Grieving After Divorce

“My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life” (Psalm 119:50). 

If you feel like your heart has broken, you’re not alone. Just about everyone experiences the type of grief we call heartbreak at one time or another – and some people seem to have their hearts broken many times throughout their lives. Just think about all the songs you’ve heard on the radio about broken hearts! Of course, it’s not really your heart but your feelings that are hurt.

Lots of things can cause heartbreak. Sometimes you might experience the pain of a romantic relationship that ends before you’re ready. It might be because you love someone who doesn’t feel the same way. Or maybe you’ve lost a friend or relative or someone else you care about. The causes may be different, but the feeling of loss is the same – whether it’s the loss of something real or the loss of something you only hoped for. People describe heartbreak as a feeling of heaviness, emptiness, and sadness.

Although poets have written about the pain of heartbreak for thousands of years, when it’s happening to you, you may feel like no one else in the world has ever felt the same. Or maybe you feel like every sad song was written just for you and your situation! If you’re recovering from a broken heart, there are things you can do to lessen the pain. Here are some tips that might help.

Share your feelings. Sharing your feelings with someone you trust may help you to feel better. That could mean simply talking with a friend or family member. For some, letting the tears flow seems to help them heal faster. For others, simply hanging out together and doing things you normally enjoy, like seeing a movie or going to a concert, can be comforting. Somehow just being with someone who cares about you can make things feel a little better.

Take good care of yourself. A broken heart can be very stressful. But don’t let the rest of your body get broken, too. Get lots of sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly to minimize stress and depression and give your self-esteem a boost.

Remember what’s good about you. Sometimes people with broken hearts start to blame themselves for what’s happened. They may be really down on themselves, exaggerating their faults as though they did something to deserve the unhappiness they’re experiencing. If you find this happening to you, nip it in the bud! Remind yourself of your good qualities, and if you can’t think of them because your broken heart is clouding your view, get your friends to help you remember what’s good about you.

Keep yourself busy. Sometimes this is difficult when you’re coping with sadness and grief, but it really helps. This is a great time to redecorate your room or try a new hobby. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about what happened, it just means you should focus on other things, too.

Give yourself time. It takes time for sadness to go away. Almost everyone thinks they won’t feel normal again, but the human spirit is amazing – and the heart almost always does heal after a while. But how long will that take? That depends on what caused your heartbroken feeling – and on how you deal with loss and how quickly you tend to bounce back from things. Mending a broken heart can take from a couple of days to many weeks – and sometimes even months and years. While we’re at it, we might as well mention a few things that won’t help. Like getting angry (or desperate) and trying to hurt yourself or someone else, drinking or taking drugs to feel better or become numb, or locking yourself up in a dark room.

Sometimes, though, the sadness is so deep – or lasts so long – that a person may need some extra support to deal with a broken heart. For someone who is not starting to feel better after a few months or who continues to experience signs of depression, talking to a psychologist or other mental health professional can be very helpful. So, be patient with yourself – and let the healing begin. 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Being heartbroken is a pain that no one can understand until they have experienced it for themselves. You obviously have, therefore are aware of how fragile your heart is right now. Healing a broken heart will take time, but is not impossible, though it may feel that way at the time. It is never an easy process to go through, but with the right prescription, you will be on your way to recovery and happiness again.

The first thing you should keep in mind is that it is okay to feel sad and grieve about what happened and that you are not stupid for doing so. It is perfectly normal to feel sad and cry after a break up. You have invested most of your time and all of your love and interest into your ex-spouse; therefore will go through a sad and painful withdrawal. It is notable that you not grieve all on your own. Sure, there will be times when you will just want to be alone and undisturbed. However, it is important that you talk to your friends and family about it. Talking about it is not only healthy, but will mend your heart quicker because you will release the thoughts and facts that are hurting you so much. Seeking professional advice will be a great help to you as well because your mind will open up and see new perspectives and understandings of what happened. It will help you gather your strength, pick yourself up, and find the happiness you deserve to have.

Accepting the fact that you and your ex-spouse are no longer together is a necessity if you are going to start mending your broken heart. If you catch yourself unable to function due to constantly thinking about your ex or repeatedly calling or visiting him/her for another chance, then chances are you are suffering from love addiction and should seek counseling. Discontinuing a serious relationship is emotionally challenging and can drive you to do things that are unhealthy for your self-being. To avoid entering such hazardous areas, keep yourself occupied. Go out with your friends and family to help get your mind off the break up. It is best to spend as less time alone as you can in the first few weeks of your breakup so that your emotions can slowly and patiently form back into their normal pattern.

Fight the thoughts that tell you that you are a failure and are to blame for the end of your relationship. When a relationship ends it means that the two of you were no longer compatible and that always takes two, not just you. Instead of beating yourself up over what has transpired, examine your ex-relationship by listing the things you enjoyed most about it and then the things that disappointed you and what you believe really caused the breakup. Look at the relationship as a learning experience and an opportunity to improve your relationship skills, and a way to realize what you truly need and want from a romantic relationship.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3).

Learning to forgive yourself and your ex-spouse will speed up the healing process for the reason that you will feel more peaceful and calm about it. Hating your ex will only build up tension and stress in your life, causing your emotions to slow down from getting back to order. One way to avoid bitterness against your ex-spouse is to look at the breakup as a favor. Appreciate their honesty of no longer wanting to pursue the relationship, instead of giving you high hopes for a possible future together. It is always an advantage to exit a relationship that had no chances to survive than to be misled.

Conquer your fear of being alone. You need to help yourself understand that it is not abnormal to be on your own and that your values come from who are rather than whom you are with. Teach yourself that there is more to life than romantic relationships by spending quality time with your friends and family. Learn more about whom the other people in your life are and introduce more of yourself to them as well. Go out and do things together and treat yourself to something you enjoy, whether it is your favorite restaurant, shopping, going to the movies, or anything else. Learning to you be your own best friend will not only improve your relationship with yourself, but with others as well. As you begin to discover the other beauties of life and yourself, you will become more stable and stronger to face anything that crosses your path, such as a new relationship in the future.

Before you consider entering another relationship, take a step back and ask yourself why you want to do so. Make sure that you are not entering a new relationship on a rebound. This will only leave you with unfinished emotions and you will never have closure from your former relationship. Never begin a new relationship because you are afraid of being on your own, or feel the need to just be in a relationship. Form a relationship with someone new because you feel strong and secure on your very own and feel that you are ready to attempt a new romance. Take it one step at a time and keep in mind of what your needs and desires are from a person and observe closely to see if they show signs of the qualities you are looking for. As soon as you notice that he or she is not, then get out of it as soon as possible. Learning from your previous relationships will come in very handy because you will be able to prevent similar situations in the future, leading you to meeting the people who fit your description of a perfect partner.

Lastly, remind yourself that love is a wonderful feeling and experience and should not be generalized based on your past experiences. Do not use facts about your ex as a way to judge new people in your life. Leave your past behind you and focus on moving ahead. Get to know new people for who they are, not by comparing them to others, what they are not, or what they could be. Once you have observed their personality, values and everything else, trust yourself to make the right decisions without constantly doubting yourself. If you wish to try having a new relationship, then do so. If you do not however, then do not feel guilty to kindly walk away from the situation. You would be doing both you and the other a person a huge favor and saving time and emotions from being hurt. You have nothing to fear or worry about. After all, there will always be one person who will always love you, appreciate who you are and be there for you. . . and that is YOU.

Coping in Christ. You may feel that you will never get through this divorce. However, in Christ all things are possible and you can move past it towards God’s purpose for your life. The Lord will never leave nor forsake you in the season of suffering. He will make His presence known to you when you seek after Him with all your heart, soul, and mind. You will move beyond just coping and begin to live victoriously in Christ.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Recommended Literature:

“Grieving for Someone You Love” by Ray Mitsch
“A Grace Disguised” by Jerry Sittser