If you can’t seem to get over a nasty divorce (or even an amicable one!), don’t miss these tips for surviving the end of your marriage. Maybe you’ll find a way out here – or at least be inspired to try something different!
These tips are inspired by a reader’s comment and question…
“I’m having a very hard time detaching from my ex-spouse,” says C. on Detaching From Someone You Care About – Overcoming Lost Love. “He has cheated on me through 17 years of marriage. I developed non-hodgkins lymphomia last year and he started talking to women on the internet. I lost my hair and he called me names. I divorced him but since then we have tried to work it out but I caught him cheating on me again. Why can’t I get away from him? And why do I still love him? My heart and my spirit is broken and I can’t seem to find out why I feel this way. Please somebody help me.”
I suspect it’s not love that keeps her connected to her ex-husband. It’s habit, flawed thought patterns, and perhaps a bit of low self-esteem. She’s broken, and she may not believe she deserves to be happy with someone else.
If you’re struggling with the end of your marriage, read The Journey from Abandonment to Healing: Turn the End of a Relationship into the Beginning of a New Life.
And, here are a few tips for moving on when you think you can’t…
Can’t Get Over the Divorce? How to Survive Your Marriage Ending
I asked for divorce survival tips from my Twitter pals, and found that this tweet summarizes it best:
“In my experience, time is the best way to get over a broken heart,” says freelance writer and blogger Deirdre Reid. “But, finding new hobbies, activities, social circles and interests helps. Fill up the hole.”
Easier said than done, right? But once you get the ball rolling, you will start to enjoy your life again.
Remember that your marriage ended for a reason – you weren’t happy as a couple
The relationship was flawed. You and your ex-husband weren’t meant to be together – he cheated on you, lied to you, and broke your spirit! I know how hard this is toaccept, especially if you took wedding vows or truly believed that you’d never love anyone else.
But the truth is that you and your ex are not meant to be married. You have to stop wishing things were different, stop yearning for what you can’t have, and stop reaching for something that isn’t there. If you can’t get over your divorce, you need to start accepting that your ex-husband wasn’t “the one” you’re meant to be married to.
It’s easier said than done, but if you can see your divorce from an objective, long-term perspective, it’s easier to let go. You divorced for a reason: you and your ex-husband aren’t compatible. Your marriage wasn’t working, it wasn’t good for you, and you need to find the strength and discipline to let go.
Realize that your divorce isn’t a reflection of who you are
No matter how beautiful, successful, slim, or wealthy you are, you can’t control the way your marriage unfolded. People divorce each other for many reasons – many of which have nothing to do with who the person is, how much money she has, or how great their families get along.
Marriages break down because of the relationship’s problems – which aren’t necessarily a reflection of who you are! It’s not that you’re not good enough or that other people are better than you. You’re not flawed, unworthy, or unlovable. To survive the end of your marriage, you need to separate your self-identity from the breakup.
Stop having sex with your ex-husband
It’s almost impossible to get over your divorce and separate yourself emotionally when you’re physically intimate. Sex releases hormones (oxytocin) that promote love and bonding – which is the last thing you need if you want to move on! To survive your marriage ending, you need to give yourself time and space to heal and breathe.
One of the most important things to do if you can’t get over your divorce is to take a physical step away, though you want to move closer. Distance yourself, and do a little emotional and physical self-exploration. Learn who you are, what you like, and where you want your life to go. Figure out who you are apart from your work, relationships, marriage, kids, and family members. Give yourself (and your ex) room to breathe.
Find your “go to” person – the key to getting over your divorce
Ask your friend, sister, or someone you trust to be your “go to” person after your divorce. Take her out for coffee and make a list of things you love about your life, are grateful for, and hope for in the future. Make plans for your best life – a life that will make you happy and fulfilled. Set specific goals and steps.
When you feel yourself falling back into your old marriage patterns and you want to call or text your ex-husband – or you’re an emotional basket case – call your friend. But instead of rehashing your heartache and analyzing his life or words, ask your friend to read from the list of things you love about your life. Listening to all the good, hopeful things in your life will help you travel through the valley of shadows and sadness.
Immerse yourself in different types of love – it’s not all about marriage!
“Don’t dwell on what is lost, gone and over,” says family mediator and counselor Terry McGeehan, founder of Sage River Wellness. “Don’t make your divorce or the end of your marriage the center of your life. It’s one painful part of your life, but it doesn’t have to overrule everything else.”
Love comes in different packages; romantic love is just one type.
“There’s also friendship, sisterhood, love of children, love of parents, love of animals, love of God, love of music….love is everywhere,” says McGeehan. “Throw yourself into life, with the people who still love you, and do the things that bring you joy. Be grateful for the love that comes to you, whatever form it takes. As you begin to heal by allowing yourself to open to other forms of love, you will energize and radiate vitality and your own unique beauty…in that positive state of being, you will attract people and relationships that match your joy and radiance.”
For more divorce survival tips, read Can’t Move On From Ex Relationship? 5 Reasons We Hold On.
Do you feel like you can’t get over your divorce? I welcome your comments and questions on surviving the end of your marriage below…
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.