There are a number of important stages and steps to go through in the process of divorce recovery. It is important to be proactive and effortful in this process…many of those who drift through hoping that time alone will be their healer may end up in the percentage of divorcees who do not really grow or enhance their lives with this painful experience. To feel the failure of your marriage and determine that you will learn and benefit from this experience means that you will be less likely to repeat it down the road. It is estimated that about 30% of partners who dissolve a family with children present end up in a category that researchers would call Desperately Single. 30% go onto having really benefitted from their divorces and about 40% make what would be called an adequate adjustment to this crisis.
What is likely to help you go into the group that would be described as enhancing your personal development and maturity from this experience? Not surprisingly, the ability to put away hostility and move from the conflict and adversarial positions of the initial divorce period into a more comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of the divorce and the part you played in it are essential. Although the anger and blame you feel are initially useful in helping you to sever the bonds you feel with your former spouse, eventually the dynamic needs to change to a more neutral and businesslike climate between ex-spouses. This is the first indication that the partner is no longer as important to you as he/she once was. The opposite of love is neutrality not hatred. Hatred and anger reflect a continuing concern with what your partner is doing or not doing and it means your ex is still the focus of your attention. Moving beyond your former partner means putting your own life first and making the best of yourself and your life with minimal interest in your ex-partner’s life. The concept is not complex but the execution of this ideal requires a lot of self-discipline and perhaps developing yourself in areas that you never anticipated or desired to develop. For women this can mean a re-focus into the world of earnings and work and for men this can mean developing relationship and emotive skills that have previously been delegated to a woman.
If you are a couple who is divorcing and you have children together the change from adversaries to co-parents is both difficult and worthwhile. I would strongly suggest that you look at the 2 best longterm research projects done in this area and learn from the wealth of data gathered over 40 years of studies. The references for these 2 are as follows: Mavis Hetherington For Better or for Worse and Constance Ahrons We’re Still Family.
If you are having difficulty moving past the feelings and experiences related to your divorce, consider psychotherapy. Many people wear out their support systems with the length of time that it can take to recover from a divorce. Family and friends are often reluctant to help you understand your part in the marital failure because their primary job is to serve a more supportive role. If you would like a consultation on your situation, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .