Do you ever really heal from divorce?
In 3 days, my ex-husband will be married. We've been divorced for almost 2 years. And even though I do not want him back; even though I have healed from the pain of his affair and our divorce; even though I feel like I'm in a good place; I find myself going through all those same emotions I went through when I first found out he was cheating on me and when we decided to separate and get a divorce. In fact, I believe I’m going through the 7 stages of grief again.
Many women have asked if the pain of heartbreak ever ends and if you ever really heal from divorce. What they are really asking (and what you have probably asked) is when will the pain end. Many people have answered that, yes, you do eventually heal ... with time. And I used to believe that as well. But having realized that I'm essentially going through the 7 stages of grief again, I've changed my opinion slightly on healing after divorce.
I now believe that there is no such thing as completely healing after divorce in the sense that you will never ever again feel sad or mad or whatever about your divorce and the sad things that happened during your marriage. Even so, I also believe that you are not bound to a life of sadness and depression simply because you got divorced.
There is no doubt that divorce has affected everyone who’s ever gone through it. What you learn from it, and how you let it affect you, makes all the difference in the world. Like all huge life events, divorce leaves a mark on you, and you are changed for better or worse. The better or worse part is up to you. Feeling this change fully, and recognizing it or not, is also up to you. Many people shut themselves off from the effects of divorce probably thinking they are protecting themselves or maybe because they are caught in a never ending denial stage. But blocking yourself from the emotional effects of divorce is not, in fact, a sign of strength. It’s a sign of being scared. Emotions are scary and confusing, and sometimes they build up and make you feel like you’re falling down a never ending rabbit hole.
Unfortunately, the path to healing runs through a tangled forest of emotions. And I believe that if you allow yourself to feel these emotions, you will be better equipped to deal with them the next time.
So I guess it’s no surprise that I’m going through the 7 stages of grief again. And don’t be surprised if you go through the cycle multiple times yourself during your divorce journey. Although, the next time you will know you can get through it because you’ve been through it before. I’m grateful for having gone through my divorce and having experienced the stages of grief. This process helped me connect even more deeply with all the emotions that are part of me; this journey has made me even more grateful for all the love and joy I’ve experienced since my divorce.
So, no, I don’t think you truly heal from something like divorce. That would suggest that you are finally done with those emotions and are therefore done learning from them. Experiences like divorce and heartbreak have so much to teach us if we are willing to wade through the difficult feelings. And, in turn, these difficult times make us so thankful that we get to experience the other side of the emotional spectrum, too, like love and contentment.