Cheryl H. Litzke, Ph.D., LMFT

   Counseling clients to restore relational balance and peace of mind


Grieving and Growing Through Divorce: 5 Steps to Weathering Your Heart's Winter

Posted on January 1, 2014 at 9:50 AM

In the winter, flowers die. Grass too. It all shrinks and shrivels—not because something was done wrong, but because it’s necessary for future growth. This, too, is the story of divorce.

But it doesn’t feel like it. Divorce doesn’t feel natural, like winter’s frost. It feels like a death, a terribly tragic, unbelievable, please-wake-me-from-this-nightmare death. That’s how many divorcees describe it, and they’re right to feel so broken. It means their hearts were truly invested.

Divorce isn’t always necessary, but when it is, it takes a toll on all parties involved. Often, even the meanest and most volatile couples are coming from a place of hurt and loss: loss of a valued investment and hurt over a perceived failure. The cocktail of emotion is enough to break down the sanest of the sane, the strongest of the strong. It truly is a type of death, so it must be mourned.

Accept that it is necessary

If, after soul searching and repeated consultation, you know divorce is necessary, open your heart fully to that realization. Part of the trauma of divorce is the barrage of what-ifs. What if I just need to try harder? What if I just need to be patient? What if I just need to be kinder/cooler/better/richer/skinnier/prettier/stronger? If it’s simply a matter of your impatience or lack of effort, a divorce may not be in order, but if the issue runs deeper than anything you could fix, lay the what-ifs aside and stand in your truth: This has to happen.

Give in to the sadness

Unfortunately, accepting the necessity of it all doesn’t erase pain. It’s going to hurt, and that’s okay. Don’t deny it. You can’t fully move on until you allow the rush of sadness and pain to pass through. Sure, you can hold it back for a while, but dams are only so strong. Allow it to flow without restriction so there is room for growth and renewal.

Take ownership

Ownership does not mean to internalize the dysfunction of the relationship. (Please don’t do that.) Ownership means to acknowledge your weaknesses, whatever they are, and see any contributions they may have made to the deterioration of the marriage. No, this isn’t fun work, but it is quite beneficial to the person you are becoming. Anyone can point and blame, but to see your own contribution is the only way to build a better, wiser version of yourself.

Search for the good and cherish it

Surely, it wasn’t all bad, was it? Whatever good that came from your marriage, whatever happiness you derived (no matter how short lived), cherish it. This makes it easier to forgive, if necessary, and easier to see that your ex isn’t the big, fat monster he or she may seem to be in the moment.

What’s done is done. Discrediting the happy memories doesn’t change the amount of time and energy you invested in the relationship. Remind yourself that it wasn’t a waste. Some level of good DID exist in your relationship. For that, give thanks.

See it a reclaiming of your happiness

When a divorce is necessary, the happiness has gone. This is your first step in reclaiming it. Congratulate yourself for that. It won’t be a quick or easy task, but it will pay off in the end. Far too many people go through life with their happiness stolen. They let other people, past experiences, and internal dialogue steal away their joy and hold it captive. You have chosen differently. That’s no small feat. Some would rather live in misery than try something new. You have been brave enough to choose the latter.

Believe in your decision. Believe in your resilience. Believe in your strength. It may not feel like it now, but know that flowers will grow again.


Bio: Nadirah Angail is an author, editor, and marriage and family therapist. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri and often blogs on love and relationships. She is the mother of two young children, but somehow finds the time to interact with readers on Facebook and Twitter. Visit to learn more.

Categories: None

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.


Reply Karen
11:01 PM on December 4, 2014 
How does one begin and continue to truly process this if they did not choose the Divorce themself" They other person used, abused and then totally disconnected leaving no options.
Reply Pevrovasia
8:06 PM on February 25, 2020 
cialis commercial actors list - prices viagra canada online pharmacy
cialis at age 70
generic viagra online
- cialis 10mg our newest member
cialis 25g
Reply upjowujgak
8:39 AM on March 6, 2020 
Use valsalva pseudogout, [URL= - buy cialis soft online[/URL - [URL= - mail order cialis[/URL - [URL= - best price progynova[/URL - [URL= - buy generic xtane[/URL - [URL= - eukroma plus cream lowest price[/URL - [URL= - aggrenox[/URL - aggrenox [URL= - buy distaclor cd uk[/URL - act: cialis soft online mail order cialis cheap progynova pills canada xtane buy eukroma plus cream without prescription aggrenox online pharmacy distaclor cd without pres nerve agranulocytosis; root, cialis soft online buying cialis canadian pharmacy progynova generic xtane lowest price eukroma plus cream for sale eukroma plus cream online canada aggrenox online canada distaclor cd distaclor cd canadian pharmacy thiosulfate reconstruction.
Reply ouvudoq
6:25 AM on March 21, 2020 
The reaccumulation, lodging [URL= - pharmacy[/URL - [URL= - cost of chloroquine tablets[/URL - [URL= - cheap chloroquine pills[/URL - chloroquine canada [URL= - buy plaquenil online canada[/URL - [URL= - buy chloroquine no prescription[/URL - [URL= - cytotec[/URL - [URL= - price of semenax[/URL - order semenax online c-morbidity; cheap pharmacy online canadian pharmacy chloroquine without prescription buy chloroquine online plaquenil chloroquine misoprostol online prices for semenax lit counter-pressure canada pharmacy online no script chloroquine without prescription cost of chloroquine tablets chloroquine canada plaquenil buy chloroquine on line chloroquine best price usa cytotec semenax dilators, travelling.
Reply Zarasoone
8:57 AM on April 9, 2020 
coronavirus npr - aralen
coronavirus real death toll
- coronavirus from
coronavirus africa
Reply ZliamZoort
3:45 AM on April 14, 2020 
Reply ZomerZok
9:19 PM on April 20, 2020 
Reply oKdLjBZmXauO
10:36 PM on April 25, 2020 
Reply buy viagra online
12:22 AM on May 25, 2020 
tadalafil, viagra - accidental viagra viagra 10mg or 20mg total topics
viagra generic availability - viagra for daily use free trial queries
has anyone ever taken 100 mg ov viagra and 25mg of viagra
Reply viagra generic
12:53 AM on May 30, 2020 
viagra information uk knowledge base - viagra erection canadian pharmacy viagra professional knowledge base
generic viagra for sale - subaction showcomments viagra smile online
viagra viagra leyton london
Reply 10 mg tadalafil generic
8:16 PM on May 30, 2020 
cialis viagra cheapest uk
cialis 20mg canada msn messenger
tadalafil generic cialis
- buy cheap cialis online
has anyone ever taken 100 mg ov viagra and 25mg of cialis
Reply viagra generic
6:40 AM on May 31, 2020 
viagra dongguk gallery - stendra vs viagra super active viagra 20mg
viagra without doctor prescription - viagra from canada cheap last post by
viagra information side effects started by
Reply Alanneite
9:48 PM on June 2, 2020 
buy female viagra buy levitra cymbalta coupon 30 mg baclofen 10 price where to buy diclofenac synthroid online paypal indocin cost tadalafil 5 mg mexico trazodone 75 mg tablets anafranil generic sildenafil 100mg tablets buy amoxicillin ventolin 50 mcg generic viagra cialis generic cialis tadalafil 20mg can you buy toradol over the counter accutane pills generic robaxin lasix water pills advair diskus 500 mcg
Reply Tedneite
10:36 PM on June 2, 2020 
trazodone drug sildenafil tablets 120 mg 125mg anafranil generic for cymbalta
Reply Amyneite
5:33 AM on June 3, 2020 
prozac fluoxetine
Reply Kianeite
2:46 PM on June 3, 2020 
generic anafranil
Reply Denneite
2:50 AM on June 4, 2020 
buy prednisone canada buy tadalafil online seroquel 400 mg baclofen tablet generic for indocin
Reply Carlneite
2:53 AM on June 4, 2020 
generic for synthroid cost robaxin 750 mg amoxicillin 500 mg capsules female pink viagra levitra 20mg
Reply Alanneite
6:57 AM on June 4, 2020 
prednisone amoxicillin 500mg capsules generic prozac tablet toradol over the counter canada buy prednisone online indocin sr 75 mg baclofen 30 mg tablet trazodone hydrochloride 100mg sildenafil 20 mg over the counter tadalafil price south africa ampicillin 500mg buy levitra buy propecia synthroid pharmacy tadalafil 10 mg over the counter lasix medicine cymbalta generic amoxicillin 500 mg tablet anafranil 25mg 7034005 diclofenac
Reply Lisaneite
9:07 AM on June 4, 2020 
trazodone discount coupon