The d-word. Divorce. No one likes to talk about it , but for those dealing with it, here are 4 steps to move past divorce in your 20s.

Divorce is a horrible thing to go through, and it’s a horrible thing to witness. From some perspectives, it seems like divorce is just another life milestone that we will all hit eventually. I even heard phrases being thrown around like: 2015–The Year of Divorce.

How devastating.

When it comes to Gen Y, or GenTwenty, we like to think we’re a tad bit wiser than previous generations. Unfortunately, we are also the learn-as-you-go generation. And it’s ok. Learning and growing are part of life; and we’re all here doing the best we can.

If you are part of the divorcee club, and are in your twenties, you are likely evaluating what went wrong, how to fix it in the future, and then learn from it.

You are also trying to figure out what’s next in life. Maybe you’ll take a different career path, maybe you’ll stay single for a while and focus on you, or maybe you’ll get back out to the club/bar scene.

Whatever your plan is, try it out. See what works for you, after all you are starting a new chapter in your life. And all while you’re still in your twenties, you’re young, you have your whole life ahead of you and no–life isn’t over. I promise!

I have been witness to far too many divorces over the last decade.

Whether it be due to differences, cheating, fizzled out romances, or even summer flings that maybe should have never gone past that. It happens all the time. Some married their high school sweethearts, and then one or the other got curious and wanted out. Some maybe got pregnant and then felt that naturally marriage was the next step. Others may have simply wanted out because they thought they were in love and then realized it wasn’t love at all.

I’ve heard it all and seen it all. And I’ve witnessed firsthand how messy and heartbreaking overcoming divorce can be. But I’ve seen the other side, too. I ‘ve seen people become happier than they ever were in their marriages. I’ve seen people rebuild their lives. It’s kind of like reinventing yourself and finding who you truly are. It could even be a time for self-healing and having your Eat, Pray, Love adventure.

Here are my tips for coping with divorce in your twenties:

1. Grieve.

The first process of overcoming such a huge and tragic event in your life is to simply grieve. Grieve for the loss of a person you once loved. Grieve for the years you poured your heart into. Grieve for everything that just isn’t there anymore. Grieve that chapter of your life. Because it became such a huge part of who you are today. It’s ok to spend months and even a couple of years in this process. It’s pretty much-needed and there is no need to explain it to anyone.

2. Mend and forgive.

I know it’s easier said than done, but this is such an important thing to do to overcome divorce. Forgive your losses, and forgive the person/people who hurt you along the way. Forgive the past. By doing so, you are letting go of the past and also letting go of hate that simply doesn’t need to linger any longer than it already has. Mend and forgive what you need to and be done with it.

3. Move forward.

This has several meanings. When you move forward after the grief and forgiveness, that means not looking back. It means not bringing up the past in current or future relationships. I’ve seen it far too many times where someone still carries the hurt or mistrust with them and that greatly and negatively affects their relationships.

Remember that everyone is different and that no two relationships will ever be exactly alike. Don’t walk into a new relationship stating that the person has to work hard for you to trust them just because that’s what you didn’t have in your marriage. It’s not fair at all. You should always treat every new relationship with welcome arms and an open heart. Move forward, don’t look back and leave the past where it belongs, in the past.

4. Take your time.

Patience really is a virtue. Especially when it comes to getting back into the dating world. Don’t rush into things. Even if you think you’re ready, you really may not be up for it emotionally or mentally. We tend to carry on bad habits into new relationships, which as we discussed before, isn’t fair–to you or a future partner. Be yourself, of course, but don’t bring along those bad habits; it’s an unhealthy way to begin a new relationship.

Take your time means using your best judgment. Are you completely healed? Are you ready to jump back into the dating world? Do you understand that you can’t find someone overnight and marry them a week later? And do you understand that no two people are the same; so stop with the stereotypes and just give people a chance?

If you’re able to answer these questions honestly to yourself, then maybe you are ready. Just remember to take your time. The dating world has likely changed since the last time you were in it, so keep calm and learn whatever new things you need to learn, and keep your heart open.

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Divorce is never easy, no matter how old you are. In the process, many experience anger, pain, frustration, guilt, and/or a lack of understanding, among other strong emotions. No matter how hard you fight or wish things were different, it might not be enough to save a marriage.

While many in the twenty-something generation dare to defy the divorce statistics, it’s not fair to yourself or to your partner to continue an unhappy relationship, but that doesn’t make it any less painful. Give yourself time, be patient with yourself, practice understanding. Divorce hurts, but it isn’t the end of your world.

 

Have you experienced or witnessed divorce in your twenties? What tips can you share?