Hope after Divorce

HopeThe emotional tidal wave of divorce leaves people with a wide range of emotions, including sadness, surprise, anger, anxiety, fear and feeling lost. Perhaps the most common emotion is a hopeless feeling. People ask the question: Is there hope after divorce? Is there hope for my life in the future?

The question is an honest, valid one because divorce is a ruthless, painful process. Research confirms that divorced people are more susceptible to physical illness than happily married couples, on average they live shorter lives and they are more prone to physical disorders, especially in the first year after divorce. The effects extend to children of divorce, who are more prone to truancy, depression, peer rejection, behavioural problems and academic struggles (Gottman, 1999).

Gloom and doom isn’t the only option after divorce. There is hope. In her study of over 1200 people over two decades, on divorce, Mavis Hetherington found some surprising results. She found that some individuals actually flourished after a divorce and that 20% of individuals fared extremely well in their careers, socially, as parents and in new marriages. Likewise, many children of divorce flourished as they became mature, responsible and focused adults. In both cases, those who flourished after divorce did so because of their divorce, not despite it (Hetherington, 2002).

So what are some things you can do to embrace a more hopeful future? Here are some tips:

  • View your divorce as an opportunity to grow individually and in your relationships with others.
  • Find wisdom in trusted friends, family members or counselor as you make decisions that will impact your life for a long time.
  • Rediscover and define your moral values. Write them down and allow them to be your compass in the storm of your overwhelming emotions.
  • Set some goals. What are you passionate about and who do you want to be? Dream big for your future!
  • Don’t expect the road to your meaningful life to be a straight line. You’ll have challenges along the way.
  • Make use of the resources around you. Don’t isolate – engage others in your dreams and engage in helping them achieve theirs.
  • Allow yourself to be surprised. Sometimes the greatest relational and personal gifts are the ones we never would have expected.


Flourish after Your Divorce with a Divorce Mentor


Compiled from an article by Ken Rogers (Centre for Individual & Family Therapy (CIFT))

Posted by Sinta Ebersohn (Creator of fairdivorce.co.za – Stellenbosch)