Getting it Together BEFORE the Divorce
Key Points
  • Don’t let the divorce turn you bitter. Understanding that divorce is not your failure, just a breakdown of the marriage; a marriage that no longer works.
  • Healing, recovery after divorce, means you can openly and honestly look at that breakdown and learn from your mistakes going forward.

Divorce is one of the ten most stressful life events. Even when divorce is for the best, it takes a while to stop hurting. Pain and suffering are natural and inescapable consequences of any divorce. Sadness and anger, fear and anxiety, sorrow and denial - all are voices in a Greek chorus reiterated in a divorce and its aftermath. A divorce is an end, and it is a beginning. That beginning includes recovery from the understandable dislocations that happen in all marriages that end.

Even when divorce ends a marriage gone terribly wrong, a divorce does not make people happy. Happiness, such as it is, is something that happens after the bad marriage ends, not because the bad marriage ends.

Divorce recovery is the long and difficult road to the point where life seems and feels normal. Ideally, it is the point where former spouses can, if need be, talk with one another civilly. People recover from a divorce at different speeds and in different ways. Some people look upon the recovery as a challenge; others fear it as an abyss. Sadly, some people never recover and they become bitter and twisted and fearful of another intimate human relationship. 

People going through a divorce commonly experience plummeting self-esteem, but divorce does not mean that a person is a failure in life. Almost everybody has a loving relationship go south; about half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. The relief map of human relationships is very textured and convoluted, and the terrain has many peaks and valleys. However, a person going through a divorce should consider his or her part in the breakdown of the marriage. Honest soul searching is in order. A cold eye on the issues reveals the truth of most failed marriages: both spouses are responsible. It’s a good idea to at least try to see it from the ex-spouse’s point of view. Sometimes it helps to write about the incidents and spend some serious alone time thinking about how they might have handled it differently. A person who understands how he or she contributed to the breakdown of the marriage also understands that he or she is not perfect, and like everyone else, is a flawed human being who makes mistakes.

Suggested Reading
The Divorce Recovery Journal The Divorce Recovery Journal
An interactive book of insightful observations splashed with humor, useful advice on divorce and starting over, and space for your personal journaling.

Author: Linda C. Senn

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