According to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, divorce is one of the most stressful events people go through in a lifetime, second only to the death of a spouse. In the hopes of making the process a tiny bit easier, we’ve compiled 15 reads for anyone going through a marital separation. Take a look below.
Understand that there’s no timeframe for recovering from divorce — and that’s OK. There will be days when you feel amazing and glad to be free of your ex — and days when getting out of bed seems like more trouble than it’s worth. Divorce recovery is not a linear process.
Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like a failure for splitting up in your 20s. Forgive yourself and remember that you were young and maybe a little naive when you said “I do.”
It doesn’t matter how emotionally prepared you think you are: When you finally receive word that your divorce has been finalized, you’re going to feel a bit thrown for a loop.
The best advice I’ve received — and by far the most difficult to follow — was when someone told me to create new memories to replace the old ones. When you were married for over 25 years, everything represents a memory. You have to close your heart to memories with your ex and look forward to creating new ones with your family.
Breakups make even the strongest people feel small, helpless and even hopeless at times. But if you stay optimistic and embrace some positive, healthy approaches to healing, you can emerge from the breakup stronger than ever.
“Divorce is the purest lesson of humility you’ll ever experience. I know because I’ve been there. I would not wish a divorce upon my worst enemy. But to feel the way I do now, I would go through it over and over again to be right where I am.”
When you’re considering divorce ― or reeling from your ex’s decision to end the marriage ― it’s easy to focus on the negatives: How will I possibly get by living on my own again? How will the kids be impacted by this? Am I doomed to be alone for the rest of my life?
While those concerns are understandable, it’s equally important to focus on the good that can come of being single.
“Thank you for giving me a second chance at happiness. Surprisingly, divorce is a great catalyst for reflection and self-improvement. I have learned so much about myself since we separated two years ago. I’ve learned that I am capable of enduring far more than I thought possible. I’ve learned how to love myself and how great it feels to be single. I’ve learned that love isn’t a fairytale. I believe all these lessons will eventually lead me to a wonderful and fulfilling relationship in the future.”
“What my ex gave me when he left twenty years ago was choice. Going forward after 25 years of marriage, it was my choice to live a full, whole and happy life.”
“There are so many lessons in divorce in your 20s. I feel that going through divorce made me such a new, strong person. It was inspiring to know how resilient I was.”
“After divorce, it’s time to re-embrace your real self, not the version of you that has been dealing with a failing relationship. Think back to all the times you have been at your best, even the very early years of your life. What were you doing, what kept you hopeful, happy, healthy?”
“It dawned on me that my life could no longer be discussed in ‘we’ or ‘us’ terms. My life was once again mine. I was now a very single parent. My sons, young adults at the time, had lost the father they thought they knew. With fierce determination, we rebuilt our family life and forged a path to the future. We left old traditions behind and created new ones.”
“I knew I had moved on when I realized I hadn’t thought about my ex-wife for days. My divorce was no longer hanging over me and I was looking forward, not backward. That was a wonderful moment.”
“You need a good friend. One of my best friends told me, ‘When you feel the urge to call him, call me instead.’ She was my voice of reason during my divorce.”
“Run! No, just kidding. When you crawl out of this almost 20-year tunnel of love, pain, joy, and growth, regret will not be a feeling that you have.”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.