Divorce and Transitions: Mardi Winder-Adams
One of the unexpected issues that many women and men experience after a divorce is the ongoing sense of genuine sadness and loss for the relationship, even if they initiated the process.
The End Of Your Marriage:
One of the biggest myths about divorce is that if you choose to file for divorce, you are fine with the breakup of the relationship. There is also the perception that once the legal aspect of the divorce is finalized, you are ready to move forward and leave the past behind.
Both of these assumptions are false. The emotional pain of a divorce can ripple through your life for months and even years after the legal aspect of the process is completed.
“It is essential to recognize why post-divorce grief and sadness is a very normal response. “
In my experience as a divorce coach, almost every woman I work with indicates that they would have preferred to correct the problems in the relationship and move forward rather than taking the step to divorce. However, for a relationship to change, both people have to be willing to make a sustained effort, and that is not within your control.
To understand the long-term impact of divorce, it is essential to recognize why post-divorce grief and sadness is a very normal response.
Loss Of The Expectation:
When we marry, the last thing we consider is a potential marriage breakup. We get married with the plans to live together “till death do us part.” We have a vision of the perfect future. And this is one we have likely cultivated and nurtured for months – if not years.
Some of the grief after a divorce is seeing those expectations fall apart. We no longer see our future the same, and the fairy-tale happily ever after is definitely not happening, at least with this partner.
Loss of the dream, or the expectation of that perfect marriage, is difficult for anyone. It also means the loss of a shared future, retirement, and plans. But it doesn’t mean you can’t create your own.
Loss Of A Partner:
At one point in time, your partner meant the world to you. Perhaps this was not completely accurate or a case of seeing the person through rose-colored glasses, but it was your reality for a time.
“Some women are very comfortable living as a single person after a divorce.”
In most relationships, even with divorce, there were good times and even great times. It is not uncommon for people to go through divorce and still love their partner, even if the relationship was no longer sustainable.
Second guessing and what-iffing can make the loss of a partner in your life a signficant issue. It can also lead to ongoing guilt, shame, and frustration – further driving feelings of sadness and loss.
Living As A Single:
Some women are very comfortable living as a single person after a divorce. Others may find it a constant reminder of a dramatic and significant change in their lives. Getting comfortable with your own company, creating a new circle of friends, and relying on your support network, professionals, and friends to help you deal with feelings of sadness and loneliness after the divorce is important. The end of your marriage is not the end of your support network.
Being prepared for these feelings of sadness and loss is the first step. It is healthy to reflect on the good times in the marriage, just like you will also think of the bad times. Don’t let friends or family tell you not to be sad or regret the marriage’s end. You have the right to experience the feelings you are having. However, if you find the sadness and loss overwhelming, talk to a therapist or counselor.
Give yourself time to grieve and mourn the loss of the relationship, but don’t become stuck in the sadness. Don’t isolate yourself, but take time for self-care. Working through your emotions after the divorce will help you be emotionally prepared for everything the future brings.
About the Author:
Mardi Winder-Adams is an Executive and Leadership Coach, Certified Divorce Transition Coach, and a Credentialed Distinguished Mediator in Texas. She has experienced her own divorce, moved to a new country and started her own business, and worked through the challenges of being a caregiver and managing the loss of a spouse.
Handling life transitions and pivots is her specialty! In her professional role as a divorce coach, Mardi has helped hundreds of women before, during, and after divorce to reduce the emotional and financial costs of the process. She is the founder of Positive Communication Systems, LLC.