Moving Past Divorce

Moving Past Divorce

Ending a marriage can be both devastating and life changing. Long after the final papers have been signed, we can continue to experience feelings or loneliness, anger, sadness, and frustration. However, just as we might tell a “heart-broken” teenager, “life goes on,” it is important to remind ourselves of the same thing. Learning to heal and move past the divorce is a process of forgiveness and acceptance.

Acknowledge your feelings
Accepting and facing your feelings is the first step to moving on. The marriage is over, but it’s likely that feelings of anger, fear, stress, and sadness are still present. As much as it hurts, we must face our grief in order to move past it. Divorce encompasses so much loss: the loss of a partner, a future, a family, a home, stability, and dreams of being a couple. We must remind ourselves that all broken hearts heal with time. And as we begin to heal, we become stronger, wiser, and more independent than before.

Don’t let negative emotion consume you
Acceptance is hard, but dwelling on negative feelings like anger, hostility, and blame for an ex can hold you back and keep you from moving on. Appreciate the good parts of the relationship, and remember all that was learned from sharing in a relationship. We have to keep reminding ourselves of everything we are grateful for. It may take time, but eventually you will want a peaceful relationship with your ex – especially if there are children from the relationship. Staying in a negative head space will only encourage depression. Work toward acceptance and forgiveness. Forgiveness takes strength, but when we can forgive ourselves as well as an ex-spouse, we can move along a path of freedom and happiness.

Seek support
Do not go through a divorce without a few shoulders to cry on. Family and friends are likely hurting for you. Sharing your feelings with them benefits everyone, and will make them feel like they’ve helped support you during this tough time. Communities often have support groups, but if not, there are many online groups. Daily Strength is an online support community for many different groups of people. There are approximately 5,000 members in the Breakups & Divorce support group. You can post your own story, ask for advice, and respond to others. Midlife Divorce Recovery is a website specific to women going through divorce. It has advice articles and personal stories. After signing up, women will be put in contact with others going through similar circumstances.

Take it easy
In this time of stress, it’s important not to take on too much, in fact, try cutting down on tasks and responsibilities. Anything that lessens the load will help – ask family members to take a child to soccer, ask your boss for a few less hours each week, or instead of cooking, plan to pick up a meal. Mid-divorce is not the time to be a superhero. It may need to be a time to rest, reflect, and get in touch with yourself. This will put you on the path to moving on from your divorce. You can take it all on again once you’re feeling centered.

Focus on yourself
One of the most common symptoms of divorce is fear of the unknown. Sometimes the future has more question marks than ever before. Don’t let this fear be overwhelming. This is your opportunity to do things for yourself. Don’t hold back or focus on your former partner’s needs. This time can be all about self-growth. Eat the food an ex was allergic to and watch the shows he or she disliked. These small things are a recipe for getting in touch with yourself, and they are just the beginning.

Moving onto another relationship
Don’t seek out a rebound. Wait until there has been some healing before beginning another relationship. Divorce triggers panic in many people who fear being along forever. Anxiety and low self-esteem may push you to imagine the worst-case scenario that very likely will not be true. Many divorcees get remarried, or at least move onto another committed relationship. According to a 2014 study from the Pew Research Centre , 42 million Americans have remarried after divorce. This number is almost double the number of Americans who remarried in 1980. You will find love again, be patient, and don’t force anything.

If you are interested in reading books about divorce, check out Huffington Post’s List of 22 Books Everyone Should Read During Divorce or Amazon’s best-selling books in the divorce category.

If you’ve tried and failed to move on, or if you believe you need help to move past your divorce, please contact us at Family & Child Development – we would be happy to help you.