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We've gathered knowledgeable, dedicated divorce experts from a variety of fields to lend their advice and perspectives. Our experts include lawyers, healthcare professionals, certified professionals, and everyday women with insight into the topics that will help you stay empowered.

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Divorce can leave you hurt, resentful, raw and drained — all at the same time. Being no longer coupled, but not exactly "free," at least emotionally speaking, can make you feel stuck.

But you don't have to stay there.

Allow yourself to mourn the loss of your marriage. No matter who decided to call it quits, it's perfectly natural to lament the promise your relationship once held. In our exclusive firstwivesworld series, "Get On With Your Life," you will learn that everyone deals with divorce in her own way — in her own time. The good news is once you deal, you can heal. Part 2 of this series will help you rediscover the woman you want to be, entitled, Create A Post-Divorce Recovery Plan.

For now, expect to go through the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance — before you will find strength and peace. Take stock of where you are right now so you can soon move forward. Here, a few questions to ask yourself:

ARE YOU IN DENIAL?

"This isn't really happening; I know it's just a phase and soon life will be back to normal."

"My husband is gone, my marriage is over, but maybe he'll come back."

No one can say what will happen in the future. But if you want to get past the pain, you must accept your current reality. Your marriage is over. Your husband is gone. You can hope for your future, but stop fighting what actually exists in the here and now so you can open yourself up to new adventures.

ARE YOU ANGRY?

"I hate my ex, the other woman, and/or all men in the human race."

Let it all out. Early on, feeling angry is actually helpful. It gives you something outside of yourself to focus on. But after awhile anger can be self-defeating. To figure out whether your ire has outlasted its usefulness, ask yourself:

  • Do I really want to feel this way all the time?
  • How is this behavior affecting my relationship with everyone else in my life?
  • Is this anger going to help me attract others?

Once you consciously decide that anger no longer serves you, you will likely find yourself in the next phase of healing.

ARE YOU STRIKING BARGAINS?

"If he just comes back, I promise I will change!"

"I promise God if I can just survive this ordeal, I'll never get involved with another man again!"

When you find yourself striking deals with God, your ex — even yourself — you're trying to find a way to get through this hurtful experience.

But no matter how badly you want to change the situation, you must go through it. And you must grow through it. If you are really convinced bargaining will work, then go for it. Create the best deal you've got and pitch it. If it works, great. But if it doesn't, let it go IMMEDIATELY.

ARE YOU DEPRESSED?

"I can't get out of bed, stop crying or finish simple routine tasks."

The first step to getting out of depression is to recognize how it benefits you. Is it winning you sympathy? Is it a way to tell your ex that you are literally nothing without him? Once you realize what depression is doing for you, tell yourself:

  • I am strong, not pitiful.
  • I deserve a man in my life who truly wants to be with me.
  • I won't give him the power to control my emotions.

Click the following for a directory of articles to help you keep a healthy mind and spirit through divorce.

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12 comments

  • Comment Link Tari Monday, 01 June 2015 09:33 posted by Tari

    Just recently divorced after 3 years marriage. I guess didn't see that coming. He betrayed our marriage with another woman ended up carrying baby of his. Been in shocked for a moment, after months of bargaining to keep our marriage intact, I decided to let go. 9 months already passed, at first month it felt like I lost everything in my life, my self- identity, my families in law( I used to be close with his big families), our dream together, sense to be loved and cared. Thank God, I walk with faith that God always with me down the line. I faced every emotions I felt afterward, anger, sadness, depression, felt like wounded soldier returning from battle in front line. For moments, didn't know what to do next and felt unsure of what the future will be. I drowned my self in my work activities and routine exercise to help boost my mood. But now I found peace with my past, forgive everything He and I might have done to our marriage ( I take my part responsibility of what happened in our marriage). I decided that it's up to me how I want to be in the future or how my future will be, I decided not to be passive, took action in journey to my healing. How that moment of decision really changed my mind and mood, now I feel more confident in seeing my future. From my experience I learnt that time doesn't heal but what we do and what we decide every single second what we want to feel or do that really counts in healing process, since what time does just passing by us through. It's also not useful to think "what if we ... that it won't happened" nor to reasoning "what went wrong to find answers", just face it that it happened, it sucks, pain yes and gladly it happened. Also writing to myself of what I lost from divorce compare to what I can be after the divorce, and be grateful every little thing which I still have really helped.
    Yes life had been one heck of roller coaster. Nonetheless happiness is up to me, I refused to be sitting in the corner feeling pity of myself, life is too short and precious to pass us by just like that. Every experiences that I had after my divorce is God's given opportunity to grow myself and re discover myself. May God bless us all who have to walk this pathway.

  • Comment Link Liana Tuesday, 21 October 2014 07:05 posted by Liana

    I married this guy at 22, very quick marriage...After two rocky years he said he wanted divorce without explaining the reason (I am pretty sure it was mostly because of my "disagreements" with his family). So, I in my 20's felt like this is the end of the world. I was all alone, 1000 miles away from family and friends. I was so scared , and the worst thing I was still in love with him. I am not a "therapy" person so I started to search the ways how to crawl out of this. I got rid of all of the things that reminded me my past life and this relationship, I sold my engagement ring, my wedding dress, all the wedding photos were deleted for good. I felt relief. If none of that works, I read about this girl https://www.worthy.com/blog/what-to-do-with-your-engagement-ring-after-divorce/ that sold her engagement ring and paid for her breast implants )).
    I think that no matter what, you just have to do something that symbolize saying goodbye!

  • Comment Link Seattle Rain Wednesday, 30 July 2014 23:31 posted by Seattle Rain

    Well said @Vivienne. It is not about the divorce but the dream of a happy family. So true. I have been divorce for 5 years and I am done with him. Every time I dream about a happy family, he is never in the picture. He got married a year after the divorce which makes it harder for me when I think about "a happy family". I guess, I will have to see if time does heal all wounds ....

  • Comment Link vivienne Sunday, 15 December 2013 08:00 posted by vivienne

    After 10 years of marriage and going through various stages of hurt and humiliation I finally decided enough is enough, I am not sad about the loss of stress and constant worry, it is the dream of having a happy family with your life partner that hurts. But I decided there is a thin line between enough and too much. I will create my own happiness with the love and acceptance of the one person that never left me, God thank you!

  • Comment Link Elizabeth Saturday, 13 July 2013 19:21 posted by Elizabeth

    My husband retired six months ago. We've been married 26 years. Today was the first time we'd ever spoken the D word. I work six days a week and he won't help clean the house. All week long I say nothing and then I erupt on Saturday when I spend half the day at work and half the day cleaning. I thought he could spend an hour a day helping and he cannot. He will not. I don't understand it. I am not afraid he will leave. I am not scared of leaving. I think in five years after our son is out of medical school I may finally have had enough and be ready. It makes my heart ache. I feel so unloved that after years of working full time and cleaning and cooking and raising a child that my partner in life cannot give a few hours of his time each week to help make my life a little less stressful I have done so much. I earned more than he before his retirement. The talk of divorce came up when I said in five years I was going to quit my job and take a menial job to just make ends meet and have time and energy to clean my house and take care of myself. He said that then, well, in five years we should get a divorce. I was at first stunned, sad, and now ruefully accept that he may be right. I never even got to the angry part. I daydream sometimes of moving away and taking a waitressing job that pays the bills and leave me without the high-stress, high-paying white collar work that I currently do. Why do some people love so little?

  • Comment Link Debra Friday, 03 May 2013 12:20 posted by Debra

    How did you get through your "blindsided"? It happened to me in Feb this yr. Married 33 yrs had plans made together that were happening April 1st and
    then I could feel something was wrong. Then on Good Friday he told me it was over. We weren't fighting talking about upcoming happy times then he started talking to me differently, being deliberatly cruel, putting off things knowing we were on a time limit and then came the announcement. How do I get through this mentally in 1 piece.-
    DC

  • Comment Link Guest Sunday, 15 July 2012 12:58 posted by Guest

    Men also: I agree with JF. What a great way to put things. I had my wife of 17 years leave us (with 3 kids) at age 38 to "move back home". The Truth is what JF said, she wanted to party and be her own "boss". Sad, but God has another plan for me. God Bless you all.

  • Comment Link Guest Sunday, 22 April 2012 17:35 posted by Guest

    men also: Thanks for posting that...it's nice to know that there are men out there that aren't all like the typical guy.

  • Comment Link Guest Wednesday, 18 April 2012 00:16 posted by Guest

    Men also: My wife left me saying things like I was lazy emotionally crule who knows what else but in the 25 years of marriage she hardly said that she loved me and early did she kiss me ,thats not emotionally being crule ? But I love her and I guess I still do but it's over it would never be the same we really didn't like each others family and I wouldn't admit I was depressed all she would do was take her anti depressant drug but not get counseled she just turned fifty lost a lot of weight dyed her hair a real light blond. It hurts , it hurts real bad so it's not just women who get left. People say iit's a mid life crisis to me it is a woman who gave up on her husband and three boys because she was afraid of getting old and wanted to be like her cousin and friend and sleep around. I'm sorry I'm starting to ramble but like I said men get hurt also.

  • Comment Link Guest Tuesday, 17 April 2012 15:23 posted by Guest

    that book was amazing! thanks: that book was amazing! thanks for recommending, it made me understand so many more things about myself & my ex.
    I cried reading it because it makes you live his pain and its a pain I so clearly understand now.
    I too was blindsided! I was 1 month pregnant when I found out what he was truly about.

  • Comment Link Guest Saturday, 14 April 2012 07:37 posted by Guest

    I'll have to check that book: I'll have to check that book out - thanks for mentioning it. I also found myself blindsighted by a divorce I never saw coming. In fact, we were planning to go to the beach together in a few days. The shock of it all made it much harder in the beginning because I didn't understand what was happening.
    http://lessonsfromtheendofamarriage.com

  • Comment Link Guest Friday, 07 October 2011 16:19 posted by Guest

    Unexpected Divorce is crushing: I just read an amazing book that was recommended to me on the horrors of an unexpected divorce. It's called "I Thought We Were Happy: Lessons My Wife Taught me on the Road to Divorce" by Jonathan L Lewis. (I found it on Amazon - couldn't find it on B&N). This guy is wide open with the emotional trauma of what he experienced going through a divorce he never saw coming.

    Has anyone else read it? I was blown away. It hit SO many buttons and expressed so many of the emotions that I went through. And guys don't normally open up that way. It really helped me.