During the last support sampler, one of the themes of the group was how to move on from the divorce. When folks are feeling so shamed, it’s really overwhelming to think of rebuilding their lives and how much energy it takes to reacclimate after a divorce.
A lot of the members who sought out the support group are really struggling and suffering with their decision to leave the relationship as well as feeling isolated and different from their current social group. They feel like they have accommodated their partner for many, many years. They really feel discouraged that the person they were with no longer wanted to try. They realized that there was some kind of breaking moment for them and they could no longer get their needs met in this relationship. They sacrificed. They suffered. They eventually realized that they weren’t living the kind of life they wanted to live.
There’s also the issue of the timing of divorce. Most people don’t want to get divorced during the holidays or during their kids’ school year. They don’t want the divorce to be disruptive. Some of the members noticed that their kids began noticing the disharmony in their couple relationship. They would hear indicators from their kids that made them think that maybe staying in a relationship to keep the family together wasn’t really helping the kids at all.
Hearing all of these different stories and situations can help. People feel like they are not alone. They relate to certain parts of each other’s stories. The group members want to feel better; to have hope; to gather strength from each other. Toward the end of the group, the members reframed their experiences with each other as a way to gather strength. They realized how to go on; how to make time to grieve, how to get used to be being alone, how to deal with feelings of loneliness. Some people remarked that they felt lonelier in the marriage than they did when they were just on their own. The members are also trying to figure out how to be around people. They feel like they don’t know any divorced couples or families at all. We used the date of the next group as a marker to notice what the challenges of the next 30 days would be and to remember what they heard from the other group members that gave them strength, hope, and courage.