You want to move on, but you just can’t seem to do it. Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. Many divorcees have a hard time moving forward with their life after everything is finalized. They remain stuck between the past and the future, sort of a divorce purgatory, if you will. So, how do you free yourself from all the divorce heaviness that is weighing you down, preventing you from fully embracing your new life? It starts with recognizing why you are in divorce pergatory in the first place. Still feeling stuck after your divorce? Here’s why.
Five Things That Are Keeping You Stuck After Your Divorce
- Holding onto what remains of your relationship
- Trying to recreate the life you had
- Allowing your ex to trigger you
- Refusing to let go of what happened
- Not reaching out for support
Living in the Past is Keeping You Stuck After Your Divorce
The grieving process involves many different parts, one of which is acceptance. This can be a difficult thing to do, especially when you were the one who was “wronged” in the divorce or caught off guard. We often want to hold onto whatever scraps we have left of the relationship, even if all we have left is pain and anger.
The problem with holding onto that pain and anger is that it doesn’t really end up hurting your ex- it ends up hurting you. It’s keeping you from moving forward with your life and embracing all that it has to offer. Before you know it, that pain and anger is all that you identify with. It seeps into every other aspect of your life, causing you even more pain and anger, just perpetuating a vicious cycle.
We often refuse to forgive because we feel like we are somehow letting the person who hurt us “off the hook”. The reality is forgiveness is for you. It’s giving yourself the closure you so desperately need and deserve. You don’t have to tell yourself to “get over it”, but you do owe it to yourself to not let what happened in your marriage hold you back from enjoying your future.
Learn to Be Okay with Where You Are Right Now
What makes divorce so much harder to get over than other losses, is that you’re not only grieving the loss of the past, but you’re also grieving the loss of the future you thought you’d have. No one gets married without imagining their happily ever after and letting go of that vision is not an easy thing to do. You might even try to recreate the life you had with your ex instead of allowing yourself to start fresh and create something brand new and just for you.
When you do this, you’re naturally going to feel disappointed whenever something doesn’t measure up to the past. Learning to be okay with where you are right now and reminding yourself that just because all of this is new and different doesn’t mean it’s bad, can be helpful tools in overcoming the barrier to freeing yourself from divorce purgatory.
Retrain Your Brain and Change Negative Thinking Patterns
More than likely, your marriage was at least a little rocky before you filed for divorce. You’re probably still carrying around a few triggers, and those triggers can keep you stuck after your divorce. These triggers can become a real problem if they stem from your ex, and add extra weight if you are co-parenting.
The good news is, you can retrain your brain to not be triggered by the things your ex says and does, and you can also combat those negative thinking patterns to help you live a more positive life. This takes time, work, and commitment, but it definitely can be done. One of the biggest things that can help with this is seeking support, whether that be from a therapist, support group, or both.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can be particularly beneficial to those recovering from a divorce. It can teach you strategies to combat those negative thoughts and retrain your brain to use more effective tools and behaviors when dealing with triggers and other stressors.
A divorce support group can be another great asset. Oftentimes, just listening to other people’s stories and knowing that you are not alone is enough to get you out of that rut you’re stuck in after your divorce. At Split.fyi, we offer two different divorce support groups- Split.fyi Coffee Talk and Split.fyi SOS: Support on Saturdays.