Laura Miolla

Anger at your ex? Sure, that's a given. But hope, elation or even nostalgia? Now those are some unexpected feelings. Don't worry: They're all totally normal.

I still don’t know what to do with my rings now that I’m divorced. Every now and again, I still like to dig them out from where I had hidden them in the depths of my underwear drawer … and just remember what I used to feel back then. They’ve become a touchstone for the entire lifecycle of my marriage -- the initial giddy excitement … that turned into anticipation and comfort … which became boredom and disappointment … and finally, doubt and anger. And when you’re in that place of resentment and loss due to your divorce, it’s difficult to believe that you’ll ever feel anything different. But you do.

So, don’t be surprised when you find yourself experiencing a whole range of positive feelings related to your divorce. From my own experience and that of my divorce coaching clients, these 6 are the most common.

1.       Relief

Whether it is months or years, we all get stuck in that limbo period of confusion and doubt before finally making the decision to divorce. And when you finally do make that decision and when you are finally divorced, there is truly a feeling of sweet relief. No more indecision. You’re finally unstuck and moving forward.

2.       Elation

There aren’t too many times in your life when you feel elation, but this is one of them. The chains of an unfulfilling marriage are struck off and you are finally free.  You are free to be who you really are, free to do want you want to do and free to recreate your life on your own terms and no one else’s.  That’s elation.

3.       Hope

Once you close the door on your marriage, you can open the door of possibility. And there they are – all of your hopes and dreams waiting for you on the other side. They’ve always been there, but for some reason you haven’t opened that door in a very long time. So, indulge those dreams and create a vision of everything you want in your life now.

4.       Nostalgia

It sneaks up on you, but there it is when you least expect it (or when you dig out those rings from the underwear drawer). Nostalgia is complex. It can interpreted as sadness, but really it’s a warm feeling of cherished experiences. So, indulge in those memories of people, places and family traditions that were important to you … and appreciate the gifts they brought to your life. And remember, there are many more to come!

5.       Pride

Once the dust settles from your divorce, it’s easier to look back on yourself and your past with pride. Regardless of the fact that your marriage didn’t work, you had great experiences together, probably created wonderful children together and learned so much about yourself. Give yourself the credit you deserve.

6.       Confidence

Divorce isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. And once you’ve successfully run that marathon, you can do anything you set your mind to. Divorce tests you in ways you’d never expect … and getting through it shows you how truly capable you are. Use that confidence as you create the next chapter in your life.

Divorce is not one-dimensional and neither are you. So, don’t assume that your feelings will be one-dimensional either. Feel what you feel. And don’t fall for the stereotypical idea of what divorce should be – depression, loss or anger.  You will feel many things. And when those positive emotions surprise you, give yourself permission to indulge in them. That’s called living your life.

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