The Gift Of Splitting Up: 9 Secrets About Finding Love After Divorce

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happy couple on a date

Divorce may be one of the most difficult experiences of your life. And the prospect of finding love after divorce can feel nothing short of daunting.

Do you really want to get out there and risk your heart again? Are you ready to let yourself feel vulnerable and open to love?

What if you knew that your divorce is actually one of the most profound things that you'll ever experience?

Whether you're still holding onto hope from your marriage, or feeling hopeless about your prospects moving forward, you can forge a new path and a more fulfilling, lasting partnership.

The secret to finding love after divorce is using the end of your marriage as a powerful tool of learning and discovery.

RELATED: The 3 Biggest Dating Mistakes Women Make After Getting Divorced

Here are 9 secrets about finding love after divorce.

1. It's perfectly OK to feel like a failure.

You didn’t get married thinking that things wouldn't work out. You believed that this was your partner for life — that's why you got married in the first place.

Whatever the circumstances that caused you to call it quits, part of you probably feels like you did something wrong.

You weren’t committed enough. You didn’t try hard enough. You didn’t see the obvious signs that something was wrong.

Whatever happened, you're no longer the same person you were before, and you have to reconcile your hopes and dreams with this new reality.

Allow yourself to feel sorry for yourself. Take time to grieve. Feel all of your feelings.

It may feel like you'll never feel happy again, but the only way out is to go through the experience. There's nothing wrong with any of your feelings. They're not bad. They're human.

Allow yourself to feel the full range of your emotions, so you can release yourself from the guilt and shame.

2. Compassion and forgiveness are your friends.

The truth is that if you knew how to do things differently, you would have. You were doing your best with the resources you had, and so was your partner

You may feel angry or judgmental now, but holding on to those feelings is only going to keep you stuck in the past. The only way to release that judgment is to develop compassion for yourself and your ex.

Forgiveness releases you energetically from the relationship. It requires a conscious choice to release your hurt, anger, and resentment, whether or not your partner deserves it.

It doesn’t condone or excuse bad behavior, nor should you just forget what happened.

Forgiveness and compassion for yourself allow you to accept that you're not perfect, but perfectly human. Accepting yourself as you are will open the door to changing what no longer works for you, moving forward.

As long as you're holding on to anger and resentment, you're stuck in the past and blocking yourself from finding love.

3. Your struggles make you stronger.

Anyone who lifts weights at the gym knows that without resistance, you cannot build muscle.

Emotional strength and resilience come from having experienced something difficult and overcoming it. Courage comes from facing the issues in your life and not backing down or giving up.

Life will always have challenges, and divorce is one of the greatest challenges you will go through.

The internal strength you discover will give you the endurance to keep on keeping on, so you can learn and grow from your heartbreak.

4. Pain can be your motivation.

Your struggles in life can motivate you to change. You don’t take on a new exercise program and a healthy diet because you already feel energized and strong.

You make changes because you get bad news from your latest bloodwork, or because you feel sluggish and uncomfortable in your clothes.

Divorce can motivate you in the same way. Look closely at your relationship patterns and strategies, and make some upgrades.

The key is using your desire to avoid the pain of the past to motivate you to get it right next time.

Ultimately, the good times are the reward for you doing the work to change your past patterns. You can create a much more loving dynamic between you and your future partner.

5. Taking responsibility for your half gives you the power to change.

You're not 100 percent responsible for your marriage ending. However, you're 100 percent responsible for your 50 percent.

Whether you're taking too much responsibility for what happened or blaming your partner, taking responsibility for your half gives you the power to change.

You're not responsible for someone else’s behavior, but you're responsible for the choices you made. Beware of justifying your behavior because your partner did something you didn’t like.

If you're having trouble knowing what is yours and what belongs to your partner, use the responsibility equation.

It goes like this: "When someone has a problem with you, it's their problem. When you have a problem with someone, it's your problem."

Own your stuff but don’t blame yourself for your partner’s failings.

RELATED: Why I Divorced The Woman I'm Still Madly In Love With

6. Your marriage can teach you about love.

Your life experiences can be valuable teachers. They can show you where you need to develop better skills or strategies.

Your experiences reveal areas where you become more emotionally mature or resilient. They also shine a light on areas where you've grown and became a better partner.

Examining your marriage and what you learned from it — or what you still need to learn — will move you forward on your path to the lasting love you desire.

It can also help you feel gratitude for your ex because, without that experience, you wouldn’t have become the person you are today.

This empowering step keeps you from feeling like a victim, so you can create meaning from the events that motivated you to change for the better.

It's a natural human tendency to look back on past events and find patterns and meanings in those events. When you focus on learning and growing from those events, you can never be a victim to your circumstances.

7. Get clear on the type of relationship you want.

By now, you’re probably clear on what you don’t want to repeat from the mistakes of the past. However, that's not a good blueprint for creating something new.

What you really want is not the opposite of what you don’t want. Instead, create a vision of love and relationships that inspires you and brings you joy.

Be crystal clear on the type of relationship you desire. This way, you can deselect anyone who doesn’t fit your vision.

Focus on the dynamics you desire between you and your partner. Don’t get caught up in unimportant details, like height or interests. Your heart doesn’t care what color someone’s eyes are or whether they like the same books you do.

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Instead, focus on how you two fit together and whether or not you have the ability to navigate conflict together.

Chemistry is important, but it shouldn’t be the most important factor. Just because you have a lot of chemistry doesn’t mean that you’ll share the same values.

8. Approach love and dating in a whole, new way.

You’re not going to find a healthier love by using the same strategies you used to find your ex.

Dating after divorce is a different experience altogether, because you're no longer the same person.

You’ll want to upgrade your dating strategies and date like a grown-up.

Uplevel your strategies by dating a lot of different people. This gives you the opportunity to practice your new relationship skills.

Don’t dive in too quickly and never give a stranger the benefit of the doubt. Use dating to discover where you still have room to grow and improve.

Slowing things down and dating more people speeds up the process of finding a new love that lasts.

Take your time before jumping into exclusivity and get to know someone before making a deeper commitment.

If you commit quickly, you’ll spend a lot of time in short-term relationships and always feel like you have to start over again.

This doesn’t mean that there are any guarantees when you do make a commitment, but you’ll be in a better place to learn and grow from your experiences.

Choose from a combination of your head and your heart, and you’ll always be choosing wisely.

9. Remember that love is always a risk worth taking.

There are no guarantees when it comes to love. None of these steps will protect you from ever being hurt again.

But they will give you the tools to keep moving forward into healthier, more loving relationships along the way.

Human beings are social creatures by nature. Your soul craves a connection with a special person.

Don’t let fear stop you from opening your heart and taking a risk on love.

You can certainly be single and happy, but if you really want to thrive in life, you’ll want to share your life with the love of your life.

Finding love after divorce is possible for you.

In order to make it last, be sure to take the steps to heal your heart, learn from your past stumbles, and discover gratitude for your divorce.

You may find that your split with your ex was the greatest gift you could have received.

RELATED: 4 Freeing Signs You're Ready To Start Dating Again Post-Divorce

Orna and Matthew Walters have been soulmate coaches for over a decade and helped thousands of readers create long-lasting love. Download a complimentary copy of their ebook, "Recognizing Mr. Right," along with a guided program on self-acceptance from their website.

This article was originally published at Creating Love On Purpose. Reprinted with permission from the author.