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Life After Divorce

man n ledgeDivorce is a horrible process, and brings a few sayings to mind: “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, and “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Not only is divorce expensive, emotionally damaging, and often embarrassing; but it is also one of the few times in life where everything is out of control and up in the air. You don’t know how much time you will have with your kids, you don’t know what your income is going to be, you might not know where you will be living, or what your expenses will be.

You might be confronted with the prospect of suddenly having to take on parenting responsibilities or a new job. And you are dealing with all of this chaos at the same time that you are dealing with the emotional processing of the death of a marriage.

Frequently, one person has been processing the end of the marriage for several years before finally filing for divorce, while the other person is somewhat blindsided and was not ready to get divorced. The person who has been processing it over several years now can’t get it done fast enough, and the blindsided person is struggling with being forced to process the death of the marriage while simultaneously being expected to make major financial and parenting decisions that will affect the rest of their life.

With the emotional stress of the divorce, you may find yourself misplacing your keys or your cell phone all the time. You may find that every single topic of discussion leads you back to your divorce and that you can’t stop talking about or thinking about it. You may find that you are doing everything to hold yourself together only to have emotional breakdowns at the worst possible times. You may feel completely insane and out of control. Guess what? That’s normal! Congratulations, you are a human being, as flawed as the rest of us. It is normal and healthy to be distraught and sad over the death of a marriage.

The negative feelings are a direct reflection of how much the marriage meant to you; and there is honor in that. Just don’t let it pull you under.

Also, just because the other person doesn’t seem to be hurting does not mean that the marriage meant nothing to them. They just likely processed the death of the marriage in a more subtle way over several years, and have come out on the other side of it… as you will. Typically, by the time you reach a year after your divorce, you will find you feel pretty good, that you have settled into your new life, and that you aren’t thinking about your divorce all the time. So, how do you get to the light at the end of this dark tunnel?