3 Questions That Can Haunt You Post-Divorce
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By Jamie Daniel, MFT, Guest Author - November 29, 2016

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“If you don’t second-guess yourself, then you are not trying to get better.” Don Mattingly

Is second-guessing your decision to divorce making you crazy? Do you wish you could go back in time and revisit that decision?

In life, it seems the grass is always greener on the other side.

What is leading you to spend so much time second-guessing your decision?

  • Do you have an inner belief that you rushed to judgment?
  • Do you not trust your ability to know what is intuitively the right decision for you?
  • Do you doubt your ability to make sound decisions?

At some point down the road from your divorce, it makes sense that you might reflect on this. It might have been one of the biggest decisions you’ve ever made. How could you have anticipated all the new challenges that decision would create? New challenges, however, don’t mean you made the wrong decision.

Current stressors in life are masterful at provoking this question, as they may feel more overwhelming than the strain you remember feeling in your marriage.

You may ask yourself, "Why do I doubt myself? I had such a firm conviction about it at the time. It seemed like the right choice." 

That is an important point worth remembering. Maybe you need to revisit this to strengthen your belief in yourself. Maybe second-guessing is meant to teach you something and help you move forward in your life right now.

Here are Three Questions That Can Haunt You After Your Divorce:

1. Did I Not Appreciate What I Had?

Is it honest to say that you never had moments of gratitude during your marriage? I imagine if you spend time looking back, you’ll remember when you felt appreciation during that relationship. Our brain has a way of dulling our negative memories and highlighting all of our good ones. I’d bet that if you could climb into a time portal and go back to relive one day of that life, you’d be surprised at how much you’ve changed, and might even wonder how you put up with what you did.

Bottom line: Remember what you did appreciate during that time and let it go. Acknowledge and focus on everything you value in your life today. Trust your ability to make a healthy decision.

2. Could We Have Worked Things Out if We’d Tried Harder?

Did you and your ex go to counseling? How did that go? Was your voice heard when you tried to discuss the things in your relationship that concerned you? Were sincere efforts made to improve the marriage? I imagine you got to a breaking point where you might have felt unheard and disconnected from a lack of intimacy and communication with each other. You might have felt there was no hope for change, and a lack of common interests or even an interest in each other. You probably tried very hard, and your divorce is evidence of that.

Bottom line: If it’s helpful, take responsibility for what you might have done differently. Acknowledge that the outcome might have been the same. Exercise self-compassion in knowing you did the best you could at that time. So did your ex. Trust yourself that you did not rush into your decision to divorce. 

3. Could I Have Made the Growth Changes in My Life and Stayed Married?

It can be tough to realize personal growth if there is resistance coming from inside the relationship. I believe many women who are mostly content in their marriages can grow and adapt over the years. For other women who have unhappy marriages, there might be little support for their growth and change. Stay or go? That is a very personal choice. Depending on your age, you’ve probably got 40+ years left to live. What do you value today? How do you want to spend your precious life?

Bottom line: If you felt unhappy and disconnected in your marriage, and if you didn’t see a willingness by your partner to work on the relationship, you were at a crossroads. To grow and materialize a full and meaningful life, you made a crucial, personal choice. Trust and believe in your ability to make sound decisions for your life.

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