Navigating the Challenges of Divorce

[ 0 ] May 3, 2010 |

If you are in the process of going through a divorce or are recently divorced, you are experiencing a time in your life filled with transition and uncertainty. Although this can be a stressful and daunting time, remember, you are not alone – thousands of couples file for divorce on a daily basis. Because of this there are scores of information and support out there covering every aspect of the emotional, logistical, and legal facets of divorce and it’s aftermath.

Healing from Divorce
Many men and women heal quickly from the awful wounds that divorce inflicts. Others spend a lifetime reliving the pain, and bring unhealed hearts to new relationships. Recovering from your divorce is a process that cannot be rushed. It will take significant time to go through all the emotions you may be feeling – sadness, failure, guilt, anger, elation, freedom, and fear. Your progress can be slowed or stopped if you are not allowing yourself to feel these feelings, process and validate them, and then build the right foundation for recovery.

Here are some coping strategies to help you during this trying time:

  1. • Healing takes time – respect your process. I often hear from my clients ‘Months have passed – why aren’t I feeling better already?’ Remember, the healing process takes time and cannot be rushed. Get comfortable, at least temporarily, with your discomfort.
  2. Take responsibility and educate yourself about why your marriage ended. Moving on will be difficult if you do not create and work through your own narrative, and this is best done with a trained therapist. It’s important to understand in practical and psychological terms why your relationship ended, and what both of your roles were in the breakdown. This will expedite the healing process and help you to be healthier in a new relationship.
  3. Find comforting activities for the moments when you are feeling sad. Tell yourself that there will be a time in the future when you are feeling better. But until then, find some comforting activities. Have you considered a yoga class, a hot bath, a massage, getting into bed with a book or movie, eating some comfort food? Accept your sadness and be very kind to yourself.
  4. Build a support team. Research shows that people heal from trauma faster and better when they have support from family and friends. Ask for help. Don’t try to go through separation or divorce alone.
  5. Get daily encouragement and inspiration. Spend some time daily trying to think positively. This inspiration can come from friends, books, and religion, thinking about someone else who faced adversity and beat it.
  6. Get and stay physically healthy. It’s critical at this stressful time in your life that you are taking care of your body. Exercise is crucial. Join a gym, play sports, take yoga classes. Eat healthy foods and watch your diet. Splurge for a massage or acupuncture treatment. Learn about meditation and practice deep breathing daily.
  7. There is life after this marriage. As hard as it is to believe right now there will be a time in your life when this pain is behind you. Try to stay focused and positive, respect your process, take care of yourself, and this time will come sooner then you may think.

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Category: Divorce, Relationships

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About Rachel Sussman, LCSW: RACHEL A. SUSSMAN, LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist and is the founder of Sussman Counseling, a psychotherapy practice specializing in treating couples and individuals with relationship dilemmas. Rachel is the author of the forthcoming book [...]
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