Happiness After Divorce

Becoming “Fully Alive” Through Divorce

For some people it’s the first gray hair, the death of an old pet or children moving off to college. These are “wake-up-call moments” where we realize time is passing. And nothing’s slowing it down. They’re watershed moments when we pause to assess our lives and check in with ourselves to see if we’re ok with where we are, and, if not, if we have the strength to change it.

Divorce is another one of those moments.

A recent study found that 53% of women are “much happier” after divorce. That’s an impressive number since many people take a financial hit during divorce. Maybe, they’re saying, it’s worth the price.

This week I sat down with Anne-Louise DePalo and discussed how the divorce process can be empowering and transformative. DePalo is an attorney in Staten Island. She’s been practicing in the area of divorce and family law for over 30 years, and she’s the author of the book, Divorce Now What?  How to Survive, Thrive and Become Fully Alive Through the Divorce Process. She wrote the book to show people that they have options in divorce. It isn’t just litigation and conflict.

A Wake-Up Call 

DePalo says that she sees many clients for whom divorce is the tipping point. It’s the moment to stop running on auto-pilot and make a change for the better. The cover of her book wasn’t a coincidence. It features a butterfly coming out of a cocoon. And that’s a beautiful process, according to DePalo. Her clients often re-assess their careers, their physical appearance, their lifestyle and their social connections. These are the daily contacts and touchstones that make us who we are. As we shift them, we can feel a sense of renewal—feel more alive.

This may not come immediately. DePalo’s work describes a transformation that takes effort, reflection and time. There are many moving parts in the process of divorce and the process of transformation. You have financial and legal concerns. But you also have the internal—mind, body, soul—transformation. DePalo suggests getting support to help you make those changes, whether that’s a spiritual counselor, a trainer or support group of people going through similar change.

Feeling More Alive

In the short-term, you can make small adjustments to help connect with the person you are becoming. You can read books, learn meditation, start a gentle exercise regimen. If you feel numb, exhausted, like a stranger in your own skin, ask yourself if it’s time to infuse your life with things that make you feel more alive. Connecting with like-minded people, making our own decisions about our own paths and doing things that feed our enthusiasm all help stoke our own internal fire and get us moving.

If you’re considering divorce but would like to try an approach that might mean a brighter future, call my team to schedule a confidential consultation.