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It’s OK to Feel Thankful for Your Divorce


Published on December 3rd, 2021

The rollercoaster of feelings that so often lead to divorce can obfuscate an important reality: it’s ok to feel good about ending your marriage. Couples often endure years of struggle and attempts at reconciliation before their final separation, accompanied by cycles of denial, anger, disappointment and grief. If you’re finding it hard to get off that emotional rollercoaster, know that thankfulness and even joy are waiting in the wings.

When the negative emotions start to melt away, your newfound happiness may still come with a dose of guilt or regret. But, believe it or not, they don’t have to be your default mindset about your marriage ending, even if you have children. Allowing yourself feelings of gratitude can even help you be a better parent and ex-spouse. While sorting through the finer details of your agreement, it’s important to take stock in what you’ve accomplished.

Getting off Your Emotional Rollercoaster

If you’re divorced, you likely no longer share the same household as your ex. That fact alone can be the source of peace you haven’t experienced in years. Differences in values and lifestyles are common sources of marital strife. Once the stressors of having to meet someone else’s standards are removed, both parties can experience a sense of liberation. A final separation may also translate to newfound freedom to explore new hobbies and relationships. No matter what you’re feeling, try to view this stage as an opportunity to process events and emotions that were harder to face during your marriage.

Divorce Does Not Mean You Failed

Many marriages end within a few years and don’t result in any offspring. Others last decades. Marriages begun in the 1980s are reportedly the most likely to end. But staying together for 30 years, through good times and bad, and then deciding to part ways is no sign of failure. At any age, former partners can experience a fulfilling life after divorce, perhaps with someone who is a better match for them. Whether you started strong and grew apart or always suspected something wasn’t right, neither scenario makes your marriage a failure. Some divorces result in stronger friendships than when the two were married.

When the Children Are Better Off

How many times have you heard an adult, or even a teenager, say they were relieved when their parents finally called it quits? The biggest source of guilt for divorced couples typically stems from a fear of harming one’s children. However, children generally lack the tools to process angry exchanges between their parents. When high-conflict marriages end, the kids will most likely end up with an improved home environment.

There is no doubt that divorce can take a toll on children both psychologically and academically. Sometimes staying together does, too, particularly when kids are unable to separate themselves from the toxicity of their parents’ relationship. While understandable, your fear of hurting your child may not be reason enough to stay in an unhealthy union. Children can be spared the effects of an unhealthy household when a separation is:

  • Well-considered;
  • Healthy boundaries and a support system are in place;
  • There is open communication between parents and children;
  • Both parents are still available after the separation; and
  • Negative confrontations are avoided.

Yet, when parents are in the thick of it, they may not know which situation is better for their child. This feeling of being stuck between two difficult choices is a major contributor of stress to separating couples. That’s why it’s crucial to take care of your own mental health during the divorce while considering the wellbeing of the rest of your family. As you process your emotions, it will become easier to accept the choices you made and even find reason to feel grateful for them.

Communication and Self-Care Bring Relief

Emotions go up and down. There will be days when happiness is harder to reach. Still, you may have more control over your feelings than you realize. For instance, your child may indeed suffer after hearing the news of your divorce – particularly if there was no sign of conflict in the home. Maybe your marital problems were subtle or easily kept behind closed doors. That doesn’t mean they weren’t serious. This type of scenario can necessitate extra communication on the part of the parents to help the child understand what happened, that the separation had nothing to do with them and that the family is still there for them.

If you’ve sought counseling, worked to be a good parent and taken measures to ensure the separation doesn’t disrupt your child’s life, all that work is something to be proud of – and, hopefully, a source of gratitude.

The attorneys at Davis Friedman understand the myriad challenges that divorcing couples can face. We will take all of your concerns into consideration during any stage of your divorce so you know what to expect and are able to make appropriate and informed decisions for your situation. Call us at 312-782-2220 to schedule a meeting or contact us online with any questions.

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