Divorce is one of the most difficult experiences a person can have. No one ever enters a divorce with joy and glee. Prior to the decision to divorce someone there has been a lot of hurt. The course of events looks something like this:
Falling in Love – Dream of a happy future – Marriage – Sharing dreams together – Betrayal – Hurt/ Anger / Sadness – Hanging on – Decision to leave – Divorce
Once you get to the divorce phase of the relationship you have already been through quite an agonizing process of grief. Once it is all said and done, how do you proceed?
- Grieve: Let yourself mourn the loss of your hopes, dreams, finances, children’s intact home, your identity, your home, and every other loss you’ve experienced because of the divorce.
- Look forward: There is no point in focusing on the past. Picture yourself shutting the door on your marriage, visualizing it as a room you are leaving. See yourself entering a new room, full of possibilities and hope.
- Clean house: It is time to get your life in order. Cleaning house is both literal and figurative. Take care of unfinished business. Organize your home. Finish your education. Whatever you have left unattended because of the emotional turmoil the divorce has caused you, now is the time to start putting the pieces back together.
- Connect with your children: The divorce has impacted your entire family; this includes your children. Your children probably have no idea how to heal from what happened in their lives and probably have no idea what to do with their feelings. The best thing you can do is lean in to your relationship with your children and be there for them and with them.
- Create a new normal: Now that you are no longer part of a marriage, you have a new reality. You are single and independent. You can do whatever you want. You no longer have to share your decisions with your spouse.
- Fill in the gaps: If your spouse was the “fun” part of the relationship, you become fun. If you relied on your spouse to be the creative arm of the family, you need to step up and develop your creativity. If you relied on your spouse to handle the finances, or maybe even earn the finances and support the family, it’s now your turn to figure out how to do all that.
- Be your own hero: One of the rude awakenings we all come to realize with age and experience is that there really is no other person who is going to come along and save us. I’m sure you’ve come to that conclusion yourself now that you’ve been through a divorce. I’m not saying that you have to “go it alone” or be super-independent, “I don’t need anyone” person; but at the end of the day, you will be your own best resource. Making peace with this reality is liberating.
Yes, getting a divorce is difficult, but so is staying in an unhealthy marriage. It is hard to face, but it is helpful to know that you’re not alone and that half the country (or even world) is divorced. Getting divorced hurts, but you will recover and have a better future as you go through the healing process.