Tips for Getting through a Terrible Divorce


Any tips for getting through a terrible divorce? I’ve found myself staying in bed most days, moping around, but I want to get over this.

Dear person,

This sounds like you’re going through a difficult time in your life right now. Even without knowing any details about your situation and your circumstances, there is one thing that is obvious to me: you are about to lose someone whom you really loved for a long time. Even if your marriage had already been difficult for the last couple of years, there must have been a time when you loved this person as well as being married to him/her. The reason why I’m writing these lines is for you to know that it is completely normal to feel grief in this situation. And it is okay if it takes a while, maybe even longer, until you can overcome this pain. The deeper the love, the deeper is the feeling of grief when losing someone in this way. I want to encourage you to allow yourself to feel the love as well as the grief for the loss you’re experiencing instead of thinking that you must get over it quickly. 

Nowadays there are divorce parties and media sometimes makes it seem like divorce can (or should) be something that is not a big deal, therefore making it seem like everyone can get over it quickly. Divorce is presented as a new beginning that you should even be happy about. I can only agree with this to a certain extent. It is true that divorce also presents a new beginning since it opens doors for you, allowing you to bond with new people and do things that you couldn't do with your previous partner. You get to reshape your own life. However, we also need time to grieve. How long grief lasts depends on each person. Humans love and grieve in completely different ways. Ask yourself how long you have allowed yourself, unconsciously or consciously, to be sad and to mourn.

It is possible that you’re currently experiencing strong negative emotions toward the other person or that you even feel hatred. Maybe you don’t want to mourn so you can get back at him/her. Maybe you think that he/she is not worth mourning. I want to encourage you to still do it because that way you’ll do something good for yourself. There needs to be room for your emotions. You need to feel them. I like to look at mourning in a different way: mourning means that you got to experience many moments of love within the last couple of years or decades. Even though your relationship with your partner changed and you eventually couldn’t get along, there is probably still a part of you that cherishes the time you had together. You can think of the feeling of love as a shining light bulb. If you don’t allow yourself to love, then it is as if you put a sticker on the light bulb. The more stickers there are, the less light can shine through. Putting the stickers on and keeping them there takes a great deal of energy. The same applies if you don’t allow yourself to feel love, which is also connected to mourning in the case of a loss. It could be that you’re feeling powerless and mopish at the moment because you put a lot of your energy into suppressing your feeling of grief.

Divorce is often not just connected to losing a person you knew well but also to big changes on the outside. Maybe you moved to a new house or flat, or you had to leave material things behind that meant a lot to you. The love you feel for these material things and the grief connected to their loss are also worthy of being felt and of being expressed. 

It is difficult for me to give you advice from afar, but there are some things that you could try. Whichever helps you is good for you.

You could meet with friends or family members to talk about it or call them. If you don’t want to share your thoughts and feelings with your friends/family or you just can’t, then talking to a counselor or therapist is a great alternative. What could also help you is a mourning ritual where you, for example, think about where the things that remind you of your partner will go (the photos, clothing etc.). When losing someone, for whatever reason, loneliness may also be an issue. In this case, it might be useful to put up pictures in your (new) home of people you like. There is also a nice exercise I want to provide you with: imagine you are travelling 3 years into the future and you meet your future self who is incredibly happy and content with their life. Imagine seeing your future self as being powerful and totally open to falling in love with someone else. Maybe you’ve already found someone new? :) Now imagine how your future self is looking back at the past 3 years. It is looking at the bad and difficult times, but also at the good times and it is full of gratitude for all the nice things that happened. What do you think your future self would give you? Words of encouragement? A piece of advice? Maybe a hug? Maybe you’re now already feeling a little change in the way you’re feeling. If you like, you can thank your future self for their encouragement and then travel back to the present.

Making decisions is tough and it is completely normal that you’re not going through this process without having any difficulties (this would even be strange). There is a time for everything, and maybe now is the time to mourn and let go. You will experience joy of life again with time.

I wish you all the best!




About the Professional

Lisa is a certified life coach and counselor with a passion for art and design. She launched her own coaching business called “Verbesserlich” - - which is based in Vienna. Lisa loves to study so she is also currently enrolled as a student of psychotherapy at the University of Vienna. She cannot wait to put all of her coaching ideas, courses and knowledge into practice and to help people in Vienna and Austria. She is looking forward to helping especially those who are unsure of what they want to do with their lives, who feel stressed and need a (new) direction in life.

Lisa lives in a loving and fulfilling relationship with her girlfriend. In her spare-time she runs a group called “Zwischenraum_Wien”, which is intended for people of the LGBT+ community who are being discriminated against by their church.