The marriage is over. You could fill all the black holes in the universe with the time you’ve spent wondering how you got to this place. You certainly never wanted to be a member of this divorce club and you’re hurt and angry. Your spouse wanted out and you didn’t. And, despite all the pleading, negotiating, and reasoning, you couldn’t change your spouse’s mind.
Some time has passed and now you’re gently being told to move on. People make it sound so simple as if it’s like running to Whole Foods for a gallon of milk. But you know they’re right. Especially if your anger is taking that vinegar-y turn toward bitterness. You may have found the wherewithal to start a new exercise program or join the PTA (and I commend you!) but, despite your external life looking relatively functional, internally and emotionally you’re still a hot mess.
Divorce is a huge transition and that’s why the TRANSIT Technique (Talk, Realize, Acknowledge, Nurture, Salvage, Identify, Toss) offers seven ways you can shift away from what is keeping you from your healing journey — and move you toward a stronger, healthier you.
1. Talk a new game. You’ve told the story of your divorce so many times, you could recite it in your sleep. But what if there’s another story to tell about the marriage and the divorce? One that ends with your empowerment? I have no doubt your spouse was a callous cad who took advantage of your trust and kindness. But there’s no growth without self-reflection. This isn’t about self-blame but, rather, clarity. And that clarity is invaluable in opening up possibilities for positive change and healthier relationships.
2. Realize your ex did you a favor. Think about it: Did you really want to spend your life married to someone who didn’t want to be married to you or no longer loved you? Um, heck no. What kind of satisfying life would that be? Being married for the sake of being married is Nowheresville — and no way to live.
3. Acknowledge your ex’s new life isn’t perfect. So stop assuming that it is. Whether he or she has repartnered or won the lottery, it doesn’t matter. Life is full of struggles that aren’t circumventing your ex.
4. Nurture your kids. No matter their age, kids need a healthy divorce legacy. “My mom really fell apart after the divorce. In fact, she never really recovered. It was hard to watch her sink into that abyss.” Does that sound like the way you want your kids to remember your divorce experience? Surely not. If you’re having trouble getting your post-divorce life together for you, do it for your kids. Give your kids a divorce legacy that will leave them admiring you for your strength and resilience.
5. Salvage your dreams. We all make compromises in marriage. But when those compromises are out of whack with our hopes and visions, things get wonky. Think about the compromises you made and whether they were in keeping with your life’s ambitions or holding you back. This is a perfect juncture in life to revisit your dreams and passions and make them a reality.
6. Identify your false notions. Your divorced neighbor who just scaled Mount Everest? Your divorced coworker who just wrote a novel? They just seem so, well, good. It may not appear so, but folks who seem happier after divorce are no different from you. You can’t imagine taking your divorce in stride the way they have. Hold up. Do you think they just coasted effortlessly and painlessly through their divorces? Well, they didn’t. No one does. They’ve just made the healthy decision not to allow their divorces to be the focal point of their lives — or prevent them from moving forward.
7. Toss out the old. That BFF you thought would support you through thick and thin? Well, she left the building when your marriage hit the skids. That neighborhood your spouse insisted you live in despite the high crime rate? You’re free to go. If there’s any beauty in divorce, it’s the opportunity it affords you to reassess and restructure. And sometimes, as with the BFF, this restructuring can be challenging. Take this time to let the tide go out and see what’s left on the beach. The things and people that stick are the ones worth your continued focus — but it’s time you say a healthy, self-loving goodbye to what no longer serves you well.