5 Life Changing Lessons We Learn After Divorce
by Melissa Provence
No one gets married thinking they will get divorced and if it happens to you, it can be an eye-opening event. Even if you have come to grips that divorce is the best option for you and your spouse, it is still heart-breaking. Most people can look back after a few years and see how much better off they are. Sounds hard to believe right? But after years of working with divorcing couples, and going through my own mediated divorce, I know this to be true. Divorce gives us the opportunity to truly live with intention, rediscover ourselves, and create the life that we want.
Here is what I have learned in my own divorce recovery journey.
Starting from experience, not from scratch
When my 12-year marriage ended, I was overwhelmed by the task of starting over. The truth is you are not starting from scratch, you are starting from experience. There was a moment where I realized that the only way I could move forward, was by changing my life. I could take all of the lesson’s life had taught me over my 12 year marriage and use my experiences to help me grow. I changed the patterns, rituals and habits that were holding my back and/or no longer serving me in the moment. I love who I have become – the upgraded version of myself.
Criticism doesn’t help a co-parenting relationship.
Co-parenting is one of the hardest aspects of divorce. It involves a lot of communication, planning, and picking your battles. My ex-spouse and I must communicate more now about our parenting, than we did when we were married. We strive to keep house rules consistent and discipline in a similar manor. There is no room for name calling, anger, and negativity. We have put a tremendous amount of effort into putting our kids needs ahead of our own feelings and pride.
Forgiveness is for you, not the other person.
There are still times that I question how I came to forgive my ex-husband. When he first decided to leave our marriage, I felt like he had stolen my entire existence. The life we built, our future, time that I would miss with my children on his weekends. I was angry and if I am honest, I still get angry at times. Forgiveness does not just happen once. It is a lot like love. It is something that you choose to do on a daily basis. There are two options: allow yourself to sit in anger or resentment alone or regain control over your emotions so that you can move forward.
The guilt is not yours alone.
After we separated, I had so much more time to be alone with my thoughts and I did not like it. I would reflect over the years and wonder at what point did he decide I wasn’t worth loving? What had I done to make him feel this way? Not only was I negative and mean to myself, but I also took all the blame for the end of the relationship instead of realizing that we were both at fault. It was hard to redirect my thoughts. I had to re-write my internal dialogue by being kind to myself and practicing self-love. I found peace in being “human” and stopped worrying so much about what other people thought of me and the path my life had taken.
You are not your divorce.
This is a defining moment in life, but it does not define you as a person. It does not mean you are a failure. I recall being ashamed and embarrassed that my husband no longer wanted to be married. I had built my identity around being his wife and a mother to our two children. I had to re-evaluate who I was now as a single person and what I was willing to invest my time in.
If you are having a hard time dealing with a recent divorce or struggling to cope with this new journey, reach out. Visit our website or schedule a complimentary consultation to find out how we can help.