Feeling Bitter After a Divorce? Here Are 3 Positive Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Situation
Getting your life back after divorce can be hard, especially when you’re over 60. There are financial issues, retirement and logistics issues that leave us feeling exhausted, wondering if we’ll ever move on and feel happy.
Among these stressors, one of the most challenging obstacles to overcome when recovering from divorce is one that can grab hold of even the most patient of people – bitterness.
Being Bitter About What Happened with the Divorce
Bitterness is nasty. What makes it so ugly is that it has a tendency to turn you, an otherwise kind and reasonable person, into someone who is so angry at their own life situation that it is impossible to recover. That is exactly what you don’t need to do as you move on with the next chapter in your life.
Bitterness after divorce makes it hard for people to be around you. It makes it hard for you to focus on all the good stuff you have going on in your life. And it keeps you from moving on.
This feeling is a combination of anger, disappointment and resentment at being treated unfairly. But did you notice that the verb treated is in the past tense? It deals with things that have already happened; that you cannot change and cannot control.
The more you continue to look in the past, the harder it becomes to plan your future. And your happiness. And the rest of your life.
Look Forward and Start Planning Your New Life!
Start channelling those feelings and that energy into planning your new life. Feeling resentful because of being treated unfairly during your marriage sucks. It’s completely not fair and not right that your ex did not treat you with the love and respect that you deserved.
But remember, the longer you allow yourself to feel angry because of the harm this person did to you during your marriage, the longer and easier it is for them to have control over you. After 60, we become women of finite emotional energy. Don’t waste it on the spouse you are no longer with.
There is most likely a reason that you are no longer with that person, and being divorced after 50 has given you the chance to start over and do things on your own terms. So why let your ex have any more control over you? This is your chance to define who you are, what it is that you want, and where it is that you want to be. That sure has nothing to do with your ex being able to dictate how you feel, which is exactly what happens when you’re resentful.
You can let it go. You deserve to let it go.
Exercise 1: How to let the bitterness go
Write down – and be specific – about the things that are making you bitter. But don’t spend too much time reflecting on that type of stuff.
One, because the factors leading up to you feeling that way are in your past, which you can’t change. Two, because the only way you can overcome those feeling is to reframe how you think of it and focus on the future instead. Need some examples? Take a look below!
“I feel bitter because I got screwed over with money in the settlement.”
“I feel bitter because I see my ex moved on with their new relationship, and I’m still here with nothing.”
Exercise 2: Reframe the negativity
The problem with bitterness is that it forces us to look at something in the negative light, when it is a blessing in disguise.
“I’m bitter because my ex has moved on and I’m still here. Okay, so I’m on my own, but that also means that I don’t have to put up with all my ex’s craziness.”
“Oh, he/she has a new partner? Well, let the new person deal with my ex – I am better off without them. Now I am free and my life is my own.”
“My ex actually did me a favor. I am better off without my ex, and if anything, I can actually feel happy and relieved that such toxicity is no longer in my life, dragging me down.”
Exercise 3: Know that you do not have to fight the battle alone
It’s normal to have some residual hard feelings after a split. However, if you find yourself not being able to shake it, remember that you have options for reaching out for a little assistance.
Depending on your needs, you may find that working with a divorce coach or a therapist can help you pinpoint what is holding you back and can help you move on.
You should not have to be a prisoner to feeling bitter, and there is no reason why you should let bitterness control your life. The amazing future that comes after letting go is waiting for you.
Do you know anyone who has gone through a divorce after 50? What did they learn from the experience? Please share your valuable insights in the comments below.
Martha Bodyfelt is a divorce coach, whose website “Surviving Your Split” helps readers navigate their divorce with less stress and drama, so they can move on with their lives. For your Free Divorce Warrior Survival Kit, stop by Surviving Your Split or drop Martha a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit her on Facebook.