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How to forgive and move on after divorce?

Submitted By A Hall:


It takes a really mature state of mind to forgive someone for leaving you or treating you so badly that you felt you had to leave. It takes even longer to forgive yourself for staying in a relationship that wasn’t working. But forgive you must.


It is utterly human to make mistakes and to make mistakes in love is the most human of all. We’re all fallible and we all fall in love with people who aren’t right for us, who don’t want the best for us, who don’t care about us as much as we, passionately, care for them. Let it go. Stop blaming them and stop blaming yourself. Try to accept that the relationship that has ended wasn’t right for either of you and that you will both find new partners and far greater happiness elsewhere.


Acknowledge that you had a part to play in what went wrong – that you both may have been doing the best you could under the circumstances.

Recognise that your ex probably feels as scared as you, their life has probably fallen apart as well

Who gets hurt?

If you can forgive someone, no matter how badly they may have behaved during the relationship or break-up, you’ll be much healthier than if you continue to feel angry and bitter. If you can’t forgive, the only person you’ll hurt is yourself. Your ex-partner may not know you don’t forgive them and why should they care? Forgive them for your own sanity.

In time, reflect on the good times and the good experiences. They helped make you the person you have become.

Why should I forgive her?

It’s understandable if you feel that you can NEVER forgive someone for appalling behaviour during, or at the end of, a relationship, or even both. But forgiving is incredibly liberating. It frees you far more than not forgiving. It loosens your bond, the hold this person still has over you. Why waste energy still hating and plotting revenge when you could get on with your life and, eventually, find a new relationship in which you find greater happiness and fulfilment? Of course it will take time, especially if she left you for someone else. But so long as you feel you can never forgive you remain attached to her, emotionally. Do you really want that? Remember: you aren’t forgiving for her sake. You’re forgiving for yours.

Isn’t forgiving her letting her get away with it?

It might seem so but do you honestly think that NOT forgiving her will make her change her behaviour or regret it? Whether you can face this or not, she’s probably quite happy in her new life. She won’t care that you can’t forgive her. You want to hurt her back as she has hurt you. That’s perfectly understandable. But you probably can’t and that’s terribly distressing. But it will feel a lot less upsetting if you stop trying to hurt her back. To forgive is mature and adult. Be a better person than she is. Grow into indifference towards her and her actions. That way, she can’t touch you anymore. Isn’t that a better feeling to aim for?

How can I forgive someone who treated me so badly?

If you refuse to even try and forgive them, you’re treating yourself badly. The best feeling you can have down the line from a break-up is indifference. You neither know what your ex does anymore and you care less. You just can’t get there unless you forgive. Yes, you’ve been very badly treated and yes, you probably deserve a lot better. Forgive yourself first for falling for someone who acted so appallingly. Then it’ll be easier to forgive them. See them as a lesser person than you. That way, it’ll be easier to shrug it off, in time.

Isn’t revenge better than forgiveness?

It may seem so but revenge rarely aids healing. It can be fun. It can even be great fun to think of ways of getting your revenge. And you’re perfectly entitled to those feelings. But so long as you want and plot and scheme and plan revenge, this person still has a hold over you. Do you really want that? When you couldn’t care less whether they’re happy or sad, you’ve achieved something much more satisfying than revenge — indifference. When you know they cannot hurt you anymore, no matter what they do, you’ll feel a lot better than all the revenge this world could offer. So long as you still want revenge, you’re feeling bitter and that can do tremendous harm to your health. Forgiveness on the other hand engenders calmness and inner peace. Much healthier. Much better. Much more attractive, don’t you think?

Next Steps

  • Stop trying to be perfect. None of us is.
  • You can grow and learn from pain. Try to see the pain your ex inflicted on you as a gift.
  • Remember, the best revenge is living well not plotting, planning and scheming for years to ‘get back’ at your ex.
  • Become so busy you forget what they ‘did’ to you.
  • Best of all, forgiving can make you feel really great.

Need to Knows

  • Forgiveness is a sign of maturity
  • It’s healthier to forgive someone than to continue to feel angry
  • If you can’t forgive, you hurt only yourself
  • Your ex-partner may never know that you don’t forgive them.
  • Letting go of negative feelings is often difficult, but it’s vital step towards full recovery.

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