A Crash Course in Thriving After Divorce – Part I

Today, we begin the next part of our Divorce Crash Course. This time we’re focusing on Thriving after Divorce.

I believe that thriving is the next, natural stage, after we have done the necessary work of processing grief following this major life event. But, to reach this elevated level of thriving takes real effort on our part. It does not simply materialize because we have undergone a tough, arduous divorce. If we are willing to grow and evolve, as time moves us further away from the divorce decree, then healing and thriving are possible.

As we know, divorce can put us in a vulnerable, unhealthy state and cause negative effects on our wellbeing. When we’re in this stage, we feel the need to protect, defend, and discuss what we are experiencing. Often, we find ourselves explaining our story and blaming our partner. I am not criticizing this part of the process, at all. In fact, I admit that, as I was going through my own divorce, I was deeply entrenched in this stage for some time. It is normal and necessary to want to explain our story, finding a way to make sense of what is happening by processing the upsetting, destabilizing events.

However, as time goes on, and the process of healing unfolds, hopefully our perspective will begin to shift. This may bring a deeper, broader view of our marriage and the difficulties and defects brought in by both parties. Sometimes, the angry, hostile feelings we’ve nurtured will begin to soften a bit, providing a new perspective of our partner and the struggles they may have experienced during the marriage. There’s the possibility that we could begin to look at our time together with less blame and more understanding. Time and distance offer awareness that could not have been fathomed at the beginning of the process. We may even be able to see our relationship with less attachment to the events that unfolded for us. The chance to look through a different lens of understanding, observing the part we played and how we may have failed through the years, brings a new level of perception, clarity, and understanding. (I apologize if this is triggering for anyone.)

As time rolls on, a new level of calmness and serenity may take over, allowing us to observe the relationship with an entirely altered view. As we move beyond this painful experience, we may come to a profound forgiveness and acceptance of ourselves for our shortcomings and failings. After all, we were doing the best we could at the time. As we sink into the comfort and healing of this forgiveness, an idea might take hold. If we need forgiveness to heal and thrive, then wouldn’t it be even more beneficial to us to offer this same level of forgiveness to our partner?

This may be too much to hear at this time. But the truth is: by offering forgiveness to your partner, you are in fact giving yourself a priceless gift. You are allowing yourself the freedom to move on with your life, unattached and unencumbered by the story of loss and grief. You are free to thrive and create a brand-new life, no longer seeking an explanation or apology from someone who might never have offered it anyway.

Weekly Dose Divorce Support Group

Denise Palmer


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