7 Life-Changing Lessons We Learn Only after Divorce
- I am not my divorce
- Forgiveness is about me, not you
- Criticism hurts a co-parenting relationship
- Learn from your experiences
- Banish guilt and fear
No one gets married thinking they will get divorced. But it happens, and that's okay. And it's never fun. In fact, even if you've come to grips with divorce as the best option, it's still heartbreaking. But here's the thing: Most people come out of it so much happier.
Sounds hard to believe, right? But after 16 years of working with divorcing couples, I know this to be true. Divorce gives us the opportunity to truly live with intention and create the life that we want. We followed up with the very first people to use our platform back in 2018 and asked them an important question:
" What life lessons or skills did you learn during or after the divorce process that have given you more perspective or joy?"
Here's what we learned.
I am not my divorce
"I remember when all I could do was think (obsess) about my divorce. Would the kids be okay? Would I have enough money? And then one day, I just accepted that I was not my divorce. My relationship worked for a really long time. Until it didn't. And that's ok. And at some point, I felt empowered."
Forgiveness is about me, not you
"There came a moment when I least expected it that I realized I spent more time resenting and being angry with her than focusing on myself. When I began spending energy on what I wanted and deserved, I stopped caring so much about her "earning" my forgiveness."
Pain invited me to revisit priorities
'No one can fully escape grief. I learned the hard way. It stirred up pain beyond the loss of my partner and best friend. It was like I was reliving every trauma I had ever experienced in my life. But at some point, I stopped concentrating on what I lost and instead focused on what was left. The grief guided me toward a life with more purpose and intention."
Criticism doesn't help a co-parenting relationship
"Our co parenting relationship started off rocky. One thing I hated about our marriage was that I felt like he would do literally zero real parenting if I didn't push him. I became a nag, and I hated being that way but felt like I didn't have a choice. I still wanted him to be different, even after we broke up. We stayed stuck in our old pattern. I'd criticize; he'd go on the defensive. I knew nothing would change unless I did something. I began focusing on the positive stuff the kids saw in him. Meeting him "as he is" lent itself to way more cooperation instead of domination. I found that the more I treated him as capable of becoming his higher self, he felt seen, which was the antidote (but not the full-on cure) to the ongoing conflict."
Related: How to Co-parent on the Same Team
Start from experience, not from scratch
"There was a moment, or maybe a series of moments, where I realized that the only way I could become the real me was by changing my life. I changed the patterns, rituals, and habits that were holding me back or no longer serving me at the moment. I love who I have become: the upgraded version of myself."
"After we separated, I had so much more time to be alone with my thoughts. I realized I was so negative toward myself! It was really hard to redirect my thoughts. The more I practiced self-love, the more I was able to rewrite that internal script. I found peace in being human and stopped worrying so much about what other people thought of me and my decisions."
Fear is a mind-killer
"Ugh. I spent so many nights worrying about every possible thing. Anything outside of my control scares the sh*t out of me – which is pretty much everything when going through a divorce. It's still a constant battle, but I've gotten so much better at living with uncertainty."
What's after divorce?
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