Nobody said divorce would be easy. The process may seem unbearable, especially at first when you are trying to get all your paperwork together. Then it gets worse again as you and your spouse argue over assets, child custody, and everything else. Then, once the divorce is finalized, you may finally feel a sense of relief.
But then the pain comes back. You feel hurt and angry. You may be thinking about the past, about how your marriage was once a happy union. You start to blame yourself. You may have regrets and feel as if you should have done things differently.
Even if you are the one who initiated the divorce, you may still feel very emotional about it–and that is OK. It is a common feeling.
But you may be comparing your divorce to your friend’s divorce. They seemed to have an easier time letting go. Why are you still so upset a year later?
A divorce is no minor event. Whether you were married for five years, 10 years, 20 years, or even 50 years, ending the marriage can be a highly emotional situation. You are back to living single after possibly decades of marriage, and that is no easy task.
Keep in mind each divorce is unique and you are not alone. Here are some of the reasons why you could still be struggling after a divorce.
You are Grieving
A divorce is much like a death in that you have lost a loved one. Even after a divorce, you may still love your ex-spouse. A divorce turns your world upside down. You may feel extra emotional at certain times. You may feel like you need to withdraw from family and friends. There may be times when you are angry at everyone. You may even blame yourself and feel the tiniest bit of regret. You will feel like a loved one has died, and while your ex may still be very much alive, they still hold a place in your heart. Give yourself time to grieve and if you need a little extra help, see a therapist.
You Have Broken Up the Family
Many couples stay together for the kids, but others cannot stay unhappy for that long. And that is OK. You should never stay married for the sake of your children, especially if they are in a high-conflict environment. But you may still feel some regret because you have essentially broken up the family.
While your children will struggle with divorce for a while, they will move on and you will, too. Start fresh with a positive attitude.
You are Ashamed
Divorce does not have the stigma that it once did. Still, many divorced men and women feel ashamed and embarrassed about being divorced. They feel inadequate. They may even feel like failures because they could not save their marriages.
Making matters worse is when you have to face relatives at family functions and explain your situation. Or maybe you are getting odd looks from co-workers and neighbors. You may feel as though these people are judging you, which can make you more ashamed. Then you may start to beat yourself up over it.
However, you should not worry about what others think. They did not suffer from an unhappy marriage. Do you think you made the right decision? If so, that is all that matters.
Your Future Has Changed
When you are married, you think about the present and the future. When you are divorced, your present and future effectively changes. Your spouse is no longer in your life, and if the two of you have shared dreams, you will now be on that journey alone, which can seem depressing.
But that is not the end of the story. Yes, you will now have to begin a new life without your ex. While that can seem scary, it can also be exciting. Look forward and stop going back to the past. It may be hard to believe that chapter of your life is over, but think positive and move on. Who knows, you could rewrite your future with a new life partner!
How to Move On
Now that you know why you are struggling on, how do you effectively move forward and stop grieving? Here are some tips for moving on.
- Forgive yourself. Many people are unable to move on because they feel as though they are the ones to blame. They think that if only they tried harder or did something differently, they could still be married. Stop thinking like that. Stop blaming yourself and focus on the future.
- Take care of yourself. After a divorce, you need to be #1. Take care of your needs. If you are thinking about another relationship, remember that you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else.
- Make progress. You can build your self-esteem by celebrating small victories. Maybe you cleaned the house or had time for a bubble bath. Perhaps you cooked dinner instead of ordering takeout. Maybe you had coffee with friends instead of staying home and feeling sorry for yourself. These little things show you’re making progress.
- Enjoy your free time. Try a new hobby or get back into one you have missed. Make new friends. Take classes. Travel and see the world. You are no longer tied to your marriage, so enjoy yourself and make the most of your new single life.
Seek Legal Help
Not everyone deals with divorce the same way. Some get past the negative emotions quickly, while others take a little longer.
While there are no set rules to getting over a divorce, it helps to understand why you are struggling. Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can help you move on after a divorce. We understand it is not easy, but we have resources that can help. Schedule a consultation by filling out the online form or calling (954) 346-6464.