Guest Post: Small steps of Recovery

Divorce is like a death but with the corpse still walking around. You have to see the ex at birthday parties, school programs, graduations and weddings. It’s hard to know how to handle these types of problematic situations and harder still to know how to handle yourself as you muddle your way through them. It’s difficult enough to have had your life ripped down the middle by a divorce. Whether you were the initiator or not, the
pain is still there.

There are so many decisions to be made. Do you stay in the house you lived in while you were married? Everywhere you look there are reminders of your once-happy marriage. Do you take down all the pictures of your ex, who is in fact, your children’s father? Or do you just put up a gallery of framed photographs on the walls of the children’s rooms of scenes that they shared with their dad? In either situation, it’s most unnatural. There is no Emily Post Handbook on post-divorce decorating etiquette.

Recovery from the multifaceted life-change of divorce is a step-by-step undertaking. You don’t have to accomplish it all at once. But as you begin to take small steps of recovery, the old wounds begin to heal a little at a time. If you can keep making small changes in your everyday life and everyday thinking, after awhile you will begin to see that you are reaching the summit of a once-insurmountable mountain of dilemmas,
worries and logistical problems.

Where to Live.

Where you decide to live is up to you. Some newly separated people find it therapeutic to find a new apartment and start over there. But when there are children in the mix, this is a little bit more difficult. Still, a new space – once it has been inhabited and organized, is helpful in moving on.  Look at being on your own as the opportunity to finally run your life the way that you’ve always wanted to.

If you decide to stay in the original home you lived in during the marriage, maybe you could move the furniture around a little at a time. Or you can take down that awful painting that your ex was so fond of. Make your own changes – conscience free – because now it is your world.   Not his.


Mutual friends often take sides. Women, however, are less inclined to unload their baggage to friends, co-workers and acquaintances. This is the better choice because, no matter what you may say in your own defense, people are going to make their own judgments.  If an ex-husband makes slanderous accusations about you to friends, there is very little need to rebut them. A simple, “There are two sides to every story,” defense is adequate.  If an ex-husband runs around badmouthing you to everyone in your sphere of influence, those people will usually figure it
out. Your actions and dignity speak much more than mere slanderous statements.  Trust in the process. You will emerge as the kinder, more rational party.


Now that you are on your own again, begin creating your own traditions, such as what you do on your birthday or Christmas or any holiday that used to be mutually shared. Don’t worry about getting all the old ornaments to the Christmas tree, except for those few that have special sentimental value. Buy new ones that signify the new you.

When you look back a year from now, you will begin to see a new and better person emerging from her divorce. You will see a woman with her own panache, living in a place that reflects her individualized style. Eventually, the past will fade into a manageable compartment of your brain that you only have to re-visit when you and the children are together with your ex.

If your ex tries to portray himself as better than you or throws little verbal darts at you at every opportunity, ignore it and invest your energy elsewhere. Be a woman successful in your ownright because – as every wise, divorced woman learns: Success is your best revenge.

Bio. Jenna Pope has been writing short stories, articles, novellas, and vignettes for the past 10 years.  More information at



Filed under Divorce, Divorce Support, positive thinking, Post Divorce, self-esteem

4 responses to “Guest Post: Small steps of Recovery

  1. Thank you for writing this. I needed to read it this morning, because I was sitting here looking at the walls of the house and there are tears aplenty over sort of everything. Just thank you.

  2. Thank you for your post. I myself is going through a rough divorce. I’m close to giving birth to our 1st child and thing aren’t looking great. I’m trying to keep positive. I feel I’m not alone going through a divorce. 😦

  3. Nic

    That was a great post!:)

  4. Toni

    This was an extremely helpful post as I sit here in my living room looking around at what will stay and what will go.. I know the things that I will take my emotional well-being,the happy times and my sense of self worth.. It is growing each day and it started when I spoke up…

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