accounts, the person I was in the relationship with was a good person and a solid Catholic. This happened because I was not emotionally healed enough to love again. When we love, we give of ourselves. This means we have to have something to actually give. Going through a divorce drains us of our capacity to love. All the energy we typically would expend to love someone else, must be turned inward to help in our own healing process. Until we are healed, we have nothing left to give to someone else. This is why it is so important to not enter into a relationship until receiving an annulment. The time and effort it takes to go through the annulment process is the key to healing from divorce. Think of it as physical therapy for the soul. Christ walks with us when we become vulnerable and bring all the details of our life and our marriage to His Church. In the end, He will heal us and we emerge renewed, stronger, and with a clearer perspective on ourselves and relationships. All of these are key ingredients to being a loving person to ourselves, to our family, and to others.
Though my flesh and my heart fail, God is the rock of my heart, my portion forever. – Psalm 73:26