Moving On After Divorce: Forgiving and Forgetting

It is best to leave it to the experts if one is unsure and emotional after a divorce. It is advisable to trust a neutral person to show you the way to inner peace. In short, it is recommended for every divorcer to visit a professional behavioural counselor who can help the individual to re-discover herself/ himself. Behavioural counseling aids the divorcer to regain confidence in his/ her own abilities to pursue various activities alone. A behavioural counselor follows the concept of psychoanalysis propelling the divorcer to communicate openly about his/ her personal feelings. Usually individuals who go through an uncontested divorce experience relief and happiness. These individuals have no trouble getting back into the midst of life activities.

The problematic patients are those who go through contested divorces. They experience a lot of negative feelings which have to be brought out into the open before the individual is able to move on with a free and relaxed mindset. This is ensured by the behavioural counselor. Behavioural counseling follows a three stage process:

Open One-Way Communication: This stage does not involve a communicative process – it is a monologue whereupon the divorcer is encouraged to speak his/ her mind. This is also called a session of introspection involving emotional outbursts, tantrums and silences. It falls upon the counselor to draw the divorcer out of her/ his emotional shell and discover the real root of the divorce.

  • Was it the sole fault of the divorcer? If so, why?
  • Does the divorcer want to get back with the ex spouse?
  • Can the divorcer forgive the ex and move ahead with her/ his life?

The third issue forms the basic focus of this talking session. The counselor aims to get the divorcer to discuss freely about his/ her own mistakes. It is the goal of this session to make the divorcer come to terms with what has happened – the divorce and its consequences. It is the duty of the counselor to make the divorcers get in touch with their true and intrinsic personality. This allows the divorcer to perceive the world holistically and be able to forgive and move ahead.

Option Consideration for Future: Forgiveness can only be absolute and true if the divorcer is convinced that better things are in store for him/ her in the future. The counselor has made the divorcer face the true facts and accept reality. In this second stage, the counselor has to put a positive spin on the reality. The behavioural counselor has to make the divorcer realise that now he/she has the chance to fulfill personal desires and ambitions – maybe take up a job – enter the field of academics to pursue a course or, indulge in favourite adventure games of bungee-jumping or parasailing. It is the job of the counselor to convince the divorcer that the end of the marital relationship was not a bad thing. In fact, the marital relationship was oppressing the individual in matters of personal ambitions and needs. The divorcer has to view the divorce as a positive end.

Further, the counselor has to make the divorcer realise his/ her own responsibilities in terms of finances and children. The divorcer cannot afford to escape responsibilities – he/she is in charge alone. The counselor has to teach the divorcer to become aware of her/ his new role as a single parent.

Personal Factors: Lastly, the counselor has to approach the issue of re-opening the personal window in the divorcer’s life. The counselor cannot state that a divorcer has forgiven, forgotten and moved on unless; the divorcer rekindles her/ his personal life once again. This could either be having a physical makeover, changing your wardrobe and dating again. It not only helps the divorcer to focus his/her energies properly but also helps him/her to channel all efforts into a positive new direction of life.

But, ultimately as behavioural counselors point out forgiveness and moving ahead with life lies in the hands of the concerned individual. They argue that the sooner one forgives and tries to rebuild life – the sooner one is able to enjoy life on their own terms.