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Letting go of the Past After Divorce

Letting go of the Past After Divorce

You often hear about how hard it is to go through a divorce. Although enduring the legal process can be difficult, it can also serve as a distraction from what lies ahead: Painful emotions and memories which can be overwhelming and consuming. Although you probably have justifiable anger towards your ex and grief over how things ended, when you can't move on from negative feelings, you can't fully heal. Letting go of the past after divorce is not easy, but ultimately, it's the only way to move on.

Anger and Sadness

You don’t have to deny your emotions but letting them control you can be an unhealthy habit. Of course, you are going to have strong feelings when your divorce is over. Give yourself time to feel what you need to feel but do your best to be aware of how much energy you are devoting to negative thoughts and emotions. Dwelling on them too long can make it hard to stop. If you find you are ruminating and staying a dark place, it may be time to connect with someone else. Talking with close friends, joining a support group, or locating a therapist can all be good ways for you to get the encouragement and insight you need to change your thinking.

Your Environment

Depending on how your property was divided, you may be living in the same home you shared with your ex or in a completely new place. Either space can be filled with reminders of your life with your former partner. After the divorce, you may still have wedding gifts, your ring, and other mementos from your life together. Taking the time to unburden yourself of even small reminders of the past can be a good way to clear your mind and make room for better thoughts and feelings.


Sometimes the thought of forgiving your ex can feel like you are standing in front of a hundred-foot wall with no way around and no ladder. Depending on how your relationship functioned, you may think you have to pretend you are not angry with your ex just to avoid confrontation or being judged by others. You may also feel it is impossible to forgive them. The first person to forgive is you. Not because you are entirely to blame but because taking an honest look at your own participation and acknowledging your mistakes can help you let go of negative emotions. Forgiveness does not condone harmful acts or mean ignoring your feelings; it's about releasing what you can so that you don't stay by trapped by the pain of the past.


You can’t go back and change what has happened and revisiting painful memories over and over will not necessarily help you move forward. The time may come when you have to consciously decide if you want to remain on the subject of who was right and wrong or if you are willing to accept that the marriage is over and it is time to move towards your new life. By shifting your focus from past wrongs to a more positive future, you can acknowledge what you can't change, and put your energy towards moving away from the past.

At First Look Family Law, attorney and mediator Karyn Youso understands the pain of divorce and how hard it can be to release the past and move forward. Call us today to set up a free consultation and allow us to take a “first look” at your options and help you connect with the right resources for your situation.