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Dr. Seuss once said: "Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened." The beloved children's author never turned his wit and whimsy to the subjects of marriage or breakups. Yet these wise words can easily be applied to divorce.

Divorce hurts. But your pain doesn't have to destroy you. Make a conscious choice each day — and for awhile it may take near-constant reminders — not to be bitter about the end of the marriage.

Believe it or not, every event in your life is balanced with pain and joy. There is another side to your divorce. You just need to put on a different set of lenses and find the gift. Ask yourself:

  • What can I do now that I couldn't do before?
  • What are the things I no longer have to do?
  • What do I have that I didn't have before?
  • What can I finally let go of?
  • How can I be different now, in a positive way?

Once you recognize the benefits of your divorce, you are well on your way to moving on. What follows is a step-by-step recovery plan. Here's what you can do: 

Don't be a victim. Recognize denial, anger, desperation, depression as natural and take control of your new life. He may have tried to poison your life, but make sure you don't add to it. The only person's behavior you can control is your own. You are not a victim of your emotions, your past, your husband, this divorce or your choices. You can control what you do in this present moment.

Cherish your memories. Be grateful. Find a way to appreciate and cherish the marriage you had. Maybe it produced wonderful children. Maybe it helped you become a stronger person or showed you your potential. Be happy for the time you had but know it is now a new chapter. New adventure awaits you.

Be the woman you want to be. Ask yourself what kind of person you want to be. Once you can answer that question, you will know how to behave and will begin the first step in taking charge of your destiny. You can change your thoughts and your actions to be more consistent with the woman you want to be. Unsure where to begin? That's only natural. You have probably been last on your to-do list for some time. Begin with these small steps for inspiration:

  • Start a new hobby.
  • Take a class.
  • Join a gym or health club.
  • Make a new friend.
  • Read a good book.
  • Keep a gratitude journal.
  • Set goals and make consistent progress toward their attainment.
  • Take control of your personal finances.
  • Pamper yourself with a bubble bath, a pedicure or a massage.

Stay strong. Focus on what you can do for yourself as a single woman. Accept your future life as a strong, independent and resilient woman. Your life is not over — it has a new beginning.

 

Related Content:

Five Tips On How To Heal And Move On After Your Divorce, by Relationship Journalist Lisa Steadman

Your Happiness is Your Responsibility

How To Manage Post-Divorce Emotions

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4 comments

  • Comment Link Guest Monday, 08 October 2012 12:58 posted by Guest

    Re: Angel 6/14/2012: Like you, I devoted 21 years to the marriage and six wonderful children. Although I knew he had severe money management problems, we still had a decent life and I home schooled the children and they had the privilege of growing up in rural U.S.A. with lots of pets, farm animals, etc. etc. When they tell people about their childhood on the farm, everyone envies them. But, like you, my husband had "activities" that I didn't know about and asked for a divorce. Then he got arrested for some of his "activities" and I was stunned to find out I didn't really know what kind of person I was married to for all those years. Then I found out that he had been with a "friend" for the previous 2 years anyways and married her 5 months after the divorce (which I paid for because he was too lazy to file, after all, he was already living with her). I don't understand how a "second" wife can trust a man who just left a family, didn't pay the bills, ran us into a second bankruptcy, the farm was foreclosed on, etc. I don't understand how he could basically be two different people and not feel ashamed or guilty. It's been 8 eight years now. The youngest is 18 and finishing high school. I still don't understand his choices in life and I definitely don't understand the American culture that lets a man walk out on a wife and family after 21 years. I agree with you, these type of people should never make a promise before an altar that they have to intention of keeping once they have gotten bored. I used to believe that everything would be ok if a person lived by principles and was honest and had integrity, especially if they were Christian. After the shell shock of being "abandoned" and all the other stuff, I don't know if I will ever believe that "evil" or "selfish" people ever get punished. It seems to me that these selfish people are allowed to trample whoever they want and absolutely nothing ever happens to them. I understand that criminals exist, but they were always only on the news and far away. I never expected one to be in my own home, and then to watch him and his lawyer shred us to defend him. My fairy tale world of fairness is totally shattered. I don't believe that anything is fair anymore and I know that bad people always get what they want because they don't play by the rules. Don't get me wrong, I don't miss him. I have wonderful children. What I miss is that I lost my belief in a fair world and good people, and good things are possible if you work hard enough. What is really sad is that is that my children refuse to have boy or girl friends because as a few of them have said, "what if we run into another one like dad"?"

  • Comment Link Guest Saturday, 07 July 2012 09:33 posted by Guest

    Sadly, today marriage is not: Sadly, today marriage is not taken seriously and since the divorce laws have made it so easy to get out of a marriage is what in my humble opinion creates the problem in the first place. But I agree, if someone has no idea where they are going or what they want out of life then they should not commit to marriage. Marriage like most things in life takes work and the idea that every day the sun is going to shine is a bunch of BS. Most people, men and woman alike would rather take the easy way out by having affairs then try their hand at marriage counseling. I am currently in the middle of my divorce, my wife left and has since taken up with another man. Interesting enough part of the list of things she wants include but not limited to of all things the wedding album and dress. Now the question begs why on earth would she want these items when she has left the marriage for the second and finale time to be with another man? To me this is hypocrisy.. it's like wanting the crucifix but you don't believe in Christianity. Every once in the a while I catch a show called "Unfaithful stories of betrayal". I find it interesting that these couples were able to seek counseling and find a way to make their marriage work. It's bittersweet to watch since my ex wife had no intentions of going to counseling. In fact she showed up for three sessions, one session she showed up a half out late and the other 15 minutes late. One session she totally didn't bother to show which I found out she was already dating another man which explains the lack of interest in the first place. Look at it this way, those of you who have been left for another just shows you how insecure your former spouse is. Takes courage to stand alone and this is something that most cheaters lack and for the most part their new relationship is more of a codependent one.

  • Comment Link Guest Thursday, 14 June 2012 06:03 posted by Guest

    Anger: I completely agree that anger has a place. It helps us to move forward and it can reveal lessons about the past. I see anger as a corrosive fuel; it will get you to where you need to go, but will eat through you if let it sit for too long. Use it, and then let it drain.

  • Comment Link Angel Thursday, 14 June 2012 01:14 posted by Angel

    Some of these articles assume: Some of these articles assume that because our marriages are over that we were somehow lacking... in character, or looks, or hobbies, or interests, or of having a full decent life outside of being Mr./Mrs. So and So. My life was good, even with a cheating spouse. That we can not move forward in our lives if we are bitter or angry is an idea I also strongly disagree with. I needed to be angry. I needed to learn to recognize that I married someone incapable of making good healthy choices. I failed myself, my children, and my family in trusting this man. Most of us know what it takes to have a good marriage. I spent twenty years of my life with a man I had three children with who, in asking me for a divorce, told me "everything in my life is perfect except for you." Looking back I recognized that he was communicating this to me all along. To him I was never good enough. In our twenty years together I never believed that and as the years passed I knew I deserved more. What's laughable is that he was not very successful in anything else. He had a great family. In the two years leading up to our divorce he had refinanced our house twice, robbed our children of their college accounts, dumped our life's savings, and then run off with his newest "love." Cheating is so expensive. His poor choices affected my good name, our family's finances, but, most of all, forever changed our family's legacy. What I spent my entire life working very intentionally towards. Really, what kind of person does that? Most women I know place our families first, why shouldn't we? Our marriages were destroyed because our exes not only lacked the integrity to be honest with us but they sabotaged our relationships as well. If you no longer love someone then get a divorce first. Think about what kind of role model you are/have been to your children. I'm sure not one of us says when I grow up I want to be just like Tiger, or Angelina, or John Edwards, or Leann Rhimes, or Arnold S. or the people they ended up with. I don't think those married to them had done anything outside of their hard daily working lives to deserve the disrespect that came their way. Life is hard. Marriage is hard. Raising children is hard. If you aren't committed enough to your relationship to take your marriage vows seriously, don't get married. Families require commitment. As Adam Sandler's movie Click so eloquently illustrated, life is too short not to recognize how great most of us have it. How is it that we somehow don't recognize this? We are whole and better when we care for and love others. But for some it means nothing. So I think these people should just be really honest with themselves and not get married. If you don't know who you are, what you value, what you want, and where you are going, then you are never going to be happily married. Half our marriages ended because someone had an affair. That is messed up on a grand scale and there is nothing wrong in being angry about that.