Love, Self

5 Ways To Move On From Divorce When The Grief Is Eating You Alive

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How To Move On After Getting A Divorce When You Have A Broken Heart & Are Dealing With Grief

Learning how to move on after getting a divorce can be difficult, especially when you thought you were already over it.

However, a broken heart can stay broken for years after you divorce, leaving you dealing with grief at unexpected times. 

RELATED: 7 Ways To Reinvent Your Life After Divorce (Even If You Still Love Your Ex)

For the first couple of years of my marriage, my husband noticed that I would get grumpy around Thanksgiving, despite having wonderful plans for the holiday.

He finally brought it to my attention. And after some careful thought, I realized I was grumpy because I had married my first husband around Thanksgiving.

I had been relapsing to divorce grief each Thanksgiving!

Divorce grief relapses are fairly common. They don’t necessarily mean that you’re not over your divorce.

They just signal there’s still a little more accepting you need before you can fully heal.

Learning how to get over someone you loved and move on after a grueling divorce process is no easy fear.

Your broken heart needs time and acceptance to heal. 

Acceptance is the final stage of grief. The rest include denial, pain and fear, bargaining, guilt, and depression.

To reach acceptance, you experience most — if not all — these stages and, sometimes, you experience them multiple times.

And the thing about divorce is that there is a multitude of things to grieve.

Some of these things are obvious and some are less so.

It’s when you get through the known, obvious bits of grief that you’ll typically feel you’re getting over it ending, which is why it can feel so disconcerting to have a divorce grief relapse.

Instead of immediately beginning to worry that maybe you’re not really over your divorce and that you’re headed back to the misery of healing again, there is a solution.

Here are 5 strategies to try so you can move on from getting a divorce when grief and heartbreak continue to take over your life. 

1. Recognize it for what it is

We all grow and change based on the experiences we have and our reactions to them.

When you find yourself grieving your divorce again after you thought you’d fully moved on, what you’re facing is an opportunity to grow and appreciate yourself more.

It’s because you’re in a different place now that you’re able to heal something new.

This new thing went undetected when you did all that hard work to get over your divorce.

Now you can heal the nuances of grief that were originally pushed to the side.

Now you can deal with your divorce grief relapse and release the baggage you didn’t realize you had. And when you do, you’ll feel much lighter.

2. Be patient with yourself

Just like with the grief you experienced when your marriage ended, you can’t force yourself to get over the grief you’re feeling now.

You must choose to go through the hurt and find acceptance again.

The good thing is that this time, your entire life isn’t needing to be reorganized while you’re working to find acceptance.

Now, you can be patient with yourself and focus a bit better, which will make learning the lesson waiting for you much easier.

RELATED: 19 Critical Hacks For Getting Up, Moving On, And Getting Over Your Heartbreak

3. Take care of yourself

Dealing with divorce grief takes effort. Remember how exhausted you felt when you were dealing with your divorce?

Make sure you take care of the basics. Eat well. Drink enough water. Exercise. Get enough sleep.

Doing so will help you manage your life after divorce and give you the physical support you need to process your divorce grief relapse.

4. Write about it

Research has shown that journaling about your emotions and how you interpret them can help you process them more quickly and lower your distress about them.

This can be a powerful tool for you to more quickly come to a new level of acceptance about your divorce.

5. Get support

But don’t think you have to do all this work on your own.

Getting a divorce takes a mental and emotional toll on you and there are plenty of other people who have been through it and have relapsed more than once.

And that’s the key. You want to talk to a friend, family member, or divorce professional who has been through this themselves.

They’ll know what it’s like and have practical suggestions for how you can find your way through this blip of grief you’re experiencing.

Having a relapse of divorce grief is a natural part of continued growth and healing after a divorce.

When I dealt with my Thanksgiving-triggered divorce grief relapse, I realized that I felt sorry for the 19-year-old woman/girl who made the decision to get married.

She was doing the best she knew how, but she surely didn’t know enough.

Chances are, as you work through your divorce grief relapse, that you’ll discover another facet of yourself too.

One that you can feel good about acknowledging and accepting so you can let the grief pass and get back to living the new, wonderful life that you’ve created for yourself.

RELATED: How To Move On After Divorce When It's Tearing You Apart Inside

Dr. Karen Finn is a divorce and life coach. Her writing on marriage, co-parenting and divorce has been published on MSN, Yahoo! and eHarmony among others. You can learn more about Karen and her work helping people work through divorce grief at

This article was originally published at Dr. Karen Finn's blog. Reprinted with permission from the author.