A divorce is a highly stressful, life-changing event. It’s never easy when a marriage or significant relationship ends. In order to fully accept a breakup and move on, you need to understand what happened and acknowledging the part you played. It’s important to understand how the choices you made affected the relationship. Learning from your mistakes is the key to not repeating them.
During divorce it is essential to acknowledge your emotions and manage your feelings in a way that helps you make smart decisions to preserve your family, important relationships, and your dignity.
Dealing with the Emotional Aspects
Divorce is a time of great emotional pain and enormous change. The decision to end a relationship can be traumatic, chaotic, and filled with irrational sentiments. If you’re finding it difficult to work through the changes and sense of emotional loss, it is vital to seek counseling from a neutral party, as this will help you deal with the loss of trust, respect and affection within the relationship. Learning coping strategies will help you to survive the pain and losses.
Divorce can trigger all sorts of unsettling, uncomfortable and frightening feelings, thoughts and emotions, including grief, loneliness, depression, despair, guilt, frustration, anxiety, anger, and devastation, to name a few. There is frequently sadness and grief at the thought of the end of a significant relationship. Painful as they are, these sorts of emotions are generally natural grief-related reactions to a very difficult life-altering situation. Though there is no ‘cure’ for these feelings, there are some good and healthy ways to cope with them so as to suffer as little as possible, and to gain in wisdom, compassion and strength from having gone through the experience. The emotional coping process starts with allowing one’s self the freedom to grieve and ends with moving on with one’s life.
Rebuilding and Regain your Sense as an Individual
This part is marked by seeing yourself as an individual again rather than being a part of an intimate couple. The intense reactions of denial, anger, bargaining and grief need to replace with feelings of acceptance. In order to keep your own inner peace, avoid self-blame. Relationships require two people and the consent and involvement of both. If you try to blame yourself for what has happened, then you will feel guilty, angry, and helpless. Blame is a useless emotion and when it is related to the end of a marriage, it simply causes you harm. Grief can also be paralyzing after a breakup, but after a while, the sadness begins to lift. Day by day, and little by little, you start moving on. However, if you don’t feel any forward momentum, you may be suffering from depression.
Things don’t always turn out for the best, but you can make the best out of how things turned out. So now it’s time to start rebuilding your life. Make a conscious effort to be a pleasant person. Be willing to apologize and admit when you are wrong. Don’t project yourself as bitter or angry towards marriage, accepting the fact that you are an imperfect person will help you forgive yourself for blunders that you have made. Being able to move on with life is easiest to accomplish when one is hopeful, positive, forward-looking and present-centered, rather than stuck ruminating about the past. Negative, depressive or pessimistic attitudes get in the way of moving on because they are closed and do not motivate new approaches to life. Positive thinking comes easier for some people than for others, but anyone can learn to be more positive in outlook if they want to and are willing to practice. Accept that the marriage has ended and that there are new things to do in life now, including finding a new sense of purpose.
Taking Care of Yourself after a Divorce
Learning to take care of yourself can be one of the most valuable lessons you learn following a divorce. As you feel the emotions of your loss and begin learning from your experience, you can resolve to take better care of yourself and make positive choices going forward. When you’re going through the emotional wringer and dealing with major life changes, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. The strain and upset of a major breakup can leave you psychologically and physically vulnerable.
Treat yourself like you’re getting over the flu. Get plenty of rest, minimize other sources of stress in your life, and reduce your workload if possible. A divorce is a beginning as well as an end. Take the opportunity to explore new interests and activities. Pursuing fun, new activities gives you a chance to enjoy life in the here-and-now, rather than dwelling on the past.
Healing After a Divorce
A divorce is painful because it represents the loss, not just of the relationship, but also of shared dreams and commitments. Romantic relationships begin on a high note of excitement and hope for the future. When these relationships fail, we experience profound disappointment, stress, and grief. Recovering from a divorce is difficult. However, it’s important to know that you can and will move on. But healing takes time, so be patient with yourself.
Remember that moving on is the end goal. Expressing your feelings will liberate you in a way, but it is important not to dwell on the negative feelings or to over-analyze the situation. Getting stuck in hurtful feelings like blame, anger, and resentment will rob you of valuable energy and prevent you from healing and moving forward.
Learning Important Lessons From a Divorce
In times of emotional crisis, there is an opportunity to grow and learn. Just because you are feeling emptiness in your life right now, doesn’t mean that nothing is happening or that things will never change. Consider this period a time-out, a time for sowing the seeds for new growth. You can emerge from this experience knowing yourself better and feeling stronger.
Try not to dwell on who is to blame or beat yourself up over your mistakes. As you look back on the relationship, you have an opportunity to learn more about yourself, how you relate to others, and the problems you need to work on. If you are able to objectively examine your own choices and behavior, including the reasons why you chose your former partner, you’ll be able to see where you went wrong and make better choices next time.
Staying Socially Active During Divorce
It is extremely important for your physical and psychological health that you stay socially active during the divorce process. Many grieving people find that their suffering is somewhat lessened when they are able to share their hurt feelings with a sympathetic audience. For this reason, it is often helpful for grieving people to tell trusted family and friends that they are getting divorced, and to request assistance from these trusted people as they are able to offer it. Finding someone who can and will listen and allow one to vent their hurt emotions and fears and offer comforting advice often proves very helpful.
Keep an open mind. Think about your life and what would help make you happy. If you are at least a little outgoing and friendly, you will be pleasantly surprised at the new friendships that you can develop.