- Any breakup is hard, but divorce is especially difficult, as you have to say goodbye to the person you planned to spend forever with.
- Fortunately, you can take matters into your own hands and recover: the three keys are giving in to the pain, forgiving yourself, and practicing self-care.
- Additionally, it’s important to realize that you likely made mistakes in your marriage, too—and to utilize this time to learn from those mistakes.
- If you do capitalize on this opportunity to learn from your mistakes in your relationship, then you can look forward to future romantic relationships with confidence.
- That said, this time should be all about you: don’t jump into anything until you are truly ready and have taken the time you need to heal from the divorce.
Ending any serious relationship is hard. But divorce is a different kind of hard: it’s hard to say goodbye after committing to a lifetime together; it’s hard to accept that the future you imagined and planned for is shattered; and it’s hard to feel hopeful about life moving forward—especially when it comes to love.
The good news is “hard” doesn’t mean impossible. Recovering from a divorce is possible, as long as you take healing into your own hands. More specifically, you can heal from your divorce and go on to live a happy, fulfilling life if you surrender to your emotions and be extra kind to yourself during this time. Additionally, you can go on to find love again if you’re willing to learn from your mistakes.
3 Important Keys to Healing After Divorce
Before you can open yourself to love again, you need to focus on healing from this split and getting to know yourself again. Here’s our definitive guide for doing so:
1. Feel the pain.
First, you have to surrender to all of the pain. “It may sound counterintuitive to you but one of the best ways to heal is to acknowledge and sit with your sadness,” Julie Fanning, licensed clinical social worker, explains. “By accepting you feel brokenhearted, you honor your feelings and heal quicker than if you avoid feeling sad. Trying to avoid the sadness keeps the sadness lurking in the background demanding to be felt so just go ahead and feel sad so you can feel better.”
2. Forgive yourself.
You should also give yourself some wiggle room during this tough time. Don’t beat yourself up if you do something that’s a little out of character. “Breakups are difficult. Sometimes a person may take actions they normally wouldn’t,” says Fanning. “For example, maybe you called his mother to tell her what a bad person he is, or you drove by his house 55 times in two hours. Normally, this isn’t your behavior, but during a breakup, sometimes good judgment goes to the wayside. Forgive yourself so you can fully heal.”
3. Turn inward.
Additionally, turn inward to focus on yourself and don’t subject yourself to unnecessary pain. In other words, make it a clean cut. Checking their activity on social media will only hurt you. “You will not feel better scrolling through your ex’s Instagram or seeing the new significant other on Facebook,” says Fanning. “Social media will highlight all the positives of your ex and your brain will be filled with ‘what ifs’ and ‘why nots?’ This is not productive and will be a barrier to healing.”
Moving Forward Means Making an Important Realization
Now, in addition to employing Fanning’s tips above for healing after your divorce, it’s important to take responsibility for the demise of the relationship. It isn’t healthy or productive to point fingers or to take all of the blame—instead, acknowledge the part you played in the breakup. Licensed Psychologist Lisa Larsen explains:
“There is a fair amount of grief that comes with being divorced, such as being reminded that the person once loved them but no longer does. It often comes as a surprise to one of the partners, who has less chance to prepare for it mentally. People sometimes blame the other person completely, never taking ownership for what they brought to the situation to break the relationship up. Others blame themselves entirely. Neither is a healthy or realistic way to see the situation. Taking appropriate responsibility is important because it allows people to learn from their mistakes and have a clearer idea of what to avoid or do better in their next relationship.”
If you make it a point to understand your part in the demise of your relationship, you can more confidently build and navigate a future romantic relationship (when that time comes). That said, it’s important you don’t jump into another relationship before you’re ready. Remember: it takes some time to heal from divorce. But you can jumpstart the process, and also set yourself up for success in future relationships by prioritizing your needs and focusing solely on you for the time being.