Dear John: My soon-to-be ex-husband, "Jerry," and I are a month away from finalizing our divorce. Our 5-year-old son is my only joy in life. Our son goes over to Jerry's house, and has learned about Jerry's new girlfriend — someone whose existence Jerry kept from me, until our son spilled the beans. This divorce has been very hard on me. After all, it was Jerry who did not want to remain married to me. I can't help but feel angry and bitter at his decision to jump right into another relationship. I just want to heal from this, and I want to help my son through any trauma he may be suffering from this. I have tried writing Jerry letters (that I did not intend to send) to "feel" out my anger and bitterness, but this is not helping me. What should I do? — In Pain, in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Dear In Pain: When you hear that Jerry appears happy with someone else, of course, this becomes an additional source of pain for you. Please don't make the mistake of comparing Jerry's reaction to your own. It is the nature of many Martians to numb the painful experience of divorce by quickly entering into other relationships, though not always with success. Venusians, however, often take longer to get involved again because divorce raises the issue of trust. Until they can heal those feelings, they are unlikely to trust enough in another man to begin a new relationship.
Now is that time to focus on all the feelings that you have. Writing out your feelings of anger alone will only leave you bitterer. It is also important to journal your feelings of sadness, then explore more deeply your inner fears and insecurities. By doing so, you will explore the true causes of your pain — and move beyond it in order to find love again and happiness again. As for your son, he simply wants to see his mother happy. Working through this process of healing for yourself is the best thing you can do for him. Good luck.
Dear John: I'm in love with a guy who also happens to be my best friend in the world. I never really expected that I would fall in love with him! I even tried to quench my feelings by setting him up with other women, whom he dated, but I've always had strong feelings for him. Well, things are really different now because he is now in love with another girl. I know the girl, and she is really nice, unlike the bitchy women he dated before. And I can see that things between them seem serious. What do I do, before it's too late? — Friends without the Benefits, in Chicago, Ill.
Dear Friends: You may have missed the boat on divulging your secret. If you tell him now, you will certainly change the whole dynamic of the relationship: He will see you differently, which means he won't confide in you as a friend since he now knows he may hurt your feelings.
My advice: Wait and see where this new love leads. If it turns out to be a dead end, then tell him how you feel — and he may surprise you with similar feelings.
John Gray is the author of "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus."
Copyright 2009 John Gray's Mars Venus Advice - Distributed By Creators Syndicate, Inc.