The grief experience is not linear, and there is no right way to go through it to mourn the loss of a marriage. It is difficult to know how long it will last. It is said that it usually takes one year to recover from a loss, but it takes longer to completely regain your individuality. Through my work, I have seen that the time of recovery depends upon various factors.
One major factor is getting help (therapy) and moving from anger and resentment towards acceptance. Brian Tracy said that the greatest gift you can give to yourself and others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. Acceptance usually refers to cases where a person experiences a situation or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change, protest, or exit it. This does not mean that you give up or completely agree with it, but you are not ‘fighting’ it!
In order to recover a divorce, one must learn to let go of the anger, and enter the stage of acceptance and forgiveness. It is almost a required condition in order to happily and peacefully move forward with life. Moving forward does not necessarily mean the accomplishment of external things like a new relationship; it refers to living life free of negative thoughts and emotions associated with the divorce.
Divorce requires tremendous change. Change involves letting go, a required element of the healing process. Shifting one’s thoughts to allow ‘letting go’ assists the disappearance of sadness.
People report that one of the worse experiences of divorce is coming home to an empty place. Loneliness can intensify the sadness. The companionship of having the physical presence of a partner overshadowed much of the sad feelings that perhaps were there earlier (as the marriage had likely been “broken” long before the time of the divorce).
Experiencing and learning to be alone, letting go, forming new friendships, or finding a new life all call you to form your new identity, an important part of the healing process. If you find yourself unable to move through these stages because the sadness is not lifting, you might suffer a complicated grieving process; in this case please seek the help of a therapist!
It is never an easy time, but challenges are always a call for growth, and if we ‘pick up the glove,’ the rewards of our evolvement as a result of the experience are greater than what our mind can currently perceive… Wishing you much success on your journey!
Dr. Lami is an internationally renowned psychologist with over 18 years of experience helping her clients effectively deal with challenges associated with the process of divorce. Her services include Psychotherapy, Coaching, Evaluation (including Affluenza), Expert witness, Speaking and Consulting. She regularly writes on relationships and has been featured in the media. Visit the firm’s website at drlami.com or universalinsights.net.