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Divorce: Finishing what was

Posted: July 11, 2008 12:36 a.m.
Updated: September 11, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Divorce and broken relationships do not end emotional ties and therefore can rightly be called grieving experiences. After such a loss, we may withdraw, pull back or be overly guarded. This limits our ability to be open and trusting. As you might imagine, this tends to negatively affect our future relationships. Through the process of completion we can gain closure on former relationships and move past the hurt, resentment and perhaps anger.

Randy found his way into our grief program in the middle of divorce proceedings. He asked whether he should reconcile with his wife. "If you reconcile, would you want to go back to the way things were?" I asked.

"No!" came his quick reply. "I would want the relationship to be different."

I continued: "From experience I can tell you that if you don't resolve the pain of that relationship, and you reconcile, divorce is almost inevitable. So let's say good-bye to the physical relationship you once had with her, so you can say hello to a new relationship, whether that's with your wife or with someone else."

Completing painful relationships frees us from dragging the past into our new relationships, then wondering why those new relationships end up the same way. By completing with his wife, Randy was able to regain the ability to make choices for himself - good choices, because unresolved pain from the past affects our decision-making.

Said simply, completion ends the conflict in our relationships because we are able to base the relationship on love, not pain from the past. Only then can we take responsibility for our own thoughts, feelings and actions. Only then can we accept the behavior of other human beings. Completion is about moving out of regret and worry, and experiencing freedom to make healthy choices.

We can learn to risk again with a new courage to venture forth into meaningful and satisfying romantic relationships.

For the past 12 years, Jeff Zhorne, grief counselor in Santa Clarita, has offered group workshops and recovery courses for those suffering the pain of loss. He serves as the director of The Grief Program, an organization dedicated to guiding grieving people in resolving loss issues step-by-step to a richer quality of life. Call (661) 733-0692 or visit

A free community presentation on the completion process and learning to risk in relationships again will take place at 7 p.m., Thursday, July 17, at Santa Clarita City Hall, 23920 Valencia Blvd. For more information call (661) 733-0692.


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