Life after divorce is filled with overwhelming emotions. Many women feel a combination of anger, fear, resentment and confusion. They may even feel shame or guilt, even when they don’t deserve to.
When I went through my divorce, I felt many of these same emotions. Of course, I didn’t feel them all at once.
Perhaps that was what I found most frustrating about the entire process of recovering from my separation. Just when I felt like I was coming to terms with my anger, I started to worry about my financial future. Then, when I went back to work, I obsessed about whether there was anything that I could have done differently.
If you are going through a divorce or have recently separated from your partner, try to stay strong. The emotions that you are feeling are completely normal. Eventually, they will pass.
In the meantime, I have some advice, based on my recent interview with Martha Bodyfelt, to share. Enjoy the show!
Here are 5 of the most common emotions that women who are going through a divorce feel, along with some suggestions on how to handle each.
Many women who are going through a divorce experience stress on multiple levels. In my case, I used to go to sleep worried and wake up terrified. It was a truly horrible experience.
The first thing to remember is that stress is normal. Once you learn to recognize your stress triggers, you can take the edge off of your negative emotions.
During our interview Martha gives some specific suggestions for dealing with stress.
Her first suggestion is to play the “what’s the worst that could happen” game. For most of us, our “worst case scenario” is not that bad.
Are you stressed about your financial situation? Imagine having to live with relatives for a couple of months while you got back on your feet. Would it be the end of the world?
Are you stressed about having to face your friends? The chances are they will be more understanding than you think. If not, what’s the worst that could happen? If they did push you away, which is unlikely, you would eventually make new friends.
According to Martha, meditation is also a great way to deal with stress. There are so many different practices, so, you should be able to find one that works for you.
I would add that gentle yoga has made a significant difference in my life. I didn’t start to do yoga until a couple of years ago, but, I wish that I had known about it during my divorce. It is a great stress reliever and can also help you to connect with and love your body.
When we are in love, it feels like we are a part of something greater than ourselves. Even when the love in a relationship fades, we are connected to our partner in an infinite number of ways. We rely on their presence, even if we can no longer rely on them.
In many ways, the grief that comes with a divorce is as profound as the grief that comes from a death in the family. The stages of recovery are also similar.
Don’t deny these feelings or push them to the side. They are important, but, you can also overcome them.
Why is it that we feel lonely after a divorce, even when we know that the man we married is no longer right for us?
In reality, loneliness is a complex emotion. Even if we have numerous friends and a supportive family, going through a divorce leaves a significant gap in our lives.
Martha says that support groups really can help with it comes to life after divorce. Social media is also a good place to stay connected with your friends. Just be careful to avoid saying too many negative things about your ex to your mutual acquaintances. I’ve seen many women do this and it almost always ends in tears.
Guilt is one of the strangest emotions that women feel after a divorce. After all, in the majority of cases, it wasn’t something that we did that caused our relationship to fail. Even if there was a single event that triggered the separation, the relationship was probably struggling way before it came to a point.
The truth is that not everything bad that happens in life has a reason. Or, more accurately, everything that happens in life occurs because of a combination of reasons. Most of these are out of our control, so, blaming ourselves is counterproductive.
Instead of blaming yourself, focus on the things that you can control. Join a gym, not because you’re trying to prove anything, but, because you value your body. Follow your passions for their own sake. Cherish your friends and love your family. Your guilt will only hold you back.
The flip side of guilt is resentment. Many women don’t blame themselves – they blame their ex-husband. Once again, even if it feels like one single event, such as an affair, triggered your separation, this is almost certainly not the case.
Your relationship, just like everyone else’s, was complicated. A certain amount of aggressive energy is helpful after a divorce; it can help you to find the energy to get in shape, travel, meet new people and, ultimately, thrive.
But, don’t allow this energy to turn into bitterness. You are a wonderful woman and you deserve every happiness in the world. You won’t find peace while you are angry.
What do you think are the keys to getting the most from life after divorce? Have you gone through a divorce? What emotions did you feel and how did you deal with them? Please join the conversation.