Are you divorced or in the process of getting a divorce? If so, you know that divorce brings forth a wide range of emotions.
Life after divorce is like gluing together the pieces of a shattered vase. Like the vase, your life will never again look the same. And even though change can be hard it can also lead you to live a wonderful new life. Additionally, you can put the pieces of your life back together any way you choose.
If your marriage ends you’re forced to deal with change and uncertainty. Typically, you need time to grieve. The level of your emotional investment in a marriage determines how long you’ll need to grieve. It’s okay to grieve for a week, several months or a year or more. If you’re like most women, you may tell yourself, “I should be over this by now,” when actually everyone’s grieving process is different. Moreover, if you wanted the divorce you’ll move on quickly. If you didn’t want to divorce you may have a harder time getting over it and moving forward with your life.
Divorce is never easy, but it’s one of those life events that deserves a serious postmortem examination to figure out what really happened. Can you take an honest look at your marriage? What wasn’t working? How long did you tell yourself, “This should be working,” or “Maybe things will change?” If you’re completely honest you can see where it was undermined and what your part was in the dissolution. Perhaps as a couple you didn’t deal with issues well or your lives took off in different directions after the kids left the house or you weren’t able to share deep emotional intimacy.
It may surprise you to realize that when you’re in the grieving process after divorce, it’s most likely that you are grieving the illusion of what your marriage could have been rather than what it really was.
You don’t have to look at your marriage as having failed. You can you can look at it as a rich learning experience – a part of your path in life. With self-reflection you can choose to see the gifts you received from the experience. If you look closely at what didn’t work you’ll be wiser in your next relationship. When you see the facts clearly you’ll see that it probably was no longer an ideal relationship for you.
Picking Up the Pieces after My Own Divorce
I got married in my twenties and divorced in my twenties. My marriage lasted just a couple years. It was messy and dramatic. For example, my husband repossessed my car and asked me to move out of his home. I lost the friends I had made during the marriage. I was lonely and thought my pain would never end.
What helped me deal with my emotions was understanding the grieving process. According to Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a pioneer in the grieving process, we typically experience five stages of emotions after a loss. The five stages are characterized by the following emotions: denial, anger, bargaining, letting go and then finally, acceptance. We don’t move through these emotional stages in a linear fashion. It’s sometimes a matter of one step forward and two steps backward.
For me, some days I was happy being out of the marriage and some days I longed for my ex. Some days I could show up for my life and sometimes I felt so depressed that I could barely get out of bed to brush my teeth. I had to become okay with the emotional roller coaster I was on in order to establish a new sense of ‘normal.’
Another resource I used was psychotherapy. My therapist helped me embrace my pain rather than numb out. She explained that I would move through the grief process quicker if I allowed myself to feel all of my uncomfortable emotions. She assured me that it was normal and healthy to grieve even though it felt terrible. I learned a radical new way of managing my sadness. Rather than feeling bad all day long every day I could schedule grief periods and during those periods ‘dive’ into my sadness. I could wear black, cry, stay in bed, watch television and eat ice cream as needed during my scheduled grief period(s). My therapist gave me permission not to feel guilty about whatever I did during my grieving periods. Sometimes sadness would pop up unexpectedly outside my grieving periods and that was okay too.
After a scheduled grief period she advised me to get on with life as best I could. I tried this approach and found it to help me. At first, these grief periods lasted all day long, but miraculously, they became shorter and shorter. Some days I only needed 15 minutes of grieving which I could do by taking a break at work or sitting in my car.
With time I saw where my marriage failed. Namely, I realized that we weren’t able to talk about difficult issues. Moreover, my inexperience with love and relationships didn’t set me up for success. In conclusion, I realized that I was too young and emotionally-immature to have made a life-long commitment to marriage.
From my own experience, I know that dealing with divorce may not be easy at first but it gets easier. It helps to surround yourself with positive people and accept the fact that you are grieving. Think of divorce as a life situation that will pass rather than a life-sentence.
By the way, I am now happily married and in the best relationship of my life!
Conclusion: Picking up the pieces of your life after divorce is easier if you have support and information to help you hold out hope for the future. If you’d like to find out how I can help you, call me now @ 512-922-4822 or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.