No one gets married expecting to get divorced. No matter how many warning signs there are, it’s always a shock when it actually happens.
And once the initial shock wears off, reality starts to set in. One of the first emotions that newly divorced people often feel is guilt.
Guilt for hurting their spouse, guilt for betraying their wedding vows, guilt for breaking up their family.
If you’re feeling guilty about your divorce, know that you’re not alone. Here are 13 ways to cope with the guilt so you can move on with your life.
Check Out: How To Get A Divorce Without Going To Court
In This Article
Why is it that so many people feel guilty and ashamed after getting divorced?
Guilt after a divorce occurs for a number of reasons. Maybe you feel like you failed at something that was supposed to be forever. Or maybe you think you could have tried harder to make the marriage work.
It’s also common to feel guilty about the way the divorce might affect your children. You might worry that they’ll blame you for the divorce or that it will damage their future relationships.
And then there’s the guilt that comes from betraying your spouse. If you had an affair, you might feel guilty about the pain you caused them.
No matter what the cause of your guilt, it’s important to deal with it in a healthy way so it doesn’t hold you back from moving on with your life.
What role does guilt play in a divorce?
Guilt can play a big role in a divorce, both during and after the process. For some people, guilt is what motivates them to try to salvage the marriage. They might go to counseling or therapy and do whatever they can to save the relationship.
For others, guilt is what leads to feelings of regret after the divorce is final. They might look back on their marriage and wish they had tried harder to make it work.
And for some people, guilt is what prevents them from moving on after the divorce. They might dwell on their mistakes or dwell on what could have been. This can make it difficult to move forward with your life and can prevent you from finding happiness again.
Feeling guilty is a common response after getting divorced
When divorcing couples are asked how they feel after the divorce, the most common response is “I feel guilty.” In fact, guilt is so common that it’s often referred to as the “divorce guilt.”
Guilt is a normal emotion to feel after a divorce. It’s important to understand that you’re not alone in feeling this way and that there are healthy ways to deal with the guilt, so it doesn’t hold you back.
If you’re feeling guilty about your divorce, here are 13 ways to cope with the guilt and move on:
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
The first step is to acknowledge that you’re feeling guilty. It’s okay to feel guilty. You don’t have to feel guilty about feeling guilty.
Just let yourself feel whatever it is you’re feeling without judgment. Once you’ve acknowledged your feelings, you can start to deal with them.
2. Talk to a therapist or counselor
If you’re having trouble dealing with your feelings on your own, professional help may be a good option for you.
A therapist or counselor can provide impartial support and guidance as you work through your emotions.
Talking to someone who isn’t emotionally invested in your situation can be very helpful.
3. Write Down Your Thoughts and Feelings
Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you understand and process them better.
Journaling can also be therapeutic and help you work through your emotions in a healthy way.
If you’re not sure what to write about, try answering these questions:
-Why do I feel guilty?
-What role did I play in the breakup of my marriage?
-How is guilt affecting my life?
-What are some healthy ways I can deal with my guilt?
4. Find Support From Friends or Family Members
If you don’t want to talk to a professional, talking to friends or family members who will listen without judging can be helpful too.
These people can offer emotional support as well as advice from their own experiences.
Just make sure to choose someone who won’t try to talk you out of getting divorced or make you feel worse about your situation.
5. Guilt Is Normal but Don’t Let It Control You
Remember that feeling guilty is normal. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that you made the wrong decision.
Guilt is an emotion, not a fact. Don’t let it control you or prevent you from moving on with your life.
6. Forgive Yourself
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to forgive yourself. This isn’t easy, but it’s important.
Holding onto guilt and self-blame will only make it harder for you to move on. Forgiving yourself doesn’t mean forgetting what happened or excusing your behavior.
It just means letting go of the anger and resentment you’re feeling towards yourself so you can move forward.
7. Focus on the Positive
When you’re feeling guilty, it’s easy to dwell on the negative aspects of your divorce. But try to focus on the positive as well.
Remember all the reasons why you decided to get divorced in the first place. And think about all the good things that have come from it, even if they’re small.
Focusing on the positive will help you feel better about your decision and make it easier to move on.
8. Learn From Your Mistakes
Use your divorce as a learning experience. What went wrong in your marriage? What could you have done differently? What can you do to avoid making the same mistakes in future relationships? If you can learn from your mistakes, your divorce will not have been for nothing.
9. Avoid Blaming Yourself or Your Ex
It’s easy to blame yourself or your ex for the divorce, but doing so will only make you feel worse.
It’s important to remember that a divorce is almost never solely one person’s fault. There are usually many factors involved.
So instead of blaming yourself or your ex, try to accept that the divorce was the best thing for both of you.
10. Don’t Let Guilt Hold You Back
Don’t let guilt prevent you from doing things you want to do or from moving on with your life.
Just because you’re feeling guilty doesn’t mean you have to sit around and wallow in it.
You can still live your life and be happy, even though you might feel guilty about getting divorced.
11. Seek Professional Help if Necessary
If you’re finding it difficult to cope with your guilt, seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can provide guidance and support as you work through your emotions. They can also offer coping strategies for dealing with guilt in a healthy way.
12. Allow Yourself to Grieve
Getting divorced is a big loss, even if it’s what you wanted. So it’s normal to feel sad, scared, and angry.
Allow yourself to grieve the loss of your marriage. Don’t try to bottle up your emotions or pretend they don’t exist. Acknowledging them will help you move through them in a healthy way.
13. Seek Closure if You Need it
If you’re having trouble letting go of your marriage, seek closure if possible. This might mean having a final conversation with your ex to say everything you need to say.
Or it could involve writing a letter to them (even if you don’t send it). Doing something to achieve closure can help you move on and start the healing process.
Getting divorced is a difficult and emotional process. And it’s normal to feel guilty about it, even if it’s what you wanted. But try to remember that guilt is an emotion, not a fact.
Don’t let it control you or prevent you from moving on with your life. Seek professional help if necessary, and take things one day at a time. With time, the guilt will fade and you’ll be able to move on.
Commonly asked questions about divorce and guilt
Q: I didn’t want the divorce, so why do I feel guilty?
A: Whether you wanted the divorce or not, it’s normal to feel guilty about it. After all, it’s a big loss. And even if the divorce is what’s best for both of you, that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.
Q: Does everyone feel guilty after getting divorced?
A: No, not everyone feels guilty after getting divorced. But it’s a common emotion, especially if you didn’t want a divorce.
Q: I’m the one who asked for the divorce. Shouldn’t I feel guilty?
A: Many people who ask for divorce do feel guilty. But remember that a divorce is almost never solely one person’s fault.
There are usually many factors involved. So instead of blaming yourself, try to accept that the divorce was the best thing for both of you.
Q: I’m struggling to cope with my guilt. What should I do?
A: If you’re finding it difficult to cope with your guilt, seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can provide guidance and support as you work through your emotions.
They can also offer coping strategies for dealing with guilt in a healthy way.
Q: I’m happy that my marriage is over. Does that mean I shouldn’t feel guilty?
A: No, it doesn’t mean that. Just because you’re happy that your marriage is over, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
This is because divorce is a big loss. So even if the divorce is what’s best for both of you, it’s still normal to feel sad and scared.
Q: I’m struggling to cope with my guilt. What should I do?
A: If you’re struggling to cope with your guilt, seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can provide guidance and support as you work through your emotions. They can also offer coping strategies for dealing with guilt in a healthy way.
Q: Will the guilt go away?
A: With time, the guilt will fade and you’ll be able to move on. But it might take some time. And it’s normal to feel guilty about your divorce, even years after it happens.
How do you move past guilt to approach your divorce fairly?
It is common to feel guilty during or after a divorce. You may be experiencing grief for the loss of the relationship, feelings of betrayal, or even self-doubt.
It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and work through them in a healthy way.
One way to do this is to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor. They can provide guidance and support as you work through your emotions.
What are some helpful online resources for dealing with divorce and guilt?
There are a number of helpful online resources for dealing with divorce and guilt. Here are a few:
–Divorce Care: This website offers support and resources for people going through divorce.
–Girlfriends in God: This website is a Christian women’s ministry that offers support and resources for those going through a divorce.
–National Domestic Violence Hotline: This website provides information and resources on domestic violence and its effects.