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Betrayed Spouse 101

Hit The Road, Jack!: Dr. Phil's Do's and Don'ts'

Aside from all the financial and custodial mess a divorce creates, there's still the mess it has made of your life to be dealt with. No matter how bad the marriage, how much you want it to end, how glad you are to be cutting this person out of your life, sometimes its not so easy to cut them out of your heart. If you share children you will be tied to this person for life. Regardless, you are tied by your memories, good and bad - and the occasionally wistful thought of the way it 'might have been'. You've got a lot to get over and go through before you really feel like you're on the road to a new life.

Dr. Phil McGraw (a frequent guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show) put together some guidelines that several of my divorced friends have found helpful. With all due credit to the author, here are

Dr. Phil McGraw's 'Do's and Don't for Healing a Broken Heart'

DON'T lose sight of what's important. Sometimes the relationship you need to rescue is the one with yourself. Moving past a breakup is all about you, not your ex. Don't worry about becoming friends right away—if ever. You have to be your own friend first.

DON'T get stuck. Grief is a process to go through, not a destination in which to wallow. In a process, you keep putting one foot in front of the other. Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months... each little step is part of the process of healing your heart.

DON'T embarrass yourself. Driving past your ex's house, making dozens of phone calls, e-mailing nonstop...that's not the way to let go of the past. Don't get in a situation where you'll look back someday and feel humiliated.

DO watch your vocabulary . We all have an internal conversation with ourselves. Since it shapes our outlook, be careful about the language you choose. Words like "nightmare," "terrible" and "horrible" are catastrophic terms. If you use them, you're bound to spend time dwelling on the negative. Spend more time focusing on what you can do.

DO define your real intentions . Are you trying to move past the breakup, or are you hoping to get back with your ex? Define the emotional goal. You won't move on until you've truly accepted that the relationship is over.

DO allow yourself to own your feelings . You can't get over being hurt until you know you've been heard. Give yourself permission to express your anger, your sadness—whatever emotions you may be experiencing. It's better to be angry with someone else than to blame yourself.

DO learn to trust again . Whenever you get involved in a relationship, you know there's risk. Don't let a bad experience keep you from living your life to the fullest.

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