239,178 people went through divorce proceedings in England and Wales during 2010. During 2011, I became number 239,179 when my wife and I decided to end our 15-year marriage. My marriage was a beautiful experience, but as in all marriages there were some tough times intermingled with that beauty. When the final curtain came down it didn’t take us – or anyone who knew us – by surprise. Instead our marriage was like a cliff being eroded, over time, by the consistent intrusion of the mighty waves of the sea.
I was not prepared for what would happen next, in truth I doubt many couples are. As I moved through the divorce process I felt pain, hurt, loss and sorrow and my wife and son were experiencing the same emotions. You learn a lot about yourself during these critical moments in life, and I learned that I deal with grief like a battering ram. It seems that I don’t find the time to mope around and feel sorry for myself and instead I just barge my way through the emotional barriers and get on with it.
As I ventured into my new world I met the most amazing woman who suggested that I try to get some help to deal with my grief and heal my heart. As always I turned to literature in my time of need as well as starting regular therapy sessions with a counselor. I bought several books written to help people who needed to start over. My 2nd book of 52 (LINK) is one of these books and it is called Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus: Starting Over by John Gray. This was the second book in the Mars/Venus series that I have read and although I learned a lot about myself and the break up of relationships I didn’t find myself getting blown away like I have with other forms of literature in the past. When it came to reading the book I never got excited and when my reading session came to an end I was happy to stop reading. To me that is a sign that the book I am reading is not connecting with me as I would like it to.
I always try to read a book with an open mind because it is a virtue that I express to other people. I believe it is my open mind that has allowed me to make so many successful changes in my life. But with Starting Over I just kept finding myself disagreeing with the way John Gray was suggesting how I should be feeling and how I should act in order to move forward. I think this is the main reason that I did not enjoy the book.
Despite not enjoying the book I did learn a great deal, as I always do when I read, and here are the main points that I noted.
- My split was amicable and so there was no animosity to begin with. Instead it was a very sad moment. Neither of knew what to do, so I just left and we tried to lead separate lives almost immediately. In hindsight, and after reading the book, I would have liked to have undergone some sort of therapy together. I think we could have helped heal each other’s hearts whilst going through the process, as a parting couple and the process would have been much smoother.
- I realise that I can still love my ex wife but accept that we were not right for each other. The greatest gift we could have given each other was to actually split up and allow us both the opportunity to find love and happiness in newer forms.
- Despite being terrified of being alone there is also a good side to it as well. Life moves on and as long as you remain positive while continuing to allow yourself time to grieve you will be fine.
- Your mind and body do not always work in sync. I now understand that my mind wanted to move on much quicker than my heart would let it. My heart just wanted to be sad and experience grief. My mind just wanted to move on and create a new life and quickly.
- If children are involved in the divorce there needs to be some thought applied to their grieving process. Children look to their parents to provide the hugs and kisses but in a divorce this is often difficult, as the child feels torn between two warring factions. I think divorcing couples should seriously consider counseling for their children.
Although the book did not set me alight I can see the benefits it could provide for someone who is really struggling to move on in the advent of a relationship break up. I seemed to move on much quicker than I thought I would and I think this is why I didn’t feel the full benefits that the book had to offer. So if you are really struggling to come to terms with the loss of a loved one then I can suggest reading Starting Over by John Gray, but if you seem to me handling the process well then I am sure there are better books out there.
Why did I pick up this book?
In the months following my break up I flung myself into my work and didn’t give myself time to think. I kept wondering why it felt so easy to move on. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t feeling the depths of sadness that I expected. I felt heartless, robotic and unnatural. Then one day I fell apart. I was overcome with grief, sadness and a terrible sense of guilt. I knew that I needed help and so I hired a counselor and went to Amazon to buy some books. This was one of the books that came up when I searched for help to start over and as John Gray was a familiar author I bought it.