When a couple gets divorced, there's naturally going to be a lot of emotions on both sides of the table.
Anger is one of them. And what I've learned is that anger doesn't necessarily subside when the two sides start living separate lives, particularly if there are still some unresolved issues.
In the case of my failed marriage, the anger comes out when either I or my ex-wife feel as if the other isn't understanding enough or is trying to take advantage of a situation.
For example, I was angry when my wife moved out and left a lot of her stuff in the house, including several containers of clothes in the attic and an old chest where she stored mementos from her childhood. There's also a chest from her grandmother that remains in our former bedroom.
I wanted to throw the stuff out because she no longer lived in the house. The mortgage had been refinanced, and she received half of the equity in the house, so she no longer could claim ownership to the property.
She, quite naturally, got upset that I wouldn't provide a common courtesy to her and allow her to store her belongings here since she had moved into a small apartment.
Eventually, we compromised, and I'm gathering her things when I run across them and giving them to her.
Both of us spent a couple of days upset about the situation and took it out on each other, and there have been other incidents as well where remaining calm would have been much more beneficial.
What I've had to learn is that provoking each other, or needlessly attacking each other, doesn't help each of us move past the divorce and begin to rebuild our lives.
So I'm starting to ignore the digs and jabs that would have made me angry in the past. It's just not worth it, and I'm in a happier place as a result.
I met someone recently whose first spouse cheated on them three times before they divorced. With this person's second marriage, the spouse threatened to kill them three times.
Yet this person remains an optimist and says that everything happens for a reason — whether it's to teach us a lesson or prepare us for the future.
That's how I'm going to start looking at my divorce. And it starts by ignoring the anger and moving on.
Next Up: Divorce and Therapy
Just joining Chris' story? Check out what you've missed here:
Chapter 1: Out of the Blue
Chapter 2: The Fear of Being Lonely
Chapter 3: Telling the Kids
Chapter 4: Did we Make the Right Decision?
Chapter 5: Splitting Things Up
Chapter 6: The Fear of Getting Taken
Chapter 7: Anger from the Kids
Chapter 8: Scheduling Nightmares