How do I move on after divorce?

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Answered by: Deborah, An Expert in the Moving on to a New Life Category
Going through a divorce can be an incredibly painful experience that propels you into an entirely new phase of life. No matter how strong you are, the aftermath of divorce can be challenging, regardless of what circumstances led to the separation. While it may seem completely hopeless to ever find happiness again, it is possible to move on after divorce and find meaning in life once more.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember during this process is that time truly heals all wounds. The goal of moving on after divorce is not necessarily to move on to the next relationship; take this time to focus completely on yourself before focusing on someone else. This may be a difficult task, especially if children are involved. Remember the saying, “You can’t rescue a drowning man without first putting on your life vest?” The same is true with divorce – you cannot focus completely on your kids without first paying attention to your own needs.

An important component in moving on after a divorce is to practice forgiveness, both for yourself and for your former partner. Holding on to negative emotions of anger and bitterness will only make your recovery time longer. Imagine that there are invisible strings attached to you and your previous spouse; you both want to heal but the strings are binding you together. Now imagine that you’re intentionally cutting one of those strings. Forgiveness is not contingent on emotions; you may never feel like you’re truly releasing your spouse but with enough practice, you’ll find that one day you do feel an emotional release from them.

One common mistake that some people make after a divorce is to talk to close friends, relatives or even children about more details of the break-up than are necessary. It is completely healthy to seek others counsel when facing this dilemma; however, offering too much information may be more trouble than it’s worth later. If you’re goal is to get your friends on your side by divulging unnecessary information about your partner, the end result may be that you might find it harder to move on, even after much time has passed by. As hard as it may be, try to be fair and honest when talking to loved ones about your former partner. The Golden Rule may be the best method of approach when including others in the details of your marriage.

In addition to confiding in loved ones for support, find your inner strength through reflective journalism. Writing your feelings down in a personal diary can be one of the most emotionally-liberating aspects of the healing process. Discipline yourself to not only writing about the painful aspects of your situation but to write about positive events that occurred during the day. Contemplate what you want your future to look like and write it down.

Think of moving on as more of a journey, not a marathon. Take one step at a time, one day at a time and go as slow as you need to feel comfortable in the process. There is no rush to overcoming the hurts associated with divorce. Find something that makes you happy and treat yourself at least once a week, whether it’s taking a stroll in the park on a sunny day or shopping at your favorite retail store. With some patience and intentional practice it is probable that you'll find the inner strength necessary to move on after divorce.

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