Avoiding the “wasted years” syndrome

Those going through a divorce will often find themselves going through a trajectory called the five stages of grief. These are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The trajectory, length of each step, or even whether a person experiences any or all five of the steps will vary depending on the individual and the circumstances of the divorce. One divorced writer in Portland even added an unusual sixth step to his road to recovery: remorse.

A big waste of time

The remorse is not for the end of the marriage; instead, it is remorse over the fact that he was married for a decade and was together for four years before that. In his eyes, he will never get those 14 years back. This was during his 30s when he felt that he was in his prime and he could have actively dated, perhaps finding a soulmate.

The concept is not as crazy as it would first seem. As we age, time becomes a finite and precious commodity. We come to see that would is not one with an infinite amount of time to achieve specific professional or personal goals. The clock starts ticking.

A unique case?

To be fair, this man went through a very contentious divorce initiated by his wife. He felt rejected and abandoned. The ensuing months left him feeling that this “waste of time” had tarnished his past, present and future. Fortunately, he understood that those feelings were not healthy, and, in fact, continued to waste his time.

He claims he is now in a better place, so perhaps the final step to his recovery was to write the story. He still considers the marriage a waste of time, but he might also gain additional insight into picking the right partner or recognizing potential issues.

The story also functions as a cautionary tale for acrimonious divorces. While sometimes anger with an ex is unavoidable, it also shows the power that bitter divorces hold over people.

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