7 Stages to Accept the Life Change Called Divorce: Acceptance and Moving On

In my previous posts I talked about Denial & Anger and Bargaining & Depression. acceptance-road-signFinally, acceptance and moving on with life is around the corner! If you are reading this at the beginning of the divorce proceedings, rest assured, you will get there too! It may seem impossible at the moment, but after a while you look back and can no longer imagine you stayed in the marriage for so long, or that you were that distressed about the divorce. Yes, it was life altering, but things are so much better now.

Acceptance

“Your relationship may be “Breaking Up,” but you won’t be “Breaking Down.” If anything you’re correcting a mistake that was hurting four people, you and the person your with, not to mention the two people who you were destined to meet.” ― D. Ivan Young

Acceptance begins when you accept your grief, it slowly peeks around the corner. Through your tears there is that little light of hope. “I’m going to be OK”, you are coming to terms with the end of the marriage. You are accepting the situation without trying to change it.

When you can let go of the marriage and the life that was, you’ll discover your strength, your peace and your serenity. The struggle is over, you have let go of your resistance. It is beginning to feel good.

Don’t confuse acceptance with tolerance. Tolerance still implies there is some resistance. It still is a road block to living your life to the fullest. It means you haven’t completed all previous stages.

Embrace Your New Life

And so life does move on. Not only should you accept the divorce, but hopefully you have used it as a life experience that moved you into the direction of a better person, a better parent. Self acceptance is important now. Be loving and happy with who you are now. Make an agreement with yourself to appreciate, validate, accept and support who you are at this moment.

This self acceptance leads to a new life with new possibilities that did not exist before, because you were caught up in the struggle against reality.

Embrace the possibilities that lay ahead of you! The past is the past, happiness is in the present and the future.

Start Dating

Starting to date is a whole new adventure in itself, that at most requires a few posts of itself. I’m excited to start the journey of dating.

One of the things that has been important to me is that I didn’t want to start dating too soon. I would probably enjoy the company, but at the same time, I don’t know if I would have been such great company. You often hear divorcing dates only talk about their ex and the divorce. You are much more interesting and desirable when you have embraced life again for yourself. So I waited. Good things do come for those who wait!

7 Stages to Accept the Life Change Called Divorce: Bargaining and Depression

In the previous post I talked about the stages of Denial and Anger.bargaining It usually starts there, and then progresses, though often the first 5 stages can happen simultaneously or in random order. It is important to realize you have to go through all those stages and that YOU WILL SURVIVE! Not only is there light at the end of the tunnel, but divorce can also be the life experience that will lead you to a more fulfilling life.

Resistance and Defiance; Or let’s bargain!

“Negotiations are a euphemism for capitulation if the shadow of power is not cast across the bargaining table.” —

George Schultz 

“I will do anything to safe the marriage”. “I will change”. And so we enter the stage of resistance and bargaining. Some will really ramp up and fight for their marriage, they are not going down like the Titanic. While it may be futile, fighting for the marriage does help long-term psychologically. You can look back and say, well, I’ve done everything I could to safe the marriage. Marriage however is work, and 2 need to actively participate to make it lasting.

When we bargain, we admit, at least to ourselves, that the marriage is over, but we are buying time. You have to realize that bargaining rarely leads to a long-term solution. In bargaining there is always 1 person with authority, and 1 person that is trying to get something, but subject to the others desire to agree.

Use bargaining to your advantage for personal growth. During bargaining there is a reflection upon the self and you will discover things about you that you can improve upon. Perhaps you were never home and did not spend any time with your spouse, perhaps you gained too much weight, perhaps you have been inconsiderate during the marriage. Use those self-reflections to become a better you.

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ― Haruki Murakami

Grief and Depression

It is inevitable, at 1 point it will hit you, the marriage is over. You are overcome with sadness and grief. There won’t be family dinners, there won’t be walks in the park; life as you knew it has what seems insurmountably changed. Familiar situations are no longer. It is very natural to grief, there is loss.

Grieving allows you to disconnect and start to distance yourself from what was. Allow yourself to grief. It is natural to feel sadness, regret, fear and uncertainty for the future at this stage. It is important that you process this. These emotions show that you have begun to accept the situation!

However, if you get stuck in depression, where the world seems just not the bright colors it once was, seek professional help. Sometimes, realizing that grieving is natural, eases the pain. Sometimes people are overwhelmed and need outside help. Don’t hesitate to seek that help!

“Do not brood over your past mistakes and failures as this will only fill your mind with grief, regret and depression. Do not repeat them in the future.” — Sivananda

Grief is a sign acceptance is just around the corner. A new life awaits you! Next post is here.