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DrFee, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 437
Experience:  I help people overcome anxiety and enjoy life again.
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Letting go of ex-wife, how?

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I need help. I can't let go of my ex-wife. I hurt so bad every day. It's been 2 and a half years. I can't keep going like this.  We have 3 great kids 7, 12 and 17.  I think if I could just go away I could deal with this but my kids need me.  Their mom is currently doing things I never thought she would and it tears my heart out, for me and the kids.  I think I partly feel possessive, but mostly I miss her.  I need to let go.  How do I do that?

DrFee :

Hello! Please remember that my response is for information only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.


DrFee :

Are you available to chat?


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It sounds like you've had a really difficult time trying to move on after your divorce.

Grieving can take awhile, and is generally pretty intense at first, but with normal grieving one expects to see the symptoms dissipate after a time. There's no "hard and fast rules," as to what this process looks like (it varies from person to person). First I am going to list some symptoms of what we call "complicated grief," and you can take a look and see if this does or does not fit you:

Complicated Grief Symptoms:

  • Extreme focus on the loss and reminders of the time you were married to your ex-wife
  • Intense longing or pining for your ex wife
  • Problems accepting the divorce
  • Numbness or detachment
  • Preoccupation with your sorrow/missing her
  • Bitterness about your loss
  • Inability to enjoy life
  • Depression or deep sadness
  • Trouble carrying out normal routines
  • Withdrawing from social activities
  • Feeling that life holds no meaning or purpose
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Lack of trust in others
  • So --depending on how severe your symptoms are, the more cause for concern, if that makes sense.

    Now, let me highlight the 5 stages of grieving, in case you are not familiar with them:

    1. Denial
    (disbelief that the loss occurred)

    2. Anger: (Can be
    at God, yourself, your ex-wife, etc)

    3. Bargaining (If
    only I had (fill in the blank), then the divorce wouldn't have

    4. Depression:
    Sadness over the loss

    5. Acceptance:
    You never forget, but acceptance involves getting to a place where you can live
    your life again and are not so heavily weighed down by the loss.

    The stages do not necessarily occur in order, and you can go back and forth between them before the grieving is over.

    One thing you can do is try to figure out what stage you are in --or what stage you might be "stuck" in and try to work through that stage. If, for example, you have a lot of thoughts: If only I." Or "If only she hadn't." or "Maybe if I had" it's good to write them down and then try "talking back," to the thoughts.

    You can make two columns and label one "evidence for my thought," and another column "evidence against my thought," and come up with as much as you can for both sides. Then form a more "balanced thought" that incorporates the truth of both the evidence for and against. For example, if your thought is "If only I had talked to my ex-wife more, we would still be together" you might have "I worked long hours and was so tired when I got home" in your evidence "for" side, but on the against side you have, "She often went to bed before I got home," Your balanced thought might be: "We didn't talk enough. But, it was a combination of me working long hours and the difficulty we both had setting time aside."

    It's an overly simplistic example, but I just wanted to explain the process.

    You mentioned that you've tried counseling --and I assume it didn't help? You might want to try a different counselor. Or perhaps look for a group for people who have lived through divorce.

    Please follow up with more specifics if my answer does not address your concerns and I will be more than happy to continue.

    Customer: replied 4 years ago.
    I'm certain I'm stuck in the depression stage and have been for at least a year. I don't know what to do? Because of my occupation I can't take anti-depressants, although I would if I was allowed. I'm so sad all the time and unable to function properly.

    You might want to try Neurofeedback, then. It is a non-drug option. You can read about it here:


    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be helpful for depression. CBT examines the interplay between
    beliefs, emotions, behavior, and feelings in one's body when in a particular
    situation. Intervention in one area will affect the entire system. With CBT one
    does a lot of work with identifying beliefs and making counter or alternative
    beliefs to the irrational ones. These are then tested out in real life
    situations in the form of "experiments." It is a highly effective
    approach for working on behavioral change and for mood states like depression. You can read more about it here: and

    DrFee and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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