Generally, divorce isn't a quick and easy process. It is often the last solution to an unhappy marriage. So, it's not surprising that people come out of it struggling. They struggled through their marriage and then made it through the divorce. Usually, people aren't themselves for at least 6 months following the divorce. Actually, I would say that most people following a divorce won't feel like themselves for about a year regardless of whether they take on one of these extreme personas. The three typical post-divorce extreme personas are:
- The "Promiscuous" One: This type of persona is just interested in sex. They may have many sex partners at once or serial sex partners. They may even like the emotional closeness of having a partner, but they are very non-committal ...not wanting to take the next step toward an actual relationship.
- The"Never Again" Kind: This persona is very angry. And when I say very angry, I mean very very very angry. This persona blames their ex-spouse for everything. They feel they've been done wrong and never want to get married again. Marriage is seen as a death sentence to be avoided at all cost. They will also likely not date anyone for many years following their divorce.
- The "Call for a Rewind" Type: This particular persona isn't single for long. After the divorce, they are immediately dating someone. They are very quickly in a committed monogamous relationship. They often end up marrying the first person they dated seriously post-divorce.
The trick is not to go into the extreme. Balance and moderation is the key to healing. If you find yourself falling into the extreme: (1) try to identify what need is being met by this persona; (2) re-examine your values; (3) identify what behaviors represent living those values; and (4) start doing those behaviors. Don't beat yourself up, because you went into the extreme. Give yourself a break and take the steps to pull yourself out of the downward spiral!
By Delicia Mclean, Ph.D., MHA