Divorce is complicated. And because it’s so complicated, people tend to focus on the worst-case and best-case scenarios when they think about the reality of life after divorce.
At one extreme, some assume that the truth of life post-divorce is misery and constant struggle. And there are ample examples of both men and women who struggle profoundly during and after their divorces.
Others assume that their reality of life after divorce will be immediate happiness and joy because they’ll be able to move on with their lives without their ex. There are also plenty of stories of men who quickly move on to new, happier relationships and women who feel liberated upon divorcing.
Like most things in life, I believe that the reality of life after divorce will be what you make of it.
When I look back at my own divorce, I first believed that my divorce was the best thing that could happen. I had felt trapped in a marriage that had become loveless and the thought of being free was intoxicating.
However, I also experienced a whole lot of post-divorce misery and struggle – in part because I thought I should feel bad and in part because I had a lot of personal growth to do.
When I look back at my experience and those of the hundreds of people I’ve worked with over the years who are happy with their reality of life after divorce, there are three phases of healing that every successful, divorced person works through:
- Acceptance And Adjustment
- Moving On
Dealing with grief about the end of your marriage is tough. You have so very many things to say good-bye to that it’s common to feel depressed. This is the phase during which the misery usually happens.
Beginning to accept that the reality of life after divorce is different from life during marriage is another milestone on the path to becoming a happily divorced person.
The interesting thing about acceptance is that you can decide if things aren’t right for you and then you can begin making the necessary adjustments to change your life. This phase is when most people feel the struggle and begin to feel empowered.
The final phase is when your divorce no longer defines you. It’s just something that happened in your past and that you’ve learned a lot from.
So, you can see that successfully healing from divorce is a process. And because it’s a process it’s complicated.
At one moment, you may think that the reality of your life after divorce will be a life sentence of misery and struggle. And at another moment, you may think it will be sweet freedom.
Either way, what you’ll likely discover is that your life post-divorce will be exactly what you decide to make of it.
Previously published on DrKarenFinn.com