The passing of an ex those first few months after a loss of an ex are tough! Christmas and what would’ve been our wedding anniversary came in those first few months after he passed. Those were tough holidays to get through but somehow after the initial shock of the first few months things felt…better?
Months Three to Six After the Passing of an Ex
As time passes and you move into the three to six month mark, there are certain things you might expect to feel emotionally and mentally.
The first thing to keep in mind is that grief is a highly individual process. Everyone experiences it differently, and there is no right or wrong way to feel or react. Some people may find that they are able to move on relatively quickly, while others may feel stuck in their grief for months or even years. It’s important to honor your own unique journey and not compare it to anyone else’s.
With that said, there are some common emotions and experiences that many people go through in the months following the death of an ex-partner. Here are a few things you might expect:
Moving into more normal
Several months after my ex passed away the initial numbness and inability to eat finally started to disappear a little. The kids started eating again and sleeping in their own rooms. Life began taking on a more normal routine. While it was good to get back into the routine, it was more of a zombie like feeling. We were going through the motions, but still feeling the emotions.
Continued shock and disbelief
I think that even though several months had passed, it was still hard to accept that my ex partner was really gone. I kept feeling that flight or fight response I had been experiencing for years prior to him passing. I kept feeling like I’d get a text from him. Old mail still showed up to the house for him. I came to realize this is a normal part of the grieving process, and it can take time to fully process and accept the reality of their death. I don’t know how long that will be though. I still find that I am in disbelief when mail shows up for him at the house…even though I’ve moved homes a couple of times since he passed and it’s been four years.
The passing of an ex brings intense emotions
Grief can be a rollercoaster of emotions, and the three to six month mark is no exception. While that numbness had left us, we at times experienced intense sadness, anger, guilt, regret, or even relief. These emotions at times were confusing and overwhelming, but they are a natural part of the grieving process. I think it’s important to give yourself permission to feel whatever you’re feeling and to seek support from loved ones or a therapist if needed.
Memories and reminders
Christmas came during this time period and the kids knew how much he loved this holiday. I helped purchase a Christmas tree to place on the grave decorated in ornaments from his favorite college football team. We even strung the tree with solar lights. No one wanted him to be alone this holiday. We brought the tree to the grave and placed it there. After Christmas they couldn’t go back to take the tree off the grave, so I went and brought it back down. for them, they tried so hard to try to find a new memory they could do, but it was a lot to have to go to the grave and feel that this was going to be Christmas now.
For years after, the tree has sat on my shelf in the garage. No one has been able to go back to place the tree. It’s just too much. I’ll keep the tree for the kids and maybe when or if they are ready to, they’ll have a tree they can take for their Dad or choose to do something else
I think it’s important to remember there will still be moments when something triggers a memory or reminder of that person, and it can feel like a gut punch all over again. This is normal, and it’s okay to take time to process these moments and allow yourself to feel the emotions that come up.
Reevaluating the relationship
When my ex passed away, I was already dating my current husband. He was so supportive those first few months, but I also know it was really hard for him to see me go through these emotions. And three to six months after the passing of my ex, I know it got tough for him too.
A lot of my time and energy was still being spent on the kids. For some, you may find yourself wondering if you made the right choice in ending things. For me, the ending of my marriage was tumultuous. I was thrown into a world of court cases and when he died I was trying to process everything that had happened over the past few years. One thing I was always firm in throughout when he was alive was making sure we tried to get him help through every court case. But no matter how much I knew I had fought for that, I spent a lot of my runs or moments alone reflecting on if there was more I could have done to help him.
It’s important to remember that these thoughts are a natural part of the grieving process, and they don’t necessarily mean that you made the wrong decision or that you might be to blame for their death.
We felt like time was giving us a chance to remove some of the numb feelings. The initial feelings of shock and gut wrenching heartache were passing, but they were still very prominent. And going through the motions of the first year after the passing of an ex were just rough. But we did find that we were able to start to talk about some of the things happening in the future for us.
As time passes, you may find that you’re able to start looking towards the future and thinking about what comes next. This doesn’t mean that you’re “over” your ex-partner or that you’ve forgotten about them, but rather that you’re starting to find a new normal without them. This can be a scary and uncertain process, but it’s also an opportunity for growth and healing.
Taking Care of Yourself During this Time
If you’re struggling during this time there are few things you can do to take care of yourself during this time:
- Reach out for support
- Take care of your physical health
- Take care of your mental health
- Acknowledge your emotions