How to Heal After a Divorce or Long-Term Relationship
by Courtney Virden
The breakdown of a marriage or long-term relationship comes with so many feelings, changes, and often fear of the unknown. Ending a marriage or serious relationship is hard enough on its own-when you add children into the mix, it becomes even more complicated. It’s important to remember that while it’s extremely difficult to go through a separation, there is light at the end of the tunnel. You, like me, might end up happier than you could have imagined. Coping with the myriad emotions while moving your life forward and rebuilding can take time, and your mindset and focus can either help or block your healing.
It’s all too easy to place blame, be angry, or want an apology (that you might never get) when a relationship crumbles. The more time you spend focusing on sadness, anger, and disappointment, the more your mindset can become negative. A fellow Poosh contributor and couples therapist, Dr. Kate Balestrieri, explains, “It’s essential to the grieving process to access support and moderate the amount of time spent in any big feelings. Let yourself experience them, but if it becomes difficult to function and navigate the daily tasks of life (which it can sometimes), reach out to others. Friends, family, a therapist, or trusted others can play a huge role in providing a witness to your pain and lifeline back into your life.”
No matter what happened or who wanted the separation, take a look at what you can do to grow and evolve as a person. “The goal in moving on after a long relationship is to rediscover yourself,” Dr. Balestrieri shares. Self-growth is an important step to move on. If you eventually want another relationship, it will help you prepare mentally and emotionally. Whether you see a therapist, pray/meditate, journal, or speak with friends, be honest and authentic and think about how you can evolve and grow. What part did you have in the relationship not working out? Do you need to learn to pick your battles and not take things so personally? Do you need to learn to have and/or enforce healthy boundaries? Is compromise or people-pleasing something you struggle with? It can be hard to look at yourself in this way, but it can really change the course of your next relationship and your relationship with yourself. Every relationship is a learning opportunity, and long-term relationships can teach us a lot if we reflect on them.
Self-growth aside, focus on taking care of yourself physically. Overall well-being is a combination of mental, physical, and emotional health-while you navigate the emotional effects of this, prioritizing your physical health will help. Exercise and a healthy diet are two great ways to help alleviate stress and increase your serotonin levels. During this time of transition and healing, make yourself a priority and ensure you are getting adequate support and self-love.