Divorce is incredibly painful, no matter what caused it. Divorce hurts so much. It is a type of loss, even for the person who initiated the divorce. What makes divorce more confusing is that these painful emotions might also be accompanied by good emotions – feelings of relief, freedom, and hope. At the same time, you might be experiencing the stages of grief, because you have lost a lot of familiarity from your life. The good news is that your life is far from over. It’s time to start new! But your question is “how do I get over the pain of my divorce?” Today we will be discussing the following:
- HOW DO I GET OVER THE PAIN OF MY DIVORCE?
- HOW TO COPE WITH DIVORCE 4 STEPS
- GRIEVING FROM DIVORCE 5 STAGES
- GRIEF AVOIDANCE
- DREAMING – HOW TO START AGAIN AFTER DIVORCE
- WHAT IF YOU STILL HAVE CHILDREN IN THE PICTURE
- ACTING – HOW TO MOVE ON AFTER DIVORCE
- FORGIVING – HOW TO FORGIVE AFTER DIVORCE
HOW TO COPE WITH DIVORCE 4 STEPS
Healing from divorce can be accomplished in four steps:
Now, if the word “forgiving” makes you want to close this article and run, please don’t! It’s not what you think it is. We will discuss what forgiving actually means in the context of a divorce, and why it is part of this article, in a later section. For now, let’s focus on grieving, dreaming, and acting. But your question is “how do I get over the pain of my divorce?”
1. GRIEVING FROM DIVORCE 5 STAGES
What should I expect grief from divorce to look like? Psychologist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross theorized that there are five stages of grief, and that they do not always happen in a certain order:
- The first stage is the denial stage. In this stage, emotions are so overwhelming that we tune them out completely, feeling numb and lost instead.
- The second stage is perhaps move overwhelming: anger. Anger is an unpleasant feeling, but remember that it is necessary in order to heal.
- The third stage, bargaining, is when we desperately grasp for ways to reconstruct our lives in hopes of returning to the way things were. Even things that will not bring back a loved one – such as volunteering or getting sober, for example – seem to be the only comprehensible next steps during this stage.
- The fourth stage is depression, which is when the pain starts to truly sink in. Depression can last a long time.
- The final stage is acceptance of what has happened. The acceptance stage does not necessarily mean that everything is better and that you’re done grieving – you might continue to cycle through some of these stages. Each of them is part of grieving, and it’s after grieving that things begin to look up.
- But your question is “how do I get over the pain of my divorce?”
There are many reasons why a divorced spouse might not want to go through the stages of grief. You might be trying to avoid the grief because you are rationalizing your experience, and not acknowledging how hard it is. It’s not a death, after all – perhaps you are even the person who wanted the divorce. Remember that no matter what your circumstances are, you have lost something significant – a hope you once had for a certain future.
Denial might be the most prolonged stage of grief in your experience; it tends to be where many divorcees stay for a while. Maybe denial is what you need in order to survive the excruciating process of actually divorcing your spouse. Our suggestion, however, is that you allow yourself to feel the other discomforts when you’re ready. Anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance might seem frightening or unreachable, but remember that you are processing a significant life change and you are allowed to feel these things, no matter what those around you may think. But your question is “how do I get over the pain of my divorce?”
DREAMING – HOW TO START AGAIN AFTER DIVORCE
You’ve just lost a lot of the things that made your life comfortable and familiar. Your life is no longer shaped by routines and activities that you had while in your marriage. Perhaps you are seeing your kids less often and your finances have taken a huge hit. But all is not lost! Life is so big – there are so many lifestyles to choose from. Just because you enjoyed your previous lifestyle doesn’t mean that you won’t find joy in a new one. You might even like it more!
The possibilities for single people are, in fact, endless. You will find that you have a lot more time to pursue passions that have lain dormant for years. You can take up marital arts, pottery, blogging, or stock trading. You can start that business you’ve always dreamed of. You can even move to a brand new city and create some new routines – a morning run, an afternoon cup of tea, a book in the evenings. You can get involved with a church or rotary, and spend your weekends doing volunteer work. The decisions are entirely yours now! You will be surprised at how free you may feel. But your question is “how do I get over the pain of my divorce?”
What if you still have children in the picture?
If you are sharing custody with your spouse, this is not entirely a bad thing. Back when you had your children in the home all the time, it was not so easy to be intentional with your time together. Now you can connect with them in a brand new way. They will be excited to see you, rather than being accustomed to it like they were when they lived with you permanently.
Do you have full custody of your children? That’s amazing too! You can now invite them into the new things you’re creating in your life. Maybe you can all do martial arts together, for example, or read a book together before bed. You can devote even more time to them now than you did when you were married. You can be at their sports games and musical performances. Full custody will also allow you to process this divorce together as a family unit, and you will be able to help your children adjust with more intention.
ACTING – HOW TO MOVE ON AFTER DIVORCE
Now that you’ve spent some time dreaming about what your new life can look like, it’s time to take some action steps. Every step is progress, no matter how long this takes, so don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t go as quickly as you want it to. Rebuilding your life is exciting, but it’s also a process.
Begin by writing down everything you can think of on a “dream list.” These can be practical changes or seemingly ridiculous wishes! Even if it’s an aspiration you had as a child, write it down. Maybe you wanted to be an astronaut or an architect when you grew up. First of all, it’s never too late to start a new career. Robert Miller became a rockstar after he turned 60 years old! Second of all, even if you don’t choose to pivot in your career, you can incorporate any dream into your life in multiple ways. You can attend architecture workshops and take a few classes on the subject. Or if space is your next frontier, you can volunteer at a nearby planetarium.
Once you have your dream list, organize it from “small” to “big.” If something on your list seems like a big change, put it toward the bottom. If you wrote down an item such as “bake more often,” however, you can start doing that right away! Give yourself an estimated timeframe for each task. Can you start baking more often within one week? Then one week is your timeframe. On the other hand, it might take you a month to find some good volunteer opportunities. But your question is “how do I get over the pain of my divorce?”
FORGIVING – HOW TO FORGIVE AFTER DIVORCE
Now, this is the section that you probably want to skip. Again, we encourage you not to. You are hurting deeply from your ex-spouse’s actions, and forgiveness is certainly not some kind of “grin and bear it” action. It’s doubtlessly one of the hardest things we can do as human beings.
You are wonderfully and intricately complex, and you need to have your complexities understood and cared for. Your previous partner probably did not care for all of your complexities very well. That is a wound that will take some significant time to heal from. However, we have some incredible news for you. There is someone who is able to care for you perfectly. He knows all of your deepest complexities because he crafted them himself.
This is not a future spouse; there is no human who can care for you perfectly. No, person I am talking about is both human and divine. He is Jesus Christ, and, as you probably know, he loves you so much that he dramatically displayed that love by sacrificing his life in crucifixion. He did this so that he could be in perfect relationship with you. This gift of his life was the ultimate pursuit of your heart, and he raised himself up to life again so that you can engage with him in real time, right now. Click here to find out how.
We love because he (Jesus) first loved us,” and that is so true. Before Jesus offered his life as a sacrifice, we were separated from him by unholiness. He is a holy God, so he had to fix the gap in between himself and us. And he loves us so much that he was willing to do that, no matter the cost.1 John 4:19
So if it’s true love you’re looking for, I would definitely recommend talking to Jesus! It’s simple – just ask him to reveal himself to you, and he will. That’s what I did in 2016 when I was heartbroken and trying to start a new life. He showed me that he’s very different from who I thought he was – in a good way.
Forgiveness is one of the biggest ways that Jesus loves us, and we get to experience greater freedom when we forgive our worst enemies.
It’s how he designed the world when he created it: Forgiveness leads to greater freedom. And when you think about that, it makes sense – unforgiveness doesn’t actually harm the other person at all. You might have heard the saying: It’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die! Forgiveness is simply removing the other person’s power over your happiness. It’s something that happens between you and God. It’s not necessarily easy, though, because when you forgive, you allow God to bring justice to that person’s wrongdoing instead of doing it yourself. Forgiveness requires trust in God, but it is some of the greatest freedom that I have ever personally experienced.
You might not be ready to forgive quite yet, but when you are, check out these articles for more practical steps toward forgiveness. And if you want to know more about Jesus’ love for you, here’s an article for that. May Gd bless you and keep you.