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Divorce & Self-Acceptance

Submitted By Dennis Marshall :

Your identity is no longer wrapped up with someone else’s. Accept your situation and that you are someone in your own right.

Your identity

Your identity as a husband, or someone’s partner will be shattered when you split up. It may be very difficult to come to terms with this and to build a new identity for yourself, as you.

Your potential

You can start by accepting that you have an identity. Just being a part of a family isn’t all you have been. You have an identity which is individual to you as a man. Explore it. Enjoy it. Sometimes it takes just this separation and dislocation from a pattern of living to unlock the needs, desires and interests that have remained dormant within you. Discover who you really are, what you want to be doing from now, and how you want to be seen. We all have the potential to be many things. It just takes courage and creativity to let the inner us out.

Your behaviour

In some areas of your life you will find that you can behave as you want and not compromise. This may improve your relationship with your family or your children. You will then feel happier in your role as a father, son, friend etc. Try to avoid putting on the mask that represents the person you think people want to see. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but if you hide been the mask you will lose your sense of self.

What will the neighbours think?

Announcing your divorce, or moving to a new house as a ‘divorced person’, can make you self conscious. How will others see you? How much do you have to explain or justify? How do you present yourself? These are all issues people find difficult to cope with. But most of all it’s a time to be true to you. Keep it simple. Keep it contained. By all means share with others if it helps. But don’t feel you have to seek their approval. It’s your relationship that’s ended, not theirs.

For 25 years I’ve been someone’s husband. Now I am no-one. How can I rebuild my identity?

Just being a part of a family isn’t all you have been. You have an identity which is individual to you as a man. Explore it. Take the time to investigate the inside of your own mind and heart. Discover who and what you are, what you want to be doing and how you want to be seen.

What’s my role in life now that I’m divorced?

Your role is what you make it. You don’t have to be anything specific. If you still have family reliant on you then it’s your role to continue to give them the support they need. Just because a relationship has ended or become different doesn’t mean every other relationship you have has to change. Your role is still the same. You have a responsibility to yourself and your loved ones. You have a responsibility to your community. You can explore new roles as your circumstances alter.

I passed my driving test, first time. But I failed at marriage. Why?

Divorce is often talked about as a ‘failed’ marriage. It’s an unavoidable stigma. If you don’t guard against it you can feel a failure, or else a victim. Even if your marriage has ended in divorce, it’s important not to spoil your self image. We all need moments, glimpses of ourselves as successful, in order to stay optimistic. To keep moving we need to leave room for positive influence in our lives. Don’t become your own worst enemy. Don’t attack your own self worth. Even if you accept blame for the end of a marriage, you don’t have to use it as a stick to beat yourself with.

Next Steps

  • Accept you have an identity, personal to yourself
  • Explore it.
  • Take time to investigate who you are.
  • Discover what you want to be doing now and in the future
  • Think about how you want to be seen and portray that image.

Need to Knows

  • you have an identity outside your family
  • regaining happiness starts with being true to yourself
  • never feel you have to seek approval from others
  • separation can help you unlock your latent interests
  • now is the time to call for support from your genuine friends.

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