How long did you grieve your divorce?
When a marriage ends, feelings of grief are understandable. The grieving process is different for everyone, but it can be helpful to hear the experiences of other people. Keep reading to hear others’ experiences and learn tips for dealing with your grief.
Grieving Began Before the Divorce
I feel I grieved my divorce before the divorce. I had one foot out the door for a long time. I was unhappy and longing for a meaningful relationship with my then-husband. He was a great provider for our family but not a great husband to me for a period of time.
After the divorce, my grieving was more of the guilt for my kids going through this process. I ended up going to therapy and that was my savior. Being able to discuss the process before, during, and after the divorce was a Godsend to me.
After the divorce my grieving was more wondering, “How could I allow a relationship to get to that point?”
Overcoming the anger, bitterness, and spitefulness he had towards me after the divorce was probably one of the hardest things.
Overcoming the grief with the help of therapy and time alone was the best thing I ever did.
I found that true happiness must come from within ourselves only. When you start there, everything else falls into place.
Grief Becomes Integrated into our Experiences
I was married for twenty-seven years to my ex-husband, and as I acknowledged my long-repressed sexuality I realized that I could no longer remain married. It was a very painful decision for both my ex and me. I was the one to initiate the process. There is a fallacy in our society that the person who wants the divorce is somehow not sad that it is occurring. That is incorrect.
Even if we initiate the divorce, we are still allowed to grieve the loss of our marriage and what we thought our future was going to be. I also grieved the loss of my status as a married woman, my identity as the matriarch of a large family (I have four children), how my family once existed, and the relationship with my now ex-husband. Up to this point, it is the most painful loss of my life.
There is no time limit for grief. Four years after my divorce was finalized, I still grieve the loss of “what was” and that is perfectly okay. It does not negate the fact that I am happy in my new life. A loss is a loss, and we are allowed to mourn it and honor it forever if we want to. It does not make us disloyal to our new life or our choices. However, these grief feelings do not last as long as they used to and I know that they are temporary. They will pass. Remember a feeling is just a feeling.
We do not overcome grief. What we do is integrate the loss into our lives and experiences. In other words, the grief does not grow “smaller,” but in a sense, we grow “bigger.” Our divorce informs our experiences and teaches us wisdom, empathy, and compassion. Finding others who share similar experiences can be life-saving.
There is a quiet understanding between those of us who share similar losses no matter what they may be. I also sought professional support during this time. Having a person to talk with is vital in processing the loss and integrating the change. Make sure they have a thorough understanding of grief and how it works in our life.
One Day it Didn’t Hurt as Much
It took nearly twenty-three months for me to give in to the reality of divorce and stop crying, feeling guilty and responsible, feeling as though I’d failed, and feeling that it was my fault that my marriage had broken down. One day, it didn’t hurt as much as it had. I started to go out and hang out with my friends again and just be around people I love and who love me. This gradually made me realize that I still had a life to live, and it slowly helped me to come to terms with, and get over, my divorce.
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