There are three traditional solutions for making a recovery from divorce:
- Do nothing on the belief that “time heals everything.”
- Enter psychotherapy on the belief that insight into the past will solve current problems of life after divorce.
- Join a divorce recovery support group on the belief that social support is all that is required to recovery from your divorce.
Guess what? None of them help individuals make a swift and full recovery from divorce!
Choice 1: Do Nothing – Napping in Your La-Z-Boy
- Approach: Believe that “Time heals everything.”
- Result: Nothing changes because time, by itself, heals nothing. Trauma of divorce is pushed below the surface where it festers and impairs your ability to find happiness in your life after divorce.
- Conclusion: The belief that “time heals everything” is not supported by the data. What you do with your time, not the actual quantity of time, will determine whether you successfully recover from divorce or not.
Our culture in the form of our friends, relatives, teachers, bosses, coaches, and other authority figures, tells us that time heals everything. You may have been told such things as these: “Just hang in there and things will get better.” “This, too, will pass because time heals everything.” If only that were true. Unfortunately, it’s not.
Fact is, time alone heals nothing. It is what we do with our time that is crucial.
The image I associate with this strategy is someone sitting alone in a recliner, bottle of beer or glass of wine in hand, watching reruns on TV, and waiting for divorce recovery to be magically plopped into their lap. My sister-in-law spent the last 25 years of her life waiting for time to do its mystical trick. It never did. Expecting time to heal the wounds of divorce will only result in an increasingly sad, angry, resentful, and disappointed person slowly losing touch with sober reality while adding inches to his or her girth.
Using “time heals everything” is a strategy for recovering from divorce that prescribes inactivity and tells us to “Do Nothing.” The result? Nothing changes! Except the calendar which marks the months and years, even decades, during which the traumatic aftermath of your divorce continues to reside in your brain, intrude in your life, and sabotage your efforts to find happiness and contentment in your lie after divorce.
Well if what’s important is “what we do with our time,” how about going into therapy?
Choice 2: Psychotherapy – Have Easy Chair, Will Recall and Reminisce
- Approach: Use past life experiences to lend insight into why you are reacting as you are to the ending of your relationship.
- Result: Gain insight into your past. Also, feel good about having someone to talk to about your feelings. However little or no progress is made on identifying and resolving the unique, day-to-day problems created by your divorce.
- Conclusion: Therapy is a great solution – to a different problem. It is an inadequate tool for recovering from divorce.
Therapy is similar in many ways to the “do nothing” image above of a person sitting in a recliner waiting for time to produce magic. However, now there is another person in the room and the TV and beer are gone. In therapy we again sit in a comfortable chair, maybe even a recliner, turn to the past, and gain insight into why our life is in such a mess today. It is assumed that in some way we are “sick” – from having some run-of- the-mill neurosis to having a full blown mental malady – and gaining insight into why we are ill is the key to “getting well.”
As far as recovering from divorce, therapy misses the point. We are not sick. We are stuck. While insight into the past may be interesting and useful in a different context, we do not need that insight in order to
- get up,
- go to work,
- make it through the day without dissolving into tears in front of others,
- spend our evenings in ways that do not lead to our waking up with a stranger in our bed,
- go to bed with a modicum of hope to hold on to that will allow us to
- go to sleep, so we can
- wake up refreshed in the morning and do it all over again.
I went into therapy after both of my divorces. And while I appreciated the “unconditional positive regard” my therapist gave me, I always had the sense that I was taking a break from my real life, rather than figuring out a way to live my real life in a different way under different circumstances so that I would not feel so upset, overwhelmed, vulnerable, helpless, and hopeless that defined most of my waking hours with little or no relief.
Choice 3: Attend a Divorce Support Group – Houseboat to Nowhere
- Approach: Join a group of people who are going through the same divorce recovery experience you are going through and who have created a safe place to air your emotional reactions to the trauma.
- Result: Group members are reassured that they are not alone and the thoughts and feelings they are having do not mean they are crazy. However, in the end, there is little or no forward movement.
- Conclusion: Divorce support groups provide only one of several steps for recovery. To use a baseball metaphor, divorce support groups get you to first base, but do not enable you to score.
The image that a divorce support group conjures up in my mind is a houseboat tethered to a dock. People come down the dock and get on the houseboat. The houseboat has comfortable chairs to sit in and is a psychologically safe place to talk about your emotional reactions to divorce and to be comforted by the fact that others are going through the same process. That is, you are not crazy! After the meeting is over, people leave the boat, walk back up the dock, and return home feeling some momentary relief. They literally and metaphorically return each week to exactly the same place they were the previous week
The only problem? The houseboat does not go anywhere!
Support groups provide temporary relief from the emotion-based reactions caused by divorce, but very little in terms of substantive forward movement. So the divorce group participants are left to their own devices after their emotion-based reactions are stabilized, if in fact the support group experience does even that.
Choice Dilemma: So What Can You Do?
If the usual prescriptions for how to recover do not provide a swift, sure, and reliable solution to the massive pain and fear of divorce, where should we turn? Are we left to suffer in silence the rest of our lives, or is there an actual solution? Are you doomed to accept the pain and fear of divorce as lifetime partners? Are you condemned to wonder if your life will ever return to normal? Are you predestined to worry that your next committed relationship will end in a painful divorce also?
The short answer is a resounding NO! There is a program that actually eliminates the pain, reduces the fears, and does so in as little as 90 days or less!
The Smooth Divorce Recovery Program (hereafter called the SDR Program) solves all this and more!
Choice 4: Smooth Divorce Recovery Program – Cruise into Your Future
- Approach: Directly address the challenge of making a fast and smooth recovery from divorce by using a systematic program specifically designed to resolve the unique issues created by divorce.
- Result: You can realize a happy and productive life after divorce without suffering the traumatic aftermath of divorce and free from the debilitating baggage from “how your life used to be.”
- Conclusion: This program works. It resolves the unique divorce-recovery issues caused by the death of a relationship. It provides the forward progress that the other choices don’t.
The Smooth Divorce Recovery Programis different from the traditional choices. It is like a comfortable, powerful, ocean-going cabin cruiser capable of navigating rough seas while it delivers you to your next destination. It welcomes the divorced aboard and makes them feel accepted and comfortable. It encourages them to look at their emotional reactions to divorce, and use their experience to plan for an exciting and rewarding new chapter in their lives. The SDR Program accepts the past as is, looks to the future, and asks the questions, “What?” and “How?” That is, “What” do you want your future life to be and “How” can you get there?
Your divorce has created a whole new set of life circumstances. The SDR Program is a systematic program based in scientific research designed to help you dissolve your natural resistance to accepting and thriving in your new life situation.
The SDR Program provides a safe place to talk and a proven sequence of issues to talk about, personalized for your unique set of circumstances, resulting in Rapid Forward Movement into the next chapter of your life.
You Get to Decide
So, what’ll it be? La-Z-Boy, Easy Chair, Houseboat, or Cabin Cruiser? Your choice will determine your satisfaction with your life after divorce.