As my marriage slowly imploded, I admit thinking that my life was supposed to be completely different.  I began analyzing more than my relationship with my, then husband, but also I evaluated my career, friends and future. 

Now that I'm single, I can see a few things that were formerly out of perspective.  I realize when happily married, we are blissfully ignorant to the frustrations one may experience during divorce. 

The ole, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it.", keeps us from overanalyzing our life's current direction. 

While that's generally a good thing, it does omit the opportunity to recognize a bigger picture encompassing positive personal changes. 

In other words, most of us experience certain events in our life that may be awful or difficult, but provide a reason for a life change initiated by what would otherwise be deemed an over-analyzation; but actually a necessary review of one's life direction.

Once a marriage ends, life can seem very broken and knowing what needs fixing and what doesn't isn't always easy. 

Knowing what things really need modifications and what triggers spur unnecessary change in the face of emotional hardship is confusing.   I realized that in the wake of sadness, anticipation and fear, common emotions following divorce, it's not unusual to want to change many things about ourselves that aren't beneficial to change.  Rather, they're reactions to the inability to control and expedite a long, arduous process of moving forward with the rest of our life.  

What are some common triggers to unnecessary change?

  • adultery
  • financial hardship
  • spouse's unwillingness to negotiate
  • spouse's irrational behavior or demands
  • abuse
  • dishonesty
  • addiction
  • insufficient support or settlement
  • housing problems

Many of these issues during divorce can further a divide with your soon-to-be-ex.  Sometimes considering your involvement in such issues can improve negotiations or relationship problems between your spouse, family or friends.  Accepting reasonable blame or responsibility for the problems in your divorce and life can help you (and your spouse) process the varied Stages of Divorce.  

However, sometimes you are simply on the receiving end of such behavior or complications.  This means that when you realize you're only responsible for your own behavior and actions and can't actually change others, you may be inclined to initiate changing something about yourself in an effort to control and extinguish the problem.  

Not only does this burden you, but it's less likely to provide efficient solutions and a positive outcome.   Instead, making changes as a response to someone else's bad behavior usually leaves you feeling less empowered.  Worse yet, initiating such changes drains you of energy and optimism to improve the issues of your own making.

A divorce settlement of emotional baggage

Speak with a counselor or therapist who can help you distinguish between your problems and the problems of others.  Speaking with friends and family may not be helpful here.  Knowing you are going through such an emotionally charged event, such as divorce, most loved ones will be inclined to tell you what you want to hear rather than what is therapeutically helpful.  In some cases, it may actually be the opposite.  Depending on who you speak to, there may be considerable bias that causes the person to place excessive blame on you for behavior of someone else.  

During times of exhaustion and stress, it may be difficult to differentiate helpful advice from advice given to make you feel better or worse.  Despite professional guidance in this matter, it's very likely that you will still maintain a dialogue with others regarding your situation.  Always consider your source and don't allow others to wholly influence your decision-making.  

Making the right changes 

A major life correction is included FREE of charge in most divorces.  It's inevitable.  While some spouses live in "separate worlds" during the latter part of their marriage - changes in finances, housing, dating and outlook still force us to take a good long look down the road of possibilities. 

Most of us start a new journey with hopeful anticipation that we are on the way to personal happiness, freedom of marital woes and a better future.  Little do we know what is around the corner, waiting for us, waiting to strip us of our positive energy and renewed sense of improvements until we achieve what we seek.  

A divorce hazing

Before we can accept our new, better life, many of us experience personal unhappiness, dissatisfaction and that realization that things are going to get worse before they get better.   It may be a little different for some of us, a little more or less in any one category, but generally we all suffer some sort of "divorce wake up call" that makes us question what the hell we were thinking when we decided just about everything that brought us to this point in our life.

Own it

Know what really holds you back from making your way through these hard times.  Get serious about making changes that need to be made, but you have always found excuses to avoid. 

You can't take responsibility for the behavior or choices of stupid people, unless you are the one who is being stupid.  And, let's face it, at the end of marriage and throughout divorce, we all have a little "stupid" flowing in our mind. 

So, accept it, change it and move on.  Don't get stuck acting like an idiot for the sake on not admitting when you're wrong.  That's just closed minded and the basis of what makes dumb people.  Don't be a dumb person.

Don't make opposing sides a definite enemy.  Just recognize that some people never change in a way you want and there isn't anything you can do about it.  Don't keep trying to make them see your side of things.  They won't.

Conversely, don't keep changing yourself to get on the same side of things either.  Some of us aren't the opposing type.  We want to agree and avoid confrontation.  But, the sad truth is that sometimes it's best to accept that regardless of former likeness, you now have opposing views that may not warrant hate for one another, but will never amount to agreement.

Move on

Enjoy making the right changes in your life.  They open your mind, eyes and perspective that otherwise you would never have experienced.  No, it won't all be good.  But, it will provide a great enlightenment and opportunity for self-improvement.  It's all in what you do with it that will make your new perspective as good or bad.  It's your choice.


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