Accepting Divorce and Moving On
None of us plan on getting divorced, but yet here you are right in the middle of this nightmare that was never supposed to happen – feeling totally helpless as you watch the life you built come apart bit by bit.
It was 2008 when I found myself in the middle of my divorce.
My ex-husband moved to Florida during the process, and I was left with a home that I had to prep to sell, and an enormous divorce bill on my credit card that left me financially tapped, an almost debilitating depression over my broken illusions of marriage, and so much anxiety at the thought of having to rebuild and start over. I was hitting rock bottom in almost every part of my life. Not exactly where I saw myself in my thirties.
You think your life is set. You feel so blessed that you found your forever person and now here you are, in this hellish chapter of your life, being told that you need to let go of the only life you know - left to face the reality that this person is no longer going to be a part of your world. Even if you have children together, your former spouse’s existence is no longer a part of your plans and your future dreams. Nothing you had counted on and envisioned for your life is to come true...
The pain from this reality can be excruciating, making it next to impossible to see any sort of happiness again in your future. So you may feel desperate to hold on tight to your marriage for as long as you can, even long after it’s over. You hold out hope and pray that it will somehow come back together. You hold on to that little spec because you think if you let it go, you are losing the last remnant piece that you have left of them - of the dreams you built in you mind.
And we somehow convinced ourselves that they were our only chance at love and happiness.
Deep down, underneath all that pain, the rational side of us knows this is not true – and it knows that we will love again someday. But the grief makes it impossible to see past darkness and misery at first. And this may cause us to resist, fight, or run away from reality.
It wasn’t until a few months in, after a spectacular meltdown, that I had an emotional breakthrough - a moment of clarity. This is when I realized the only way I would be able to heal and move on, was to surrender and accept my reality. It wasn’t until I changed my mindset that I realized the bigger picture of my life and how things have always been working for me, even when it felt like things were against me. I just couldn’t see it in the moment.
I finally knew I needed to surrender to my life’s unfolding and give up trying to control it. Once I surrendered and accepted my circumstances, it was as if an elephant had been lifted off my back. And I felt it clear as day – a knowing and trusting that I am always being divinely guided for my highest good.
Accepting your divorce may feel like an enormous challenge, it may very well be one of the hardest steps in divorce recovery. So taking it one day at a time, with patience and self-compassion is very important.
So how do you get to a place of acceptance after divorce?
First and foremost, take the time to grieve. Don’t run away from your emotions. Grieve the life you had and the future you thought you would have with your ex. Avoiding this will just intensify your pain and power up your resistance. Processing your grief will help you release yourself from the past so you can begin moving on.
Second, quit shoulding all over yourself! Stop torturing yourself with all the ways this marriage should have turned out as this will keep you trapped in the past. Accept the way things are instead of the way you think things should turned out.
Third, have faith and trust that you are being guided. Whether you believe in God, Buddha, The Universe, or whatever your higher power is, trust that it will not lead you to something worse but it’s preparing you for something better. Trust this whole heartedly. Think back to the times when there were things you really wanted and didn’t get where it actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. You are always being guided.
Endings are hard - mutual or not. But they are not the end of your book. Relationships take work, and sometimes they end anyway. Sometimes they were a chapter of your whole life. But just because your marriage is over, it doesn’t mean you’re inadequate, inferior, or that there’s something wrong with you. Sometimes your journey together is not meant to be forever, and you need to find a way to accept that and be at peace with it. Because when you make the choice to accept, a whole new world opens up to you. You will move through life with a whole new wisdom, outlook on life, and a chance to become the deliberate creator of your amazing new life. This is your chance to make it a masterpiece!