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Moving through Breakups, Separation, and Divorce

Moving through Breakups, Separation, and Divorce

by Jessica King, LCSW

Joining with another person in a committed relationship or marriage is one of life’s most significant experiences;  so is breaking up and divorce. The ending of a relationship entails grief and loss of many things and this can often be unexpected.  Even when the breakup is exactly what is needed and may have even been your idea, there are things that are lost that are significant such as missing connection with the partner’s extended family members, loss of “couple friends”, having to change churches or other faith based organizations which you both attended, and many other lifestyle changes that leave your feeling alone.  Moving on can be hard.  The emotions that arise are complex and often confusing.  While recovering from a breakup or divorce can be difficult, it’s not impossible.  It is not a quick fix and can be a long process, so be kind and patient with yourself.  

Here are a few things you may want to try on your own:

  • Make a list of lossed and write about each one.  Set aside some time to grieve for each.
  • Explore gratitude.  Keep a gratitude journal and write 3 things you are grateful for each day.
  • Reframe your thoughts and change your perspective.  Focus on the beginnings of new things without ruminating on the endings.
  • Practice self-compassion.  Mindfully notice your experience and remind yourself that any person going through a breakup may feel this way and develop kind and compassionate self-talk as you navigate challenges.

Additionally, therapy can help you cope with the emotional and mental toll that often comes with the end of a marriage.

If you find yourself feeling any of the following:

  • Unresolved hostility or resentment towards your former partner or spouse
  • Upset about your partner’s infidelity, addiction or other destructive behaviors
  • Feeling that your former partner didn’t give your relationship a chance
  • Loneliness, or worry that you won’t find love again
  • Guilt about things you did or didn’t do in your relationship
  • Grief or depression about the dissolution of your relationship
  • Stress or anxiety about financial burdens

… then therapy can help.

Working one-on-one with a therapist, you can learn to accept and address feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety, guilt or depression. Your therapist can help you find positive outlets to deal with your emotions. If you leave these feelings unresolved, they can come out later in life affecting other relationships. Therapy can help you process these emotions in a healthy way so that you can move through this moment of pain and sorrow.  Therapy can give you the power to reclaim your life by helping you grieve the loss of your relationship and partner, so you can be healed and restored. Together with your therapist you process the past and explore what you would like your future to hold by building awareness of your current situation, emotions, and thought patterns.

It’s painful to go through a breakup or divorce, but you can find a path to healing. While a breakup is the end of one chapter, it’s also the start of a brand new one. You have a whole lot of life and living yet to do.

If you’re going through a breakup or divorce, you don’t have to go through it alone. A licensed therapist can help you heal and create the life you want to live.