Last Updated on August 31, 2023 by Lori Pace
You make the decision to marry with the expectation that your spouse will be there for you forever. But, life is unexpected and sometimes your marriage takes another turn. You are too caring and the guilt of divorce starts to stress you out. However, don’t get it wrong, divorce guilt can result even when the marriage is in the best interests of both parties. So, how can you cope with it?
Why Is Divorce Guilt So Common?
There are many reasons why divorce can cause guilt. There is an expectation that you will be loyal and faithful for the rest of your life when you settle down and marry. Divorce guilt is a result of breaking the promise, “Till death do we part.”
You may feel guilty if you are wishing for a divorce, but you know your partner won’t want one. Because your feelings have changed and your partner is devastated, you may feel guilty about ending your marriage.
You may feel guilty about wanting to divorce. This could also be due to concern for your children. Even if your home isn’t perfect, you know that divorce can cause significant disruptions in the life of your child.
The Role Of Guilt In Divorce
Guilt is a natural reaction to divorce. You might be asking yourself, “Why am I feeling guilty about moving on?” It could be that you are a rational, kind person with empathy and compassion for others. You might feel guilt about hurting your spouse even if you want the divorce.
Guilt can be a learning experience. Perhaps you’re having trouble coping with divorce because of regrets over something you did. Maybe you failed to communicate with your spouse or tried too hard to resolve marital problems.
Perhaps you were involved in an affair that caused your marriage to fall apart. These things can help you learn what to avoid in the future. This will ultimately lead to happier relationships.
Is It Normal To Have Regrets And Guilt After Divorce?
Although regret following divorce is not common for everyone, it is quite common. Over 2,000 adults were surveyed and 32% regretted the divorce. This means that 68% of respondents didn’t regret their divorce. However, nearly one-third of those polled did.
This is not the norm if you end up regretting your divorce years later. According to the same survey, 67% of respondents would prefer to be happy alone than in an unhappy marriage. This is good news because it means that you can move past any feelings of guilt or regret about your divorce, even if they were triggered by your unhappy marriage.
Although it may take time to overcome divorce regret, eventually you will be able move on from the initial guilt. However, sometimes you might regret divorcing, particularly if you feel guilty about the fact that you could have saved the marriage.
Ways To Cope With Divorce Guilt
Support Your Former Spouse In Co-Parenting
Divorce guilt can arise if you worry about your children’s well-being if you have children. If you feel this way, try to make an effort to establish a healthy relationship of co-parenting with your ex-spouse.
You can decrease the stress in the lives of your children by putting aside your own drama and working together. You may find that even though your marriage is over, you are still trying to make the best possible for your children.
Learn From Your Mistakes
Although it can be difficult to accept the fact that your marriage ended because of mistakes made, you will eventually learn to accept that life will continue. You can find the silver lining by trying to look at the positive side of the situation.
Despite the fact that your marriage didn’t work out, you probably learned valuable lessons about relationships and life. This knowledge will help you avoid making the same mistakes again.
Focus On Self-Improvement
It’s helpful to learn from the mistakes that lead to divorce guilt, but it is also important to take those lessons and put them into practice. You can make positive changes if your divorce was caused by your communication issues, unhealed Trauma, and infidelity.
Perhaps you should seek counseling or try to communicate more effectively. No matter what your situation, self-improvement is possible.
Use a Journal to Express Your Emotions
It can be very therapeutic to write about guilt from divorce. You might not feel comfortable sharing your feelings with others, but writing can help you release some guilt. Some people process their thoughts better if they write them down, rather than expressing them out loud.
Reach Out For Support When You Have Divorce Guilt
You might not be a writer but you need a friend to support you through difficult times. Reach out to that friend you trust and can talk to about anything. You may find that they can help you to see your guilt about divorce in a positive light. If you believe you are 100% responsible, your friend might help you see the situation objectively and look at the joint blame between you, your ex-spouse, and yourself.
Keep In Mind That Kids Want Their Parents To Be Happy
While guilt over a divorce can be triggered by concerns about children, it is important to remember the good things. Your children will likely pick up on any conflict or tension in a marriage. Your kids will be happier if you divorce. This may help you to reduce your guilt about divorce.
Forgive Yourself When You Have Divorce Guilt
Everybody makes mistakes. It is okay to forgive others. Perhaps you have had to forgive a relative or friend who hurt you. This is the right time to forgive yourself. Recognize that your marriage may have been flawed. But you can make amends and prevent yourself from repeating the same mistakes.
Ignore Divorce Stigma
People feel guilty about divorcing because ending a marriage is considered a failure. Divorce has been stigmatized culturally as unacceptable and immoral. Negative stigmas should be ignored, even if they are from friends and family. Sometimes marriages end. However, you can still live a fulfilling life and accomplish good things even if you are divorced.
Reassure Yourself That It Was The Right Decision
It’s easy to get caught up in the mistakes you made when you are dealing with emotions related to divorce. However, it is important that you remind yourself that the decision was right. Recall the reasons you divorced your spouse and remember that they had legitimate reasons. This will allow you to let go of your guilt and start living the life you want.