Finally Accepting Divorce

By: Deanna Conklin-Danao, Psy.D.
Last Update: December 19, 2017

Couples considering divorce often have different positions regarding the end of their marriage. One person wants to divorce, while the other wants to save the marriage. If you are the person that wants to save the marriage, there may come a time when you need to accept divorce, and understand that it is inevitable. Here are some tips to help you cope.

Give Yourself Time to Grieve

A divorce is a major loss. It’s a loss of a partner and a future you had planned. It’s normal and healthy to grieve that loss. Acknowledging your feelings is the first step to healing. The grieving process is not a one-time event, as with all losses, it will hit you like waves in the ocean. Some days the waves will be huge and knock you over, but they will recede. Some days the waves will be barely noticeable. Be gentle with yourself when you are in this place, acknowledge the reality of your situation even as you are grieving.

Get Professional Support

Divorce is complicated emotionally, legally, and financially. You should make sure you have the support you need when accepting divorce. Lawyers, financial professionals, and divorce coaches (mental health professionals with a specialty in divorce) can help you get the information you need to make good decisions about the future. While it may be appealing to think about burying your head in the sand to avoid the divorce, this type of approach will erode your control. In order to ensure the best outcomes for you and your family, you need to actively participate in the decisions being made about your children and finances. Getting solid professional support is the first step.

Get Personal Support

Find resources to help you get through this difficult time. Family, friends and if needed, a therapist are invaluable to provide you with the strength you need. Choose your support system carefully and assess if they will be a positive influence on you. It is easy to find an angry neighbor or relative who had a terrible divorce and wants to spend a lot of time commiserating with you, but you will feel better if you surround yourself with people who want to help you move through the divorce in a healthy way and create a positive future for yourself.

Have Empathy For Yourself

It will be helpful to understand how you contributed to the breakdown of your marriage so that you can do things differently in future relationships. However, it will not be helpful to beat yourself up over past mistakes. Have empathy for yourself and how you got to this place. Understanding the past helps you move forward, but dwelling in it keeps you stuck. You will move forward only after you move beyond regret and blame.

Imagine a Bright Future

Your life will be different, but different doesn’t inherently mean better or worse, it just means different. You have an opportunity to create the life you want. Spend some thinking what you want for yourself – personally, relationally and professionally. Begin to set some goals.

It is painful when you realize your marriage is over especially when you were hoping to salvage it. Accepting divorce is the first step to coping more productively and developing the life you want for yourself moving forward.

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