Marriage is forever, except when it’s not. And it’s high time we stopped seeing divorce as failure and started embracing the new chapter we move into when marriage comes to an end.
The first step is to take responsibility for what happened, and that doesn’t mean blaming yourself. But it does mean stepping up to recognise your part in the breakdown of the marriage.
You need to be prepared to drop the blame game, acknowledge everyone’s feelings about the divorce – particularly any children that are involved, and accept that change is on the horizon.
Kindness always matters and this is especially key when people are going through the break-up of a long-term relationship. Treat yourself and your ex-partner with the same kindness you’d show to a friend or sibling if they were going through the same thing and make sure you confide in people close to you for support.
In his book DIVORCE: The Modern Man’s Guide, author Fidel Beauhill says “I cannot stress enough that it’s in your best interest to evoke peace, love and teamwork. The only winner in a bitter divorce is the solicitor.”
Divorce can be difficult for everyone involved, so making things more difficult because you feel hurt, just hurts everyone. It causes you more pain too and lead to a more costly divorce process.
If your ex has cheated on you or mistreated you somehow, it’s common to fall into a victim mentality and feel sorry for yourself. But that won’t help you to overcome this period of your life and re-build something meaningful afterwards.
Taking responsibility and acting kindly towards others, and yourself, will help you to live in a more empowered state of mind as you navigate your way through and out the other side of divorce.
You can even take this opportunity to learn from any mistakes you’ve made and consider what you would do differently next time.
Becoming more self-aware of your own feelings, behaviours and actions could help you in future, not just in relationships, but in all areas of life, from work to parenting, from finances to decision making.
Beauhill also writes that “One of the positive outcomes of divorce is that it gives you an opportunity to re-evaluate your life and start to work out what truly matters to you. Instead of being caught up in the daily life you’ve known and continuing with those habits, you can think about making changes to better suit you now. Your health, your parenting, and also what you want from a romantic relationship, can all be evaluated and improved upon.”
The end of something often signals a new beginning for something else and this is true as you move forward after divorce.
You might want to take it slow for a while and do some deep work to heal and find some inner peace so you feel calm and centred before moving on.
Small shifts in your thinking and actions will add up to significant change over time so don’t feel like you need to drastically change everything immediately.
That said, this new chapter of your life does bring endless opportunities. Like a choose your own adventure book – you get to decide what you do next, and what after that, and after that.
You can try new things and make as many pivots as you need. When things don’t work out, it’s not failure, it’s life, and there’s always a lesson for us to take forward.
If you’re experiencing feelings of anger, resentment, shame, or fear following the end of your relationship, or feel like you’re struggling to cope, I can work with you through psychotherapeutic counselling to reach some peace and acceptance.
In fact, the word Irinni is taken from the Greek word meaning peace, and I chose that name for my counselling practice when I was training as many clients described it as a peaceful experience.
Counselling is proven to be an effective talking therapy, and by discussing your feelings and thoughts, we can explore, together, how you can move forward in a way that serves you.
It may be difficult to talk at first, but once you share your feelings, healing from the inside can begin and you can start to shape your live after divorce.
I offer a safe space, and remote sessions for those who need them, and you can book a counselling session by contacting me here.