If you’ve ever gone through a separation, then you know how painful divorce can be. I’ve heard counsellors say that it takes 1 year of recovery for every 5 years you lived together with a partner. It might sound like a long recovery, but by fully understanding the process that needs to take place, you come to realize that this time is important.
When you are going through a divorce, a number of illusions blindfold. These illusions grab hold on the recovery process and minimize the chances of healing more rapidly. In order to recover properly, you must recognize these illusions and overcome them so that you can survive the grieving process.
Here are some of the more common illusions below:
- It’s my fault: You think that the divorce was all your fault, and you feel guilty and responsible. But as they say, it takes two to tango. 50% of marriages end in divorce, so you’re not alone in the recovery process – many people have been through the same situation you are and have come out fine.
- It’s not a big deal: If you live in denial, then you’re never going to overcome the emotional pain inside of you. While you can recover from divorce, you need to face the pain to do so. Your whole life changes: your finances, your family structure, your friendships, and your emotional health.
- There are no hard feelings: You and your spouse might decide to try not to hold a grudge, but that will never actually be the case. It’s unrealistic to believe that you’re not going to feel anger, guilt, sadness, depression, or have other reactions after breaking up with the one you loved.
- I’ll never love again: When your spouse stops loving you, you’ll probably feel like you’ll never be loved again, but that’s not the case. Just because one relationship ended badly doesn’t mean you won’t find another that will work well.
- I won’t be able to trust again: When you have a relationship that ends because of adultery, you’ll feel betrayed and abandoned. These feelings make you much more careful in future relationships. While you need to be careful, you’ll also discover a big relief when you find somebody that you can trust – and you will find people like that.
- I can’t be happy alone: If you’re always living in a state of depression, then you’re not ready for another relationship. By finding happiness in yourself and putting value on your life, you’ll create a positive energy that will be much more attractive to the opposite sex. You can’t enter into a relationship expecting the other person to fulfill you completely – it’s a two-way street.
- I must be going crazy: When you’re working through a separation, you go through emotions that you’re not used to experiencing. Don’t brush them aside and think that they’re meaningless. You are going through a very difficult time and need to deal with your emotions.
As you can see, all of these illusions are created by choice. People tend to either downplay the divorce or make it much more painful than it has to be. While recovering from a divorce is possible, you need to understand it instead of tricking yourself into preparing for something else. Illusions only hold you back from reaching your full potential.
So what is divorce? Divorce is a separation between two people who were married. It is not a separation between yourself and happiness, it is not a separation between you and everybody who loves you, and it is not a permanent separation from having a romantic relationship.
Divorce does, however, come with a lot of painful feelings and the losses play a role in your state of mind. When you lose your partner, you need to separate yourself from the life you once had and find another lifestyle that makes you happy. You lose the routine of having somebody cook for you or mow the lawn. You feel empty and alone, but you also need to know that this is a temporary stage in the recovery process.
Recovering from divorce takes you through four major phases: denial, depression, withdrawal, and recovery. As you go through these stages, take comfort in knowing that many people have gone through separation before you. In fact, many people are probably going through it right now.
When you’re going through the stages and feel depressed and alone, you may never think that you’ll escape your emotions, but things will get better.
Melvin Belli and Mel Krantzler, in their book “Divorcing,” say that the mourning stages can last for around two years, but it is also possible for the process to be shorter or longer. If you and your spouse were separated or sleeping in separate rooms for a while before the divorce, then it’s quite possible that your recovery process has already began. However, if you’re still living in denial and refusing to face facts, then it is likely that your recovery process will take longer.
There are no certainties around how you will handle divorce. Every relationship is different and each has its own added implications or uncertainties. However, even though your divorce is yours alone and different from others, you will still go through the same emotions as other people have experienced.
By realizing that many people have not only survived a divorce but thrived after it, then you can have confidence in your ability to live happily as well. By finding things that make you happy and slowly working through the pain, you will not only be able to recover from your divorce but also discover a new life that is filled with happiness.