Death and Divorce

  January 24, 2017

Let me make one thing clear – Divorce is not death.

You may feel like you’re dying inside and your whole world is falling apart, however divorce is not a fatal illness and the world is not coming to an end. Sometimes when I hear a comparison of divorce to death, it makes me upset because I refuse to let myself or my children believe that my marriage died and the world ended when their dad and I got divorced. I often hear divorcees or their friends and family say they need closure to move on after a divorce, comparing it to the need for closure when someone passes away.

What is closure? Closure comes from a Latin word meaning a conclusion or a finish. So, your friends and family want you to find closure because they are uncomfortable around the grief and sadness that you may be feeling.

They want you to “get over it”, “move on”, or “let it go”, because the sooner you do the sooner you will be back to your old self and that’s a more comfortable place for everyone. In my opinion and personal experience it doesn’t happen quite like that. You can’t just “wrap it up” and bring your sadness or grief to a closure or ending and just get back to your “old self”. Do you even want to get back there?

Maybe, just maybe, and I hope that you do, want to get to your “new self!” How do you do that?

During my own experience, I wasn’t seeking closure, I was seeking peace. Along with peace, I wanted to find my inner happiness. I also thought and believed my ex was seeking peace as well. In life, we all have our own journey,  and it is our responsibility to find what we are looking for.

To find what you are looking for after divorce, I recommend that you concentrate on four things:

  1. The actual facts that led to the Divorce. When did the breakdown of the marriage begin?
  2. Your role in the dissolution of your marriage. Acknowledge what you could have done differently.
  3. How did you and or your spouse try to make it work?
  4. Why will this decision be better for you in the long run?

If you understand your part in the ending of your marriage, change any of the behaviors that contributed to the cause, try to understand why your spouse acted as he/she did, and accept that you had no control over their behavior, then you can start to mend your heart and clear your mind. After my divorce, I clogged my mind with a lot of “what if’s”. What if, we went to counseling years ago?

What if, we spent more time communicating? What if, we spent more time just the two of us? I could go on and on, but that didn’t change anything. In search for peace and happiness I decided to just concentrate on how I could get there. I don’t believe my marriage was a death or a failure, instead, I look at it as lasting the 20 years it was supposed to last. No matter what you hear, divorce is a different process for everyone. It takes us all our own amount of time to feel the peace settle in our own hearts. I challenge you to give yourself the time you need at the pace comfortable for you. 

It wasn’t until five years later, when my ex went on a verbal rampage at me causing me to cry, yet again, that I looked at myself in the mirror and knew that I made the right decision to get a divorce. In the end, it doesn’t matter how long it takes, it just matters that you get there! Please, I ask, don’t compare your divorce to death and look for closure, rather, seek peace and happiness because your life is not ending it may actually be just beginning!

Catherine Shanahan is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst at My Divorce Solution who partners with Karen Chellew, LL. My Divorce Solution is committed to helping divorcing couples develop a transparent plan via a three-phase process to optimize the outcome of their divorce. Phase 1 is the development of the financial portrait.
215-486-8347 | 843-929-0399