Marriage never comes with an exit strategy. Even if you and your partner discussed the possibility long before you wed, divorce often feels surreal. The decision to separate, and the aftermath of going your own ways, casts a wide net of emotions. You may go through stages of grief that feel out of order and hard to pin down. Despite what you may feel like right now, it’s important to remember one thing: divorce means the end of your marriage, but not the end of your life. Moving forward happens in slow steps and big waves. There is no perfect timeline, but there are some important stepping stones that can help you heal.
Tackle Technicalities First
Things like separating your bank accounts and securing your own housing should come first. You may be tempted to let things happen as time demands, but this can deepen feelings of loss and rob you of control. By taking on the everyday responsibilities, you’ll have to confront eventually, you leave greater room in the future for emotional healing. Some tasks will take a bit longer than others, so it’s best to start on them ASAP.
Even 20 minutes each day can make a huge difference in the outcome. You may need to get your own car insurance policy, remove your ex-spouse from your coverage or revisit your life insurance policy. If you realize that you no longer need the death benefit to cover them, you can look into getting a life insurance payout. There is an online guide that covers everything you need to know about how the process works and if you qualify.
Accept the Loss
You may rationalize the separation through anger, blame and hurt. These emotions may even be rooted in real experience, but they can only get you so far. Negative emotions are their own form of attachment. Sometimes, we hold onto them to avoid letting go of someone. It’s important to let yourself feel everything without judgment. Then, you have to move forward. This means accepting any past actions you or your ex did. It means extending forgiveness to yourself and making peace with any wrongdoings that will never be made right. Accepting loss allows you to find closure and, eventually, peace with the situation.
Own Your Own Faults
As you move through acceptance and letting go of attachments, you can also reflect on how the experience shaped you. When you have fully come to terms with the end of the union, ask yourself what you will do differently in future relationships. Many people carry insecurity, fear and even resentment into new experiences because they’ve yet to learn from the past. Rather than focus on blame or guilting yourself, think of what opportunities this marriage gave you to grow.
See a Therapist
Some couples going through a divorce work with a marriage counselor together. This can help you both heal and separate on mutual terms. It may not be an option for every couple, but you can still see a counselor on your own, too. Part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is focusing on your mental and emotional health, during times of both trial and peace. Therapy is a good place to address anything you’re going through in the present. It’s not all about getting over the past or tapping into your unconscious. While those can be valuable experiences, therapy is really a good place to get comfort and understanding where you need it most: the present moment.