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Are You Enjoying Your Life After Divorce?

life after divorce


Are You Enjoying Your Life After Divorce?

How is YOUR life after divorce?

While on her deathbed, some 30 years after my parents divorced, my mother said, “Damn it! I wanted to outlive the bastard!”

My mother was a very funny woman and those of us who knew her, knew that she was joking. But then again, those of us who knew her, also knew she was not joking. My mother never completely moved on from the pain of an unhappy marriage and ultimate divorce from my father.

For years after they split, my mother could find ways to refer the conversation back to what a louse my father had been. In all my years as a therapist, I was never able to convince her that counseling would help.

My mother grew up in an era when therapy was unheard of and when people didn’t “air their dirty laundry.” I don’t fault her: She was unquestionably a product of her time. If anything, it makes me sad that she suffered so much for so long.

I believe it’s part of what has propelled me to help others get on the other side of divorce and learn to stop making it their story; the lens through which they see themselves and the world.

I know it’s not always easy to get back on your feet emotionally after the dissolution of a marriage—especially if it was a long-term marriage, you’ve been left unexpectedly, or if you’ve been left for another. Of course, there are other factors that complicate the situation as well, such as children, finances and family, to name a few.

Yet, there is life after divorce and just about all of the people I have worked with go on to thrive. The one factor everyone who gets on the other side has in common is that they want to feel better. That’s why they seek help.

If you are past your divorce but not sure if you’re stuck in your recovery, take this quiz and find out:

Post Divorce Recovery Assessment

1.Do you find yourself sharing snipey, sarcastic comments about your ex (or soon-to-be-ex) with anyone and everyone who will listen (friends, neighbors, UPS driver, grocery checkout people)?

2. Do you find yourself replaying events with your ex over and over and over again in your mind?

3. Are you finding it hard to move into the next chapter of your life?
4. Do you sometimes wonder if you’re going crazy as a result of all the intense emotions you are experiencing?
5. Are friends and relatives and professionals telling you they think you need more support?

6. Are you isolating or feeling depressed and not doing anything to get to a better place?

7. Has your world gotten really small?

8. Has your legal divorce been over for a while* but your emotional divorce is dragging on?

9. Have people stopped calling you back?

10. Do your kids roll their eyes when you talk about their other parent?

If you answered “Yes” to three or more questions, you might be stuck.

Generally speaking, those getting adequate emotional support should be able to move on from the emotional divorce between 3 and 5 years from the time the legal divorce is final, depending on the circumstances. It’s certainly an option to suffer until the day you die, but is that what you really want?

I always recommend groups for healing because it can help immensely to know you’re not the only one feeling your feelings. Yet, local groups can be hard to find. If you’re interested in boosting your recovery by joining a phone group for four weeks starting June 1st, please email me at sends e-mail) today.

[Susan Pease Padua]

As a child of divorced parents, Susan knows first-hand how disruptive an unhappy marriage and subsequent marital dissolution can be. When her mother and father split in 1981 (on their 28th wedding anniversary), marriage counseling was unheard of and emotional divorce support virtually nonexistent. Her own experience, combined with years of working with couples in distress – both in striving to save their marriage or transition out of it – led Susan to become passionate about offering support to people at perhaps one of the most crucial junctures in their lives. In 2000, Susan founded the Transition Institute of Marin and began providing information and counseling to this underserved population. Books Eight years later, Susan wrote, Contemplating Divorce, A Step-by-Step Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Go (New Harbinger Publishing, Inc. © 2008), a book that provides objective guidance to those struggling in a rocky marriage as well as invaluable information on how to navigate the divorce process. Contemplating Divorce became a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller its first week in publication. In 2010, Susan completed a meditation book for those challenged by difficult emotions during and after divorce entitled, Stronger Day by Day, Reflections for Healing and Rebuilding After Divorce. Susan’s latest book, The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels, is a collaboration with journalist Vicki Larson. You can learn more about this project by clicking on The New I Do page. Susan has helped hundreds of people gain clarity in their relationships. Her private therapy practice consists of couples, individuals (local and distance therapy clients) and the many relationship or divorce support groups she runs. Susan in the Media As an often-featured writer for the Huffington Post Divorce page, Susan also writes a regular column for and Susan has been a guest on the CBS Early Show as well as numerous radio shows across the U.S. and Canada and has also been featured in: The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Psychology Today Magazine, Divorce Magazine, The View From the Bay and more.

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