This was published on Divorce and Your Money here.
Divorce is never easy. It is particularly painful when one half of the couple is completely against the divorce and thinks the marriage can be saved. That feeling of rejection is like a sucker punch, and it can be difficult to overcome. You will feel out of control. The world you have invested so much of yourself into has just been destroyed. Where do you go from here? How do you overcome something you are so adamantly against? There is hope.
It will not be easy at first, but there are ways to get through it. You can even thrive after a divorce you did not want.
Any ending requires a period of grieving. Sharing your life and love with somebody is a part of your life that does not just go away with the snap of a finger. Take the time to let the emotions out and experience the feeling of loss. Holding it in will only make you feel worse.
Nurture your grief as you let it out. Cry, get support from friends and family, journal, and have a few Netflix days. Just make sure you do not hold onto that grief. Do not hold back, and do not hold onto any of it. Sooth yourself, and release it. This grieving time should gently move into a place of nurturing yourself. Start to come to terms with the reality that it is over.
Realize that the decision has been made, and you get to decide how you react. Acceptance will lead you to healthier, more stable reactions. The deeper you go with the acceptance, the more you shed things like depression and anxiety. Now is your time.
Blame helps nobody, which is especially true if you blame yourself. Blaming your spouse is just as destructive. Ask yourself, “How does this serve you?” Nobody is to blame, but one of you is unhappy in the marriage. Find the acceptance of that without bringing blame into the equation, even if it is a divorce you did not want.
Remember that your spouse made their decision for themselves. It has more to do with them than you. It does not reflect your value. Your self-worth does not have to take a hit if you open yourself up to the possibility that it is all for the best.
For both you and your ex-spouse, focusing on blame leads to feelings of bitterness and unworthiness. Try not to feel like it is a rejection. Hold your head high, and realize you cannot control other people’s decisions. But you do get to control how you react and move on.
Counseling is a valuable resource that can help clear the disruptive, destructive thoughts in your head about the divorce you did not want. Hearing the perspective of a trained, objective observer can do wonders. They can point out things that would never occur to you while you were in the thick of it. They can help you change your perspective to a more positive one.
Therapists and counselors can also show you ways to recover your self-worth. They help you get deeper inside yourself and tackle the emotions that did not come out during your grieving process. They will help you reconcile these emotions, so you can find ways to feel better until you get to a good, stable place.
Support groups are also a valuable resource, and they can be a perfect supplement to counseling. Hearing the stories of other people going through a divorce they did not want can make you feel less alone and crazy. You can connect to people who understand what you are going through. The validation you get from this experience is powerful in helping you heal and move on.
One way to shift gears and bring a feeling of joy and excitement to the divorce you did not want is thinking about all the possibilities that lie ahead of you. You are starting over in a lot of ways; your future is now yours.
There will be feelings of uncertainty as you feel the loss of the future plans you had with your ex-spouse. However, if you can turn them into feelings of excitement for what is possible, it can be a way to find yourself and start liking the new you.
Tell a better story. What have you always wanted to do that you could not do in your marriage? Is there a training program or career path that did not fit with your former life?
Now you can chase that dream. You are independent now. You get to call the shots in your life without having to clear anything with a partner, who could have been affected by your choices. Obviously, any children involved will have to be considered, but you are still in control of your future. Grab that golden ticket. This divorce could be the best thing that ever happened to you.
Try just one of these suggestions at a time, but do try to incorporate all of them into your post-divorce life. It is imperative that you figure out how to move on—not just for any other family members who might be affected, but for your own happiness and peace of mind.
While you are processing and taking steps to heal from the divorce you did not want, try reaching out to a professional divorce coach. The process of overcoming an unwanted divorce can take an emotional toll, and a divorce coach can help steer you in the right direction, which your emotions might block you from seeing. If you become proactive in your healing process, things might even turn out better than you could have ever dreamed.