Although divorce is often synonymous with sadness, grief, and loss, it can also provide an opportunity for growth, renewal, change, and empowerment. Maybe not in the beginning, but as time goes on, glimmers of hope emerge that provide the signs that the tide will soon turn and life will create an upswing of positivity after living through months of turmoil and uncertainty.
While going through a divorce, what helps people weather the many storms and the ups and downs is feeling both hopeful and optimistic about their future – despite how they feel at the moment. Experiencing the glimmers of a better and happier day when their divorce is a thing of the past, allows for positive emotions to emerge.
People hang on to those moments – even if in the beginning they are outnumbered by the challenging and negative experiences. And in doing so, they can begin to believe that eventually, the tide will turn and the positive days begin to outnumber the negative.
Transitioning through divorce usually means that, at any given time, you feel immobilized and indecisive about what to do. This is often peppered with a lack focus and clarity, preventing you from taking necessary steps to creating change in your life. Your frustration about where you are and where you want to be is bound in feeling anxious and overwhelmed.
Allowing yourself to be stuck in the past and unable to make changes in the present leads to difficulty creating a different future – a future you need to create that is more aligned to where you really want to be.
If there is one thing that everyone can agree upon when it comes to divorce, it’s that it is predictably unpredictable. Just when you think you have it figured out (to some degree) and you are on the path of recovery – wham! You walk right into another wall that leaves you feeling disillusioned, confused, and completely unsure of what you are doing.
There’s no way to make divorce easy. You can only try to make the process easier—and that’s going to be a little different for everyone. However, if you can hold tight, believe in yourself, and learn how to manage your thoughts (even the dark ones) and feelings (which are all over the place), there will be a light at the end of the tunnel (and no, it won’t be an oncoming train). Try these strategies to help get you through:
Even if you had no experience with divorce prior to your own, you probably had some pretty clear ideas about what it would be like to go through one. You might have assumed it’s always easier if you’re the initiator, or that you’d be so angry there wouldn’t be time or space to feel hurt and lonely. When I’m working with clients transitioning through divorce, we often spend a lot of time dealing with “But I never thought…” Which is why learning to let go of your expectations of what divorce is “supposed” to be is one of the very first steps toward healing. In the meantime, though, I thought I’d share some of my patients’ biggest divorce surprises in the hopes of making your journey just a little easier:
There is one universal truth when it comes to divorce—it’s hard, really hard. How we deal with the struggle depends as much on the circumstances surrounding the split as on our individual emotional makeup. But one of the things that can help in understanding is that we’re not alone in our experience. Although there are countless reasons why a couple may decide to end their marriage, there are a few divorce scenarios that most people fall into, each triggering a unique cascade of emotions. Below, I share three of the most common I see in my practice:
Divorce is by far one of the most stressful and unsettling events that can occur in a person’s life. It shakes the once-solid foundation of the marriage—and the family. It disrupts lives, changes routines, and often makes people feel like they are in an emotional spin cycle.
Although it may feel impossible at first, learning how to manage that emotional fray is one of the first steps toward healing your heart and finding peace. The key? Remembering that it’s a process—and one that takes time. Sometimes sadness or anger will get the better of you, and that’s ok. What matters most is that you do your best to keep moving forward from wherever you are. These steps can help:
Divorce brings one of the most emotionally turbulent times in life, triggering what seems like every possible feeling: from intense fear and sadness, to happiness and relief, and back to grief and disappointment. These emotions happen whether you’re the one initiating the divorce, the one being asked for it, or you’re both in agreement that it’s time to lead separate lives. While the emotional progression isn’t exactly the same for everyone, there is a fairly typical pattern that most people experience: