Rebuilding Your Life After Divorce

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Woman standing next to open car door facing view of mountains and holding a cameraI have been right where you’re standing today, looking at twenty-five years of marriage that ended suddenly.

I was a corporate executive, I had my children, I was active in the community, and I had believed that I had a marriage that would go the distance.

I was devastated and referred to myself as a puddle on the floor.

The Rollercoaster of Divorce Emotions

What stands out during the first year or two of ending a marriage is the rollercoaster of feelings: the awareness, the disbelief, the hoping and the praying. For a while, I was just really off balance.

Being divorced felt like a stigma, and saying it out loud was devastating. I did not want to be in that club any more than you do. I felt like I was wearing a different skin, that I had to be someone else for a while. I remember how hard it was to accept help and how overwhelming it seemed to manage the house on my own. I even had to learn to pay bills, as that was not my job in the marriage.

In those years I was just surviving, not thriving.

Coming Out of the Cloud of Grief

I had to mourn the loss of the life I thought I had. Gradually, I realized I could not grieve forever.

Of course, I worried about my children, who were then ages 15, 13 and 10. The end of my marriage was pretty sudden for all of us. The kids went through ups and downs, and it’s hard watching your children be sad and confused. Their trajectory surely changed from where it might have been, but they all landed in safe and successful places. They found their grit and their resiliency, and today they have very good relationships with both Mom and Dad.

When I came out of the process, I reinvented myself. I found a new spirituality apart from my religion. I realize now how important my support system of friends and family was and continues to be.

Trusting in Curiosity Instead of Certainty Post-Divorce

In the years of transformation following my divorce, I found out that curiosity serves me better than certainty. I became more comfortable with not knowing what would happen from day-to-day. I appreciate the potential that comes with curiosity. I learned how to embrace change and the belief that good things and bad things happen, but the struggle is optional.

It’s important to mention that my former husband and I have been very good friends for years. We joyously share our children, grandchildren, holidays, and celebrations together. That’s the vision I hold for my clients and their children.

This personal journey led me to become a divorce mediator. When I realized that divorce can be viewed through a compassionate, peace-making lens, I knew I had to make this my life’s work and purpose.

What Modern Divorce Means Now

Now, decades later, I understand that divorce is a badge of courage, not failure as so many people feel initially. Hard decisions such as divorce can be the right ones for you and your family. I feel that my own divorce was a sort of divine intervention, that I was guided in some universal way to find my new life, a new husband, a new spirituality, to have dogs in my life, and to flourish in my career as a mediator.

It comes back to the three-legged stool concept I use in my work. Honesty, courage, and resiliency are the important lessons you and your children take away from the process of divorce. If you can be honest with yourself and your children, and have the courage to face the monumental challenges of going through a divorce, you will find resiliency on the other side. I know I did, and I have helped thousands of people find their way through this process as well.

I hope that you will find your way to put the dark days behind you and build a better, not bitter life. Stop waiting for Friday, for summer, for someone to fall in love with you, for life. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you are in now.


For more divorce topics covered by BJ Mann: BJ Mann Site Content Index

Photo credit: Holly Mandarich on Unsplash

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