Let’s face it, divorce hurts. In my experience as a family law attorney located in Bergen County, New Jersey, divorce can also be embarrassing and quite frightening for some. Going through the divorce process with an immature and irrational spouse can cause you to become bitter and eventually resent him/her. Bitterness is an ugly trait that causes you to be stuck in your current situation. Here a few ways to get unstuck and bounce back after a bitter divorce:
- The first step in bouncing back from bitterness involves healing and forgiveness. They are both correlated. You aren’t able to properly heal unless you genuinely forgive your former spouse and yourself. (Yes, forgiveness requires holding yourself accountable too!) Forgive yourself from holding on to negative feelings, thoughts, and emotions regarding your former spouse. Then, forgive him/her for whatever part they played in events leading up to the divorce. Harboring resentment does nothing for your well-being–it does not serve you, so let it go! Once you truly forgive, the healing process naturally takes place.
- In many cases, people discover that healing occurs when they focus on themselves after a divorce. In some cases, divorced women have spent most of their adult lives married and lose their sense of self in the process. With their newfound freedom, for example, they’re now able to take yoga classes, learn how to play the guitar, take solo vacations, etc. They embrace singlehood and don’t view it as a burden. That’s what I encourage YOU to do–discover yourself. Relearn who you truly are and find out your likes/dislikes. Spend time in nature, learn a new skill, and/or visit your favorite restaurant alone.
- If spending time alone is not your “thing,” find a tribe of like-minded people to spend time with. You can meet on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis to clear your mind. Meetup, an app designed for networking, locating events, and joining groups could be beneficial (especially if you do not have an established group of friends). If you choose to spend time with newly divorced singles, make sure they are not bitter and talking negatively about their former spouses. Once you have conquered your own bitterness, it is important to surround yourself with positive people to maintain happiness.
Bitterness after a divorce is understandable, but not excusable. Your bitterness should not linger on throughout life. Embrace your emotions and work through them. Healing, practicing forgiveness, focusing on yourself, and spending time with positive people will help eradicate bitterness and allow you to bounce back after your divorce.
This article contains general information and opinions from Sheena Burke Williams and is not intended to be a source of legal advice for any purpose. No reader of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information included in this article without seeking legal advice of counsel. Sheena Burke Williams expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any content in this article.