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Why Is Divorce So Hard? 4 Likely Culprits

Very few people in the history of divorce — at least on the “losing” side — ever see the silver lining at the time that they are going through the experience. In their own mind, they create “winning” and “losing” sides and place themselves on the latter instead of seeking some form of clarity from the experience. In a recent article on Psychology Today, Dr. Bella DePaulo took an in-depth look at who does poorly in a divorce. Here were some things she cited as critical factors that contribute to failure. 


History of psychological issues

  • Anxious attachment to one’s spouse
  • Dwelling on the experience
  • Reliving the specifics
  • Failing to achieve personal growth from the experience

While one, some, or all of these can be present in a person’s inability to cope with divorce, it’s the last factor that I’d like to spend some time on today. For many, this is the major obstacle that impedes recovery. It goes back to this whole myth of winning and losing. The reality is that divorce isn’t about victories and losses. It’s about looking within oneself and finding the right tools and the right perspective to emerge a better person.

When someone divorces you, you’re no longer a factor in his or her life, so it’s pointless trying to be. Each of the points that DePaulo mentions above — particularly the first four — have some grounding in being hung up on one’s spouse.

Maybe it’s the rejection. Maybe there is still love for your ex. Whatever it is, it ties you to them in an unhealthy way. Only by focusing on this last point — the quest for personal clarity — can you hope to overcome the issues associated with your divorce.

By taking a look at yourself and asking the question, “How am I going to improve from this?,” you take control of the power to determine who you want and need to be.

With divorce, your ex is done trying to help you be a better person. They are focused instead on their own lives and well-being. You can’t find redemption or self-confidence in their eyes. You have to start looking through your own.

What are some ways you were able to achieve a deeper understanding of yourself after divorce? What did you notice when you looked at yourself six months or a year later from physical, mental, and emotional perspectives? Sound off in the comments section below.

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