Susan attended my divorce recovery class over a decade ago. She contacted me again recently because her Ex was getting re-married. A flood of new, and unexpected, emotions had surfaced. She wanted to share lessons she’d learned after divorce and through this experience.

“Many of the issues I though that I’d resolved now have to be resolved at a new and different level (e.g., a new woman, I didn’t choose, moving into the house I helped to design and using my stuff as her own, having to share my children with a new woman, watching as my Ex uses his money on his soon-to-be new wife, watching as he treats his new wife better than he treated me, etc.). Where are the resources to help me understand and to deal in a healthy way with these issues?”

What great questions

Susan and I met for lunch today. She’d found her much-needed resources all right – right there inside herself. She didn’t realize at the time that the situation required that she grow even more – both in forgiveness and letting go. She shared with me an important family tradition that she has passed on to the new wife in the spirit of letting go. My heart swelled as she shared. I was in the presence of love and forgiveness.

Susan speaks about this journey to her larger self, or as she would probably call it, her ‘real’ self. “It’s been an awesome, tiring, and sometimes unbearable journey that I wouldn’t change for anything.”

Susan has given me permission to share her “10 Important Things I’ve Learned After Divorce.” You will find them below.

10 Important Things I’ve Learned

by Susan Krebs

  1. Creating a new identity is hard work, however this is an opportunity to rediscover the person you are and hope to become. It is often hard to know what you like and what makes you happy after having considered your ex-spouse’s and/or your children’s likes and dislikes. These have often unconsciously shaped your preferences.
  2. Loneliness can be crippling and cause you to compromise in the relationships in which you allow yourself to become involved. You have the strength to be enough for yourself, realizing it can be hard.
  3. We are most satisfied when in relationship with people at the same level of consciousness. Be aware of your values and how you view the world and realize that everyone’s reality is somewhat different.
  4. Making changes in our lives will primarily affect only us, and not necessarily those around us. Although, we are the only one responsible for improving ourselves. This should be a life-long endeavor – climbing to successively higher levels of consciousness. Climbing requires action supplied by the right kind of energy.
  5. It is a heady concept, our autonomous self versus being in relationship with others. We should always be aware of the difference. Among other things, it helps us to set appropriate and beneficial boundaries of responsibility. Know that you have a relationship with yourself.
  6. Marriage is not the holy grail of existence. Our relationships with God and ourselves are equally, if not more important. Marriage is meant to be an aid in this phase of our existence – as a model of the kind of intimate relationship God wants to have with us, it’s not as spiritually intimate, but rich in physical togetherness.
  7. Divorce leaves wounds that initially hurt, but can be healed leaving a scar of sadness. You have to live through the pain – really live and go on with life.
  8. It is imperative that you release your ex-spouse from spiritual, physical, emotional, material, and marital obligations. It requires different levels of love and acceptance than was required during the marriage to actually release yourself to create a new, improved life. Holding on to anger and hate only holds you in time-inhibiting growth.
  9. Your biggest deficits/failings can become your most cherished blessings/rewards with the correct understanding that “all” is to be for our benefit. These things often cause you to learn and grow the most. This wisdom can become a valuable privilege/blessing when given to others.
  10. What you do not learn, you WILL revisit.

Most important – a therapeutic/supportive setting is required to allow honesty, accurate, objective feedback about perceptions and actions to enable growth to occur.