What is life like after divorce? Elin Nordegren will find out now that her divorce is final. She spoke out for the first time today. Elin stated that “a marriage without trust and love wasn’t good for anyone.” She’s absolutely right. Sadly, divorce is painful and sometimes the only option. Many couples struggle with this decision and the consequences of divorce versus staying married. My goal with couples is to help them stay together, work through their pain, and heal their marriage, but it doesn’t always work that way. One of the biggest mistakes people make following separation and/or divorce is entering into another relationship right away. That’s one of the reasons the divorce rate for second and third marriages is so much higher, because couples carry their baggage into the next relationship. Individuals may believe the reason the marriage failed is because “I wasn’t with the right person.” The problem with this mindset is that it assumes there is nothing wrong with you, and that the other person has all the problems. Both partners are responsible for the success or failure of the marriage. Consider waiting a year before getting into another relationship following separation/divorce. This is a great time to grieve the loss of the marriage, raise self-esteem, reestablish your own identity, and take care of yourself. The emotional consequences of divorce is significant even if you were the one that terminated the relationship. If you deny, repress or ignore the anger, hurt, sadness, resentment, and fear that you have following divorce then it may be directed towards your children or next partner. Part of healing is forgiveness of yourself and your ex-partner. Forgiveness is not forgetting or condoning but instead it is releasing the pain. Being able to forgive may take some time, but is a worthwhile process. And remember not to throw your ex-partner under the bus to your children; they need both parents. There is life after divorce, but a lot of it depends on you. Letting go of what you have is sometimes necessary to figure out what you need.
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