You can find comfort in these positive and supportive quotes about divorce.
Sometimes in the midst of the struggle to heal from divorce, all you want are a few little tidbits of inspiration. That’s exactly what divorce quotes can provide.
Below is a collection of grief, moving on with life, and divorce quotes to help inspire and comfort you (or a friend). When all you need is a little encouragement to know that you can and will get through the difficulties of your divorce, skim through this collection. And chances are that you’ll likely find at least one helpful quote.
I still have sadness and complicated feelings about my divorce. But how beneficial is it to keep hanging onto those feelings? If someone lives through an accident, his aim is to become better and healthy. My aim is always to progress - to make better decisions and be a better father, a better boyfriend, a better husband if it happens again. ~Ryan Phillippe
Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. ~Mary Manin Morrissey
Once you choose hope, anything’s possible. ~Christopher Reeve
If at first you don’t succeed you’re running about average. ~M.H. Anderson
Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change. ~Mary Shelley
At the end of your marriage, your job, at least in part, is to let go and move away from the wreckage to create something better. ~Karen Finn
Sometimes a hug says more than any words ever could. ~Unknown
When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future. ~Bernard Meltzer
Crying is not a sign of weakness, but a cleansing. ~Unknown
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. ~Theodore Roosevelt
Having a great support team when you get divorced can make all the difference in your outcome. ~Anonymous
Divorce is stressful. It’s natural to feel disoriented and wish for things to be “normal” again. ~Karen Finn
The only person you’re ever going to be with forever is YOU. ~Unknown
We cannot change the past, but we can start a new chapter with a happy ending. ~Nishan Panwar
Don’t carry a grudge. While you’re carrying a grudge, the other guy is out dancing. ~Buddy Hackett
Endure the storm for a little longer. When tomorrow comes, you’ll be stronger. ~Raghib Clitso
You must imagine what could be in your life to have a shot of making the changes necessary to achieve it. ~Unknown
We don’t have the power to change the facts of divorce, but divorce definitely gives us the power to change ourselves. ~Karen Finn
The unfortunate truth is that not all marriages last a lifetime. ~Karen Finn
Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. ~John Wooden
To make progress in any difficult situation, you have to start with what’s right about it and build on that. ~Norman Vincent Peale
Just because you made a mistake doesn’t mean you are a mistake. ~Georgette Mosbacher
Human beings are not hopeless. They have never been helpless. They have only been deflected or deceived or dispirited. ~Norman Cousins
If you’re still looking for a happy ending, I suggest you start searching for a new beginning. ~Unknown
Negative emotions are often catalysts of great change. ~Unknown
You are not stuck where you are unless you decide to be. ~Wayne Dyer
Divorce is just a part of your life. It doesn’t define who you are. You decide that. ~Karen Finn
It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. ~Joseph Campbell
Baby step by baby step, you have what you need right now to start moving in the direction of your happiest dreams. ~Marta Davidovich Ockuly
Most friendships change when one of the friends divorces. Some friendships can’t weather the changes and others become stronger. ~Karen Finn
Crisis leads us into emotional waters where we feel in over our head, and it calls upon us to explore unfamiliar spiritual terrain. ~D.R. Kingma
Divorce isn’t always the best answer. And sometimes it’s the only answer. ~Karen Finn
Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. ~Francis Bacon
Some people are like clouds. When they disappear, it’s a brighter day. ~Unknown
When I got divorced, I eventually came to the painful realization that I had trusted my ex-husband to be someone I wanted him to be instead of who he was. ~Karen Finn
All blame is a wast of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him/her, it won’t change you. ~Wayne Dyer
Although no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new ending. ~Carl Bard
Experiencing a great change, like divorce, has the power to change us greatly. ~Unknown
What you resist, persists. ~Werner Erhard
In the middle of a difficulty lies opportunity. ~Albert Einstein
People are only mean when they are threatened. ~Morrie Schwartz
Life is a DIY project – no one else can live it for you. You need to know what you want and when to ask for help. ~Karen Finn
Grief shared is grief abated. ~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
Wherever you are right now is the starting point for where you will be tomorrow, next month, next year, and at the end of your life. ~Unknown
Experience is a good teacher, but her fees are very high. ~Unknown
You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens. ~Mandy Hale
Remember, a closed mouth gathers no foot. ~Steve Post
Always laugh when you can. It’s cheap medicine. ~Lord Byron
The past must no longer be used as an anvil for beating out the present and the future. ~Paul-Emile Borduas
Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start. ~Nido Qubein
Sometimes you have to forget what’s gone, appreciate what still remains and look forward to what’s coming next. ~Unknown
Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere. ~Unknown
Lord, either lighten my burden or strengthen by back. ~Thomas Fuller
Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. ~Henry Ford
A hug is the perfect gift; one size fits all, and nobody minds if you exchange it. ~Anonymous
You may be disappointed if you fail but doomed if you don’t try. ~Beverly Sills
Grief is a long and complicated journey. ~Daphne Rose Kingma
The pain now is part of the happiness then. That’s the deal. ~C.S. Lewis
Divorce is hardest at the beginning, most chaotic in the middle and best at the end. ~Anonymous
Experience is the toughest teacher. She gives you the test first and then the lesson. ~Unknown
Grief is a time when we try to find our wholeness again after all has been lost. ~E. Kubler-Ross
We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. ~Joseph Campbell
I will release the old, embrace the new and grow a vision of hope. ~Shive Adhikari
Love, the quest; marriage, the conquest; divorce, the inquest. ~Helen Rowland
Grief can make a liar out of you. You say you are doing fine, when really your heart is shattered into a 1000 tiny pieces. ~Maria Shriver
Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. ~Benjamin Franklin
Despite the pain, if minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, you keep going, you will get through your divorce. ~Karen Finn
Things happen when you least expect them – things that can change your whole life. ~Lesley Kagen
Where there’s life, there’s hope. ~Cicero
Co-parenting means you are not always going to get what you want. ~Ed Farber
Major life events are profound opportunities for emotional healing and spiritual development. ~Daphne Rose Kingma
Forgiveness is making a conscious decision to live in the present … even if the past still hurts. ~Unknown
Love is like war; easy to begin but hard to stop. ~Fortune Cookie
Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make peace with that and all will be well. ~ Buddha
Divorced ≠ Unlovable ~Karen Finn
Strong is what happens when you run out of weak. ~Anonymous
There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning. ~Louis L’Amour
Trouble is opportunity in work clothes. ~W. Clement Stone
Divorce is a process, not an event. ~Karen Finn
When a deep injury is done to us, we never heal until we forgive. ~Nelson Mandela
Many people feel numb when starting down the path of divorce – it’s a protective mechanism. ~Karen Finn
Every difficult situation in our life makes us bitter or better. The choice is ours to become the victim or the victor. ~Unknown
I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains. ~Anne Frank
Crying holds the power of healing. ~Daphne Rose Kingma
You wouldn’t believe that so much could change just because a relationship ended. ~Nick Hornby
Change takes but an instant. It’s the resistance to change that can take a lifetime. ~Hebrew Proverb
Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience. ~Unknown
Constructive and appropriate anger puts distance between you and your ex. It will also allow you to move on with your life after divorce. ~Karen Finn
Sometimes when you hurt too much to cry, laughter is the best response. ~Unknown
When you allow yourself to express depression, it will leave as soon as it has served its purpose in your loss. ~E. Kubler-Ross
The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. ~Dolly Parton
The words we attach to our experience become our experience. ~Tony Robbins
My only advice is to stay aware, listen carefully, and yell for help if you need it. ~Judy Blume
Our job is not merely to discover ourselves, but to create new selves in the new context. ~Micki McWade
There is glory in a great mistake. ~Nathalia Crane
The future needs your attention. It has something beautiful to offer you, but first you must let go of the past in order to receive it. ~Israa Ali
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. ~James Neil Hollingworth
Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better. ~Unknown
Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. ~Paul Boese
If you try to get rid of fear and anger without knowing their meaning, they will grow stronger and return. ~ Deepak Chopra
The world doesn’t stop for the personal grief of divorce. ~Karen Finn
Live a life you’re proud of and if you need to, have the strength to start all over again. ~Unknown
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. ~C.S. Lewis
Forgive yourself for the blindness that put you in the path of those who betrayed you. Sometimes a good heart doesn’t see the bad. ~Unknown
There’s always a way to begin again. ~Unknown
Divorce sets off a tidal wave of changes – physical, mental, emotional, social and existential. ~Karen Finn
Knowing when it is over is the beginning of a new life and the end of an old one! ~Unknown
Fear wins or freedom wins. ~Brendon Burchard
Those who attempt to hold onto the past sign up for a lifetime of frustration. ~Micki McWade
I can courageously handle anything so long as I take it one moment at a time. ~Sue Patton Theole
Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune. ~William James
Adaptability is the powerful difference between changing to cope and changing to grow. ~Unknown
Do you se your divorce as a set-back or a do-over? It took time and effort, but I now see mine as a do-over. ~Karen Finn
The truth is that pain is one of our greatest teachers. ~Daphne Rose Kingma
It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe. ~Muhammad Ali
Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option. ~Unknown
The hopes of tomorrow can often diminish the pains of today. ~Unknown
It is better to be alone than to be in bad company. ~George Washington
The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. ~Alice Walker
A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. ~George Bernard Shaw
An unexpected dead end in one journey is merely an opportunity to set a new course for another. ~Sean Patrick
Believing in yourself is essential to creating lasting change and a happy life. ~Tara Stiles
Changing the expectations you have of someone just might change the way you feel about them. ~Unknown
The only thing worse than being stuck in a situation that makes you unhappy is realizing you are not willing to change it. ~Unknown
The pain of divorce doesn’t last forever – despite how it might seem right now. ~Karen Finn
You can catch glimpses of happiness in the middle of the pain of divorce when you remember to take care of yourself. ~Karen Finn
The longer you focus on blaming your ex for the end of your marriage, the more you’re hurting yourself. ~Unknown
Divorce is one of the most destructive, emotionally traumatic experiences a human being can go through, no matter if you're the instigator or the recipient. It's hard, and it hurts, and it takes a long time to feel normal again. ~Emily V. Gordon
You don't sign up for a divorce when you get married. It's very painful. But it's taught me a great deal about myself. ~Dwayne Johnson
When I left, after my divorce, when I left Oklahoma, I never looked back. It was the future. It was looking forward from then on. ~Reba McEntire
Divorce is a time of change. It really rocks a foundation of most people's lives. When we have our heart broken or our dreams taken away from us, it is a time of growth and change. ~Debbie Ford
I don't see divorce as a failure. I see it as the end to a story. In a story, everything has an end and a beginning. ~Olga Kurylenko
When two people decide to get a divorce, it isn't a sign that they 'don't understand' one another, but a sign that they have, at last, begun to. ~Helen Rowland
I used to think that divorce meant failure, but now I see it more as a step along the path of self-realization and growth. ~Alana Stewart
Divorce is hard and painful and complicated, and something you have to grow through. ~Sharon Stone
The wonderful thing about these divorce quotes is that they will mean something different to you each time you choose to read them. That’s because as you work through your divorce (or grow through it as Sharon Stone suggests) you’re a different person who sees and understands the world a bit differently.
There’s not just one right reason to call it quits.
People have a multitude of motives for wanting to know the reasons for divorce. Maybe they want to understand why their spouse has chosen divorce instead of working on their marriage. Maybe they want to know if what they’re going through in their marriage is worthy of divorce. Maybe they’re just curious about why people divorce in general.
Whatever your motivation is for looking up the reasons people decide to call it quits, you’ll find both research-based answers along with others that will surprise you below.
The 5 Research-Based Reasons People Divorce
Researchers interviewed 52 divorced individuals who had received the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) while engaged. In 2013, they presented their findings. Here are the top 5 reasons they discovered that lead to divorce:
Over half of the individuals interviewed for this research cited too much conflict and arguing as a major reason they divorced. When a couple has poor communication skills, it’s hard to resolve disagreements calmly or effectively.
When disagreements are regularly left unresolved, it’s common for resentment to build. It’s also common for feelings of positive connection and mutual support to diminish. Without effective communication skills, these negative results can spiral into a lack of commitment and divorce.
Married too young.
Age does have something to do with the success of a marriage. The data suggests that when couples wed with at least one spouse in their early 20s or younger that they’re more likely to divorce.
Some of the study participants reported that they had only known their future spouse a short time before marrying. Many of those who married too young, also wished they had dated their future spouse longer to either gain a better perspective on the relationship or to make a more rational decision as to whom they should marry.
Some participants who stated that marrying too young was one of their major reasons for divorce also stated they were too young to make mature objective decisions about marriage.
Of the study participants who reported that financial problems were a major contributor to divorce, many said it wasn’t the main reason. Instead, the financial difficulties added stress and tension within their relationship.
Interestingly, other participants stated that their financial problems were due to other issues like health problems, substance abuse, and infidelity.
In all, this study lists 11 reasons for divorce. The others that the study uncovered, in order, were substance abuse, domestic violence, health problems, lack of support from family, religious differences, and little or no premarital education.
What’s interesting to note about this study is that it was conducted after the divorces were final and that these reasons for divorce were typically the deeper reasons and not necessarily the last straw that led one of the spouses to file for divorce.
But these aren’t the only reasons couples divorce. There are all kinds of strange, sad and frightening circumstances that can play into the decision to call it quits.
Regardless of your motivation for wanting to know the reasons for divorce, these two very different lists point out something very important. People divorce for all kinds of reasons – big and small. Some of the reasons make a lot of sense and some just leave you shaking your head.
Divorce impacts every facet of your life – how you live, who you are, what you do, when you get to see your kids, and maybe even where you live. So, of course, it’s natural that with all this change you’d feel sad, angry, resentful and uncertain about how to start over after divorce.
Even though, at this exact moment, it seems impossible that you’ll ever feel any better, deep down you know that if other people can figure out how to start over after divorce, you can too.
And you can. You’re not consigned to living with this pain, uncertainty, depression, frustration, anxiety and fear forever. Things can get better.
By following a process, the same process that everyone who’s ever healed and moved on from divorce has followed, you can make things better for you too.
Work through your grief.
This is the most difficult part of the process. It will require you to come face-to-face with painful memories and emotions. It is also unpredictable. No one can tell you how long it will take to get through your grief. No one can tell you the exact steps you must take to get through it either.
The best you’ll find online is a description of some guideposts you can be on the lookout for along the way.
What most people find they need to truly work through their grief is to talk with a therapist, divorce coach (link to about Karen) or compassionate friend who has dealt with divorce themselves.
These people typically discover that by vocalizing their fears, regrets, and misery to someone who’s been through a similar experience that they feel understood. Feeling understood means that they’re not alone. Having support like this helps them work through their grief. And as it subsides, they find it easier to continue taking the other steps in the process required to start over after divorce.
Identify what you must get done – and do it.
While you’re working through the legal pieces of your divorce, you and your ex’s attorneys let you know what you must do to complete the legalities necessary to obtain a divorce decree and a parenting agreement.
However, you’ll find there are plenty of other things that must get done for you to start over after divorce. Some of the tasks that can fall into this category are legal documents not required for your divorce (link to paperwork article), finding a job, getting health insurance and moving.
Getting motivated to finish up what you know needs to be done can be difficult, if not impossible, when you’re struggling with grief. So, know that you don’t have to get everything done at once. You can prioritize these tasks by due date and chip away at them regularly.
You’ll discover that when you repeatedly take little actions to accomplish what needs to be done, you’ll be able to accomplish almost anything. And that includes creating a great life for yourself.
One of the most amazing things we can each do to change our life experience is to change our thoughts. This is a powerful tool when it comes knowing how to start over after divorce.
But, changing your thoughts isn’t a simple thing to do. It’s actually really, really hard – at first. But really hard isn’t impossible. And changing your thoughts definitely becomes easier with practice.
Have you ever noticed that when you’re having a bad day and then someone tells a great joke that you can laugh, and your day seems a little better? That’s an example of changing your thoughts.
Dreaming about how you want your life to be or who you want to become after divorce takes a bunch of courage. You thought you were making your dreams come true when you married. But that didn’t quite work.
However, when you’re brave enough to start thinking about how you really want to be living instead of remaining in the pain, that’s when you’ll know that you’re on your way to discovering your personal path to beginning again after divorce.
Creating a new life for yourself after divorce isn’t easy. And the 3-step process outlined above shouldn’t be taken as easy either.
These steps are simply the very broad outline of what you’ll need to do to get through the feelings of loss you experience when you divorce. It’s also quite likely that you’ll work through each of the steps multiple times before you really feel like you’ve moved on. But that’s what everyone who truly heals from divorce goes through.
So, use these steps not as a blueprint, but as guidelines to help you stay focused on healing and moving forward. By doing so, you will find your that you too can create a meaningful and fulfilling life after divorce.
Some ideas to consider before throwing in the towel.
The New York Times reported that 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce. Given a statistic like that, it makes sense that if you’re miserable in your second marriage that you might be wondering if it’s time to call a divorce attorney.
But before you pick up the phone, take a deep breath and consider exactly what it means to be struggling in your second marriage.
There are a multitude of reasons why second marriages fail and just as many for why others make it. To get to the bottom of what’s making yours so unhappy, let’s look at two categories of problems you might be having. The first are common to every marriage and the second are common to second (third, fourth…) marriages.
The most common struggles all married couples need to come to grips with include:
Ideals vs reality
Happily ever after doesn’t just happen. It takes work – lots of work – every single day of your lives together.
Since life isn’t a cake walk, marriages and spouses have good days, meh days and bad days. If your second marriage is going to work, you both need to recommit on a daily basis to making things work.
Most believe that couples in second marriages have great sex. And, in the beginning, it’s typically true for newlyweds. But when the honeymoon phase ends many couples in miserable second marriages cite intimacy and sex to be one of their biggest problems – just like couples in first marriages do.
Every couple who wants to experience great sex needs to make sure they have connection and intimacy outside of the bedroom (or kitchen or shower or wherever they typically make love) too.
Another of the major struggles common to marriage is dealing with money. Money represents power. It can also represent freedom or struggle or personal value or something else. When spouses have differing beliefs about money, difficulties ensue.
Everyone who’s contemplated marriage has an idea of what being a spouse means. And yet the likelihood that two people who decide to marry will have identical ideas of what it means to be a husband or wife is quite small.
When there’s a mismatch in expectations and/or values between mates, trouble will follow.
One of the most common challenges heterosexual couples face is a mismatch in communication styles. That’s because we each assume that our spouse will communicate and think just like we do. And there’s quite a big difference between in ways men and women typically communicate.
However, it’s understandable that you would think this. After all, when you fell in love, you could complete each other’s sentences and seemed to always know what the other was thinking.
However, when the honeymoon phase ends, most spouses are shocked to learn that the person they married no longer communicates as they used to. They may not communicate at all. Or, they may over-communicate.
When spouses have a difference in communication styles, there’s a great possibility of profound unhappiness because at least one doesn’t feel understood.
In his book The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman did a great job of bringing people’s attention to the fact that we each experience and naturally show love differently. What is loving to one person may not mean a whole lot to another.
Most spouses believe they are showing their mate love when they do what they consider to be loving things. However, their spouse may not agree. A mismatch in love languages can cause one or both to feel unloved.
Since this isn’t your first rodeo, there’s probably nothing in the list above that comes as a surprise. But just because it wasn’t surprising, doesn’t mean one or more of these issues aren’t at the root of your miserable second marriage.
It’s worth it to pause to really think about this list of common marital struggles and see which, if any, are present in your marriage. The answer may truly be none, but most couples beyond their first attempt at wedded bliss regularly fight about at least one of these issues.
The thing about identifying which of these issues are contributing to a miserable second marriage means that you’re now in a position to figure out a plan for making things better. However, this is just the starting point.
Finding out what basic work your second marriage needs allows you to dig deeper and consider the more complicated issues that second marriages also need to navigate if they’re to survive.
It’s never easy to blend families. It’s difficult to prioritize your new spouse, the needs of your kids, and the responsibilities you have with your ex – much less the needs of your new spouse’s children. When you’re both struggling with your children’s needs and other responsibilities on top of caring for the child/ren you have together and each other, you’ve got a lot of personalities and duties that need to be managed.
Without a cohesive plan and support system in place, blended families can wreak havoc for even the most committed and loving couples.
Although finances are one of the common problems of any marriage, it deserves mention here because the stresses of finances are typically greater for second marriages.
Since this isn’t your first marriage, chances are you’ve had to start over financially – one of the gifts of divorce. You may both also have more financial obligations than people entering first marriages do because of spousal support/alimony and/or child support.
Less sense of family
Many couples in second marriages don’t have children together. This lack decreases the need for a tight family unit. Without this need, there’s less at stake if the marriage should collapse – especially if it’s a miserable second marriage.
Behaviors developed in previous marriage(s)
Your first marriage didn’t work. And there were reasons for it – really good reasons. The thing is that when you’ve been in a dysfunctional relationship it can color your perceptions and behaviors in a subsequent relationship.
This is true for your spouse too.
Memories from previous marriage(s)
Remember the firsts after your divorce? Your first birthday, the first holidays, the first anniversary… Typically, they’re pretty tough because they stir up all kinds of grief.
Sometimes these types of triggers last past the first and when they do, they can disrupt (maybe even destroy) a current relationship.
You’ve been divorced before. Your current spouse has probably been divorced before too. You both know divorce sucks, but you also know you can survive it.
Married the wrong person
And sometimes, the reason you find yourself in a miserable second marriage is simply because you married the wrong person. This can most easily happen if you married before completing your healing from your divorce.
When you divorce there’s a great need to feel wanted and loved again. This can cause people to jump into a new relationship too quickly. And when you jump too quickly to say “I do,” you might just find yourself with the wrong person in a rebound relationship.
There’s nothing easy about struggling with a miserable second marriage. The frustration and confusion can be overwhelming which can make it incredibly tempting to just call a divorce attorney.
However, when you spend some time reviewing these two lists of common challenges for second marriages, you just might find a path forward to create a better relationship instead of becoming a statistic.
Co-parenting after the end of your marriage can be really hard, but your kids are worth it.
Regardless of why your marriage ended or is ending and the angst you feel about it, if you have children, your ex will always be in your life. That’s why learning all you can about co-parenting for divorced parents will help ease the parenting relationship you’ll need to maintain with your ex and help your kids not only move forward but thrive.
What Exactly Is Co-Parenting?
Most people assume that co-parenting simply means shared parenting post-divorce. However, this isn’t accurate.
Co-parenting is shared parenting where parents work together and communicate regularly to continue parenting together despite no longer being married. Co-parenting is hard. Co-parenting requires that two people who couldn’t stay married cooperate and compromise for the sake of their child or children.
Co-parenting requires that you and your ex are consistent and unified in your parenting. Although this doesn’t mean that you and your ex need to be perfectly in synch. Just closely enough aligned that your kid/kids understand that both their parents know what’s going on and are working together for their sakes.
More than anything else healthy co-parenting is focused on the kids. It is part of the continuing commitment you and your ex made when you became parents. And healthy co-parenting requires empathy, patience, honesty and open communication.
This may sound daunting, but remember co-parenting is about your kids – not you and not your ex.
Some (if not all) of the following basic tenets of co-parenting for divorced parents may sound nearly impossible, but with work and commitment by both parents they are very possible.
Clear boundaries and basic agreement on the most important things
You only have control over yourself. And your ex only has control over his/herself. Having any type of expectation that you can control anything else is just inappropriate.
So, no matter how right you may think you are about something, the only person you can control is yourself, and the only thing you can control is the example you set.
And if you and your kids’ other parent already agree on the most important things – healthcare, education, discipline and spiritual upbringing – you won’t have as many urges to want to control your ex’s behavior and/or decisions.
Open dialogue between you and your children’s other parent
An open dialogue doesn’t mean that you’re constantly conversing together about everything going on in your lives. What it does mean is that you’re in regular communication with each other about your children and all the things that impact their well-being.
The keys here are to communicate openly, consistently and with integrity and to communicate with your ex without the help of your children.
Consistency with rules in both homes
This doesn’t mean that the rules need to be identical. The goal here is to provide your kids with a sense of structure and routine because it will make them feel a sense of security and predictability.
A predictable schedule
When children know what to expect and when they’ll be seeing each parent, it removes confusion and allows them to settle into a routine.
A willingness to be flexible
Life happens, plans change, opportunities appear. When things happen, allowing your children to participate in adventures that benefit them is important. And sometimes these adventures will necessitate a change in the schedule.
However, requests for changes need to me made in advance of the event and prior to discussing with the children – unless it is a true emergency.
Mutual respect between co-parents extends beyond the communication you have with each other. It also encompasses to what you say about your kids’ other parent when your kids are around.
You can always find something wonderful or positive to say about their other parent in front of your children – something that reinforces for them that they have inherited laudable qualities from both of their parents.
How Do You Communicate When Co-Parenting?
Learning how to communicate with your ex for successful co-parenting can feel like learning a foreign language. You need to let go of all the poor communication habits you had in your marriage and speak to each other differently.
You’re not married to each other anymore, so don’t drag your unresolved issues into what remains – parenting your children.
This doesn’t mean that you just ignore your unresolved issues. By all means talk with a counselor or friends to reach a level of acceptance of your marital issues that you can live with. Just don’t talk to your children about them and don’t bring them up with your co-parent.
Never fight in front of your children.
Keep it brief and informative.
There’s no reason to belabor a point or give too much non-related information to your co-parent. When you keep your communication brief and to the point, there’s less chance of misinterpretation.
Choose your battles.
No matter how carefully you work together with your ex to build a good co-parenting relationship, you will still have disagreements.
Remember that good parenting, like anything else, exists on a continuum. Just because you and your ex see things differently doesn’t mean that one is “right” and one is “wrong.”
Embrace those differences that broaden your children’s perspective and life experiences, and learn to let little things go if they aren’t detrimental and habitual. And be aware of whether you are involved in a power struggle, and do your part to bring the focus back to your children.
Have a back-up
It takes a village – it really does – so always be building one. Don’t rely solely on your ex. You each should have a support system that cares about you and your children and that you can rely on.
Co-parenting is tough – tougher than parenting in an intact family. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
By you and your ex firmly committing to making your new life-long relationship about raising terrific kids together, you’ll know that despite any difficulties you run into along the way, your children will have the benefit of two loving parents who put them first.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and life coach. I help individuals figure out how they can best co-parent post-divorce. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. If you’re ready to take the first step toward working with me as your personal coach, you can schedule a private first session.
Looking for more information about co-parenting for divorced parents? You’ll find what you’re looking for in Co-Parenting.
Surviving infidelity is hard. The sense of betrayal is profound when you learn that your spouse has cheated on you. And, yet, for many men – even those who have been unfaithful themselves – surviving a wife’s infidelity is especially brutal.
Although it’s changing, most men were taught to focus on achievements and to submerge, ignore, and deny their emotions – at least the ones that aren’t deemed powerful. When men with this type of world view marry, they often rely on their wives for the nurturing and emotional safety they deny themselves.
So when they’re faced with surviving a wife’s infidelity, one of their primary coping mechanisms for feeling whole is at risk of being permanently lost. This is profoundly terrifying. They simply can’t imagine life without their wife. Who would they be without the nurturing and emotional safety she’s always provided?
And the fear they feel naturally triggers their fight, flight or freeze response. (It can also be at the root of them saying and doing things they later regret.) Their instincts might initially drive them to fight for their marriage, to pursue divorce, or to deny the meaning of their wife’s affair.
As terrifying as it is for men to face surviving a wife’s infidelity, the truth is what they’re facing is very similar to what anyone who’s discovered their spouse’s infidelity. It’s only after the initial rush of the threat response has subsided that the true work of surviving infidelity can begin.
Getting over your wife’s affair doesn’t necessitate that you divorce. It also doesn’t necessitate that you repair your marriage. (According to Divorce Magazine, 60-75% of couples who have experienced infidelity stay together.)
Regardless of what you ultimately decide to do about your marriage, what you will need to do to survive your wife’s betrayal is deal with how infidelity changes you.
Some of the things you’ll need to deal with include:
Repairing your self-esteem and self-worth
Forgiving yourself for not realizing your wife was cheating earlier
Giving your body time to heal. The same neuroscience has also shown that your emotional experience causes physical pain.
Choosing how you’ll learn and grow from the experience.
Ultimately, surviving a wife’s infidelity boils down to learning and growing from the experience. It’s a lesson that no one wants. But it’s also a lesson that can help you become a better version of yourself – not because it will or won’t make your wife (or ex-wife) happy – because you’ll be releasing old patterns and beliefs that no longer serve you. And in their place, you’ll have better ones that might even allow you to develop a different relationship with your emotions.
Many factors influence healing after a divorce and make it a unique experience for everyone.
When you got married the thought of divorce was a million miles away. And yet now here you are, a million miles away from that beautiful day when everything was possible, reading about healing after a divorce.
Getting over the end of your marriage will be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. Divorce forces you to reimagine your life and create a new one. It forces you to reimagine your family relationships. It may even force you to reimagine yourself.
In other words, healing after a divorce is a very personal experience.
And it’s precisely because it is so personal, that healing after a divorce is different for everybody. Sure there are some common steps to healing after divorce, but how you experience them and how you proceed through the steps will be unique to you.
This doesn’t mean that those who were married for a long time always take longer to heal than those who were married for shorter times. What it hints at is how interconnected your lives were. The more interconnected the longer it will take to disentangle your lives.
How many birthdays you’ve had
Yes, your age does influence how you’ll react to your divorce. In general, it’s easier to be positive about creating a new life for yourself when you can imagine having a good amount of time to do so. However, that doesn’t mean that if you’re older you can’t be just as positive about creating a new life for yourself.
How much of a surprise the divorce was
If your spouse dropped the divorce bombshell on you, chances are that it will take you longer to get over your divorce than it will your spouse. That’s because your spouse has been preparing for the end of your marriage and you haven’t.
On the other hand, if you’re the one who has thoughtfully decided to divorce, chances are you’ll get over it more quickly than your spouse.
Whether you have children together
If you have kids then you probably already know some of the unique pain that continuing to parent together causes. When you’re regularly seeing the person who was once your beloved, it’s typically harder to move on from what was and what you used to hope could be.
On top of that, healing after a divorce is also more difficult when you’re grieving the fact that you no longer get to see your children daily.
Whether you have a new relationship
A new relationship can be tricky. Sometimes they can help you heal. Sometimes they simply postpone the healing work you need to do.
Whether your ex has a new relationship
If your ex has a new relationship, it can trigger jealousy, resentment, anger and a plummet in your self-esteem. These emotions can make healing after a divorce more difficult. However, they can also spur you on to heal more quickly because you’re not willing to let your ex be the only one who is moving on.
How satisfied you were with your marriage relationship
If your marriage sucked, divorce can be a welcome relief. If your marriage was so good that you’re still in a daze over the fact that it’s over, then getting over the end of your marriage can be more difficult. And if your marriage was somewhere in between these two extremes, then the impact of losing your marriage on your healing will be somewhere in between too.
How your lifestyle changes with your divorce
In general, the greater the difference between the lifestyle and socio-economic status you had in your marriage and the one you have after divorce, the more difficulty you’ll have with recovering from your divorce.
Your level of commitment to your marriage
Typically, if you took your marriage vows seriously and had a high level of commitment to your marriage, then the more difficulty you’ll have healing.
How much you continue to focus on your ex
If you’re focusing on your ex and their life or behaviors, you keep yourself chained to them. You’re letting them dictate how you feel. And when you abdicate control of yourself to someone else, you’ll prolong the time required for you to heal.
Healing after a divorce is a complicated and difficult journey for most. Your own journey will be uniquely yours because it’s about you. You get to decide what healing from divorce means to you. You get to decide when you’re healed. No one else can tell you when you’re done.
And because each person who finds themselves on the journey is unique, healing after a divorce is and always will be different for everyone.
Divorce is complicated (and it sucks) because you’re faced with seemingly non-stop social, emotional, legal, financial, and the everyday challenges of your new life. Everything changes and not always for the better – at least at first. Of course, all these changes trigger grief which you may think you understand because you’ve grieved before. But overcoming divorce grief is completely different from getting over any other type of grief.
It’s different because you’re constantly reminded of the losses – and there are a lot of things you lose when you divorce. You lose your status as a spouse. You lose time with your kids. You lose the financial means you had together. You lose friends. You lose your dreams for the future.
You lose so very many things that you’ll subtly and obviously be reminded of…
when you look at your beautiful child and see the resemblance to your ex.
when you hear someone talking about their spouse and the fun they had over the weekend.
when you’re struggling to figure out how to make ends meet.
when you’re home all alone over the weekend and your kids are with their other parent.
when you see a commercial for the vacation destination you and your ex had planned to visit next summer.
And each of these reminders can trigger more grief.
Yet these triggers just get the journey started. When you’re trying to overcome divorce grief it’s the emotional turmoil that makes things so difficult. You’ll experience disappointment, stress, a sense of failure, anger, fear, sadness, and a whole host of other emotions. Sometimes you’ll feel them one after another, sometimes just one at a time and at other times you’ll experience several all at once.
The emotions are horribly uncomfortable and feeling them is probably one of the last things anyone wants to do. And so we make it harder on ourselves by trying to intellectualize or think them away. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work. The only way to overcome divorce grief is to work through the emotions.
And that in itself is a challenge. When you’re faced with the prospect of overcoming divorce grief you feel miserable. When anyone feels bad, it’s really hard (and at times impossible) to get motivated to want to feel the pain so you can work through it.
On top of that grief is exhausting and not just because most of us find it difficult to sleep well when we’re grieving. Grief weakens our bodies which makes doing anything harder.
So when you’re overcoming divorce grief, you’ll find that your ability to get things done is reduced. You’ll notice that your job performance suffers. Your ability to concentrate declines. Your willingness to care for yourself decreases and so does your desire to work through the myriad issues your divorce created.
And for many, this is when they decide to self-medicate instead of doing the work of getting through their divorce grief. They may choose to drink a little more, smoke a bit more pot or indulge in other recreational drugs, eat more comfort foods, and/or have more sex by hooking up. They may also attempt to escape their pain by getting into another relationship.
Although it’s tempting and can feel good in the moment, self-medicating only masks grief. It doesn’t heal it or make it go away. The grief remains. It festers and seeps deeper into your soul the longer it’s ignored. And that means it will be even more difficult to deal with.
Overcoming divorce grief isn’t easy. It will be one of the most freakin’ difficult things you’ve ever done or will ever do.
Yet, actually doing your work to deal with your grief will also give you a huge gift. Overcoming divorce grief gives you the gift of knowing yourself better through a series of lessons. Some of the lessons it brings are obvious. Some are incredibly difficult. But each of the ones you learn along the way will help you to recognize how strong, capable and lovable you are – despite getting divorced.
That may seem hard to believe as you’re beginning your journey of overcoming divorce grief. Yet, if you ask anyone who has successfully made the journey themselves, they’ll tell you that they are stronger, more capable and totally lovable now. They may even tell you that the life they built for themselves after divorce is much, much better than when they were married to their ex.
So, yes, divorce sucks. Overcoming divorce grief blows. But if you remember the only way to get your life back is to work through every challenge, trigger, and disappointment the end of your marriage throws your way, you’ll be able to do the hard work and move on toward a better life.
With focus, determination, and courage, you can create an amazing life for yourself.
Divorce is difficult, painful, heartbreaking and so many other unpleasant things. It changes your lifestyle, your parenting, and even your sense of self. It can bring you lower than you’ve ever been before. Yet, if you’re determined and choose to be brave, rebuilding a life after divorce can be one of the best things you’ll ever do.
When you were married you changed.
Over time, all married couples do. They change in big ways and small ways. Some changes are great for the marriage and great for the spouse making them. Others are great for the marriage but hard on the individual.
Chances are you made big changes and small ones during your marriage. Some of those changes were probably good for you and some … not so much.
And it’s those changes that were hard on you that you can now examine as you’re contemplating rebuilding a life after divorce.
Now that you’re divorced, you have the freedom to adjust how you’re living. You don’t have to continue living as you did in your marriage. You don’t have to continue making the large and small compromises that felt as if you were giving away parts of yourself for the sake of your marriage.
Granted, this isn’t easy. The freedom may not feel great. It may actually feel scary and lonely because the relationship you built your life on is gone. But, remember, so are the uncomfortable constraints.
And without those constraints, now it’s your opinion that matters most. You’re the one you need to please. You’re the one you need to take care of.
This can feel like you have a lot of new responsibilities. And, truthfully, you probably do. But it’s because of these responsibilities and the freedom that accompanies divorce that you can create a new life for yourself.
Rebuilding a life after divorce is about pleasing and support you. It gives you the opportunity to rediscover the bits and pieces of yourself that you gave up or ignored for the sake of your marriage. It also gives you the space to discover new interests as you regain your sense of personal identity.
It’s when you begin looking at the positive possibilities ahead of you that you’ll be on the path toward turning the devastation of your divorce around.
When you start planning for your future, you’ll begin understanding how your divorce might be allowing you to finally start being you again – strong, confident, and happy. Even if you felt that way during your marriage, the new you, the post-divorce you can be even stronger, more confident and happier because you can now be true to yourself without compromise. – if you’re determined and courageous enough.
Becoming a better version of yourself after divorce takes determination and courage. You’ll be the one making the decisions about how you live and the experiences you want to have. Yet each and every decision you make has the potential to bring you closer and closer to living your best life. And having the power to be your best self is pretty amazing.
Is rebuilding a life after divorce easy? No. It will be one of the most difficult things you’ve ever done. But, when you make the effort and take the time to create a life you love, you’ll know that every tear you cried and every bead of sweat along the way was totally and completely worth it.
Most assume there are only two choices when faced with an unhappy marriage: stay and be miserable or divorce and be happy. But you have more choices than just staying or going. Staying doesn’t have to equal misery. Leaving an unhappy marriage doesn’t always lead to happiness.
Marriages are very complicated and unique to each couple. What is the worst possible situation imaginable to one couple is merely a bump in the road to another.
Each spouse in a marriage is unique too. You and your spouse each had different experiences before you ever met that molded each of you. Some of this shaping was helpful and some you may still be working through because it trips you up at times.
Then there are the experiences that you’ve had together. Some have probably been good. While others haven’t. You and your spouse may even disagree on which experiences have been good and which weren’t.
However you’ve made it to the point where you’re searching for information about leaving an unhappy marriage, you need to understand what doing so does and doesn’t mean.
Divorce is one of the most distressing life events you can ever experience. It hurts in ways you might not be able to imagine if you’ve never been through it. And if you have previous experience leaving an unhappy marriage, each divorce hurts in a different way because no two marriages are the same.
Divorce allows you the opportunity to live alone or with someone new. If you have kids, chances are it will give them 2 homes – one with you and one with their other parent. And if you have kids, it means that you’ll likely have a relationship with their other parent for the rest of your life.
Divorce might give you the freedom to do the things you stopped doing when you got married. However, you have to choose to do them and for some this is a difficult choice to make.
Unfortunately, leaving an unhappy marriage isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be happy or even happier. That’s because it may not be just your marriage that is making you unhappy.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between unhappiness about your life or a portion of it with being unhappy in your marriage. It can be so much easier to see your marriage as the problem instead of looking for other possible sources of unhappiness.
Other possible sources of unhappiness can include work, other relationships with family or friends, parenting, an empty nest, a challenge with physical or psychological health, lack of a sense of purpose, what’s happening in the world, comparing your life to someone else’s, and so many more.
On the other hand, it really could be your marriage that’s making you miserable. Maybe you and your spouse have become fundamentally incompatible. Maybe something unforgivable has happened. Maybe you’ve forgotten how to communicate in a kind way or at all.
Even if it is your marriage that’s at the root of your unhappiness. Leaving now may not be the right answer. Maybe marriage therapy will help make things better. Maybe you know things will never get better and you need to begin working toward an exit plan.
It’s only when you’ve asked yourself the hard questions about what’s causing your unhappiness that you’ll be able to make the best choice regarding your marriage. It’s with the answers you discover that you’ll be able to know if leaving an unhappy marriage or making an unhappy marriage work will ultimately bring you happiness.