How do you move on after a divorce?

-- Question for John --

I was married to a man for sixteen and a half years. I am now 39 and have been divorced for five years. My question is, after being married for so long, how do you pick up and go on? I thought for sure we were soulmates and would be together until one of us died. But that’s not how it is. So how do you put your trust in someone else and go on with your life?

-- Answer from John --

The only way to move on in your life and take it in a positive direction is to draw the positive lessons from what happened that will carry you forward in a positive direction. Unfortunately, most of us have a tendency to come to negative conclusions based on painful things like you have experienced. Such negative conclusions are based on incomplete understanding — and emerge from pain more as a self-protective cloak than as something that leads us to healing and freedom. There is a part of you that does want to break through the negative conclusions you have come to and move forward. That is your indomitable human spirit and strongly yearning heart. I support and encourage that part of you to take action to get what it wants.

There are many important lessons for you to learn from what happened that will enable you to not simply repeat the pain and be stuck in perpetual distrust of others. Often we only get to those lessons with the help of one or more mentors who can guide us. This might take the form of spiritual guidance, psychotherapy and counseling, or personal coaching. I have worked with women on recovery from a divorce and its emotional aftermath in my coaching practice, which I also do by phone if you are interested. In my experience, it takes a commitment of time and energy to focus on your growth and healing to move to the other side of this kind of thing.

I hope you will look for someone to get help from whom you find compatible and able to move you in a positive direction. And dedicate yourself to that journey. We cannot always do it by ourselves — and truly reaching out is a good thing — and when we need to go beyond our natural tendencies towards negative conclusions, we especially need outside perspective and enlightened assistance.

Don’t shortchange yourself or settle for an unfulfilled love life. You do deserve more. And with courageous action on your part, you can get it.