Working with and helping individuals and couples as they embark on a divorce is a dynamic and ever changing process.
Like distant cousins, thoughts and feelings are often universal, yet different in their own right, displayed through varying degrees of depth and intensity.
Divorce presents with many difficult challenges regardless or whether or not you were the one to initiate the divorce or it was initiated upon you. It changes you in profound ways big and small, good and not so good. The ripple effect of divorce not only affects the couple, but children, friends, extended family, and at times work relationships.
One’s personal journey is not a time sensitive process, it just “is” and is different for each person. Giving yourself the time, energy, and self-care needed to get through a divorce, is a critical component.
Despite the ups and downs inherent in divorce, its not all bad. Our journey together has resulted in a lot of self discovery and some surprises along the way that have given people “pause”….
1. I didn’t realize how much of my own values I sacrificed. In the moment, I could see it happening, like I was watching myself. Its a weird feeling. It wasn’t until I was out of the relationship that it had its greatest effect on me. A hard lesson to learn, but I have learned it well.
2. I am surprised I am going through a divorce. I always believed I would not get divorced. Married meant married – no matter what. I have to learn to accept that we no longer have an intact family, as it once was. I realize I cannot fix that and that really bothers me. This creates a lot of sadness for my children, but over time, less for myself.
3. As I examine my own life and changes in the midst of my divorce, I realize he (soon to be ex) has come undone and it is difficult at times to watch. I continue to be challenged by his behaviors. Who chose this person? Me. I am reminded of that. Often. That makes me question my judgment. I wonder, did he change that much or did I? What happened?
4. I wasn’t aware of the significant impact my own family, my upbringing had on my marriage, my decisions, and my values. I was surprised by this revelation. I used to ask, why did I do that? But now, in therapy and becoming more introspective and aware, things make more sense to me. I have really changed. That’s a good thing.
5. Divorce is much harder than I had anticipated. Because I was the one that initiated the divorce, I thought it wouldn’t be that bad. Maybe I thought it would be easier because of this fact. But it hasn’t been. It feels much harder than I had anticipated.
6. I have always been really independent. Maybe that’s been part of the problem. I thought I could do this all on my own and I wouldn’t need anyone. Possibly thinking that its not good to “need.” But I was wrong. I do need my family and friends. It’s made me reexamine my relationship with them. I think that a good thing. I am much more grateful for them than I was in the past.
7. I had many more lonely nights than I thought I would have. I thought the feelings of freedom would be there right from the start, but they were not and that blindsided me. However, I have come to realize that that’s part of the process. The initial feelings of freedom disappeared but returned after a period of time.
8. I felt like a failure for a very long time. I am glad I am moving away from that feeling and looking at my divorce differently.
9. It really isn’t all that bad. I thought I would be a mess for a long time and I am not. Should I feel guilty about that? Am I suppose to be harboring bad feelings that I just don’t have?
10. I had this idea that after several months, I would be “over it” and would had moved on. Its not that easy. Some days I feel like I am in same place. Some days I am
Despite the ups and downs that people experience going through a divorce, hope for a better future is the “light at the end of the tunnel.” It really is. Your journey is your own. Embrace it!