You’re finally free. After months of fighting, negotiating and rehashing the painful details of your failed relationship, the divorce is final. But something still feels off. An anger or resentment simmers inside you that you can’t shake.
Your ex has moved on, so why do you feel stuck? The reason is simple: you never got closure.
While the legal process may have ended, emotionally you’re still trapped in the past. The only way to truly move on is to ask for forgiveness. Not for them, but for yourself. By acknowledging the hurt you’ve caused each other, saying you’re sorry for your part in it, you can start to heal.
Forgiveness is the secret to finding peace after divorce and opening yourself up to happiness again. It’s time to let go of the past and get on with your future.
The Importance of Letting Go After Divorce
After ending a marriage, gaining closure is essential to your wellbeing. Holding onto resentment and anger will only make you bitter and prevent you from moving on. The healthiest thing you can do is forgive your ex-spouse – not for them, but for yourself.
Letting go of negative feelings can be difficult, especially if the end of your relationship was painful or traumatic. However, harboring grudges and staying stuck in the past will sabotage your own happiness and peace of mind. Make the choice to forgive for your own benefit. Release yourself from those destructive emotions so you can start living again.
Saying “I forgive you” to your ex is also liberating. It doesn’t mean their actions were acceptable or that you condone what happened. Forgiveness simply means you are ready to stop letting their past mistakes have power over you. Speaking the words, whether to them directly or just aloud to yourself, can be tremendously cathartic.
Leaving a marriage often feels like an ending, but it is really a beginning. A new chapter of life is starting, and you deserve to enter it with an open heart and optimism for the future. Let go of the old hurts and regrets so you can move on to better things. Make peace with your past, forgive yourself and your partner, and step into your new life unencumbered. The freedom to start over will be your reward.
Why You Should Ask for Forgiveness
Asking for forgiveness after a divorce may be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but it can also be one of the most freeing.
Why You Need Closure
Holding onto resentment and anger only hurts you. Letting go of past hurts through forgiveness allows you to move on from the bitterness and find inner peace. By apologizing for your own mistakes and forgiving your ex for theirs, you can gain closure on that chapter of your life.
Admit Your Faults
Be honest with yourself about any ways you contributed to the downfall of your marriage. Maybe you didn’t communicate well or prioritize your relationship. Tell your ex you realize your shortcomings and ask for forgiveness for your part. Even if they don’t reciprocate, you’ll feel relieved knowing you owned up to your mistakes.
Your ex likely wronged you in some way, big or small. Make a choice to forgive them for the pain they caused you. Forgiveness is for you, not them. Let go of resentment and choose to wish them well. Picture them as a flawed human like all of us, and forgive them for not being perfect. You’ll feel the heaviness in your heart lift.
Asking for forgiveness and forgiving when you’ve been wronged are two of the most powerful acts of healing. Though it may be difficult, choosing closure and forgiveness after divorce can help you break free from the past and find a sense of inner peace. Letting go of anger and resentment allows you move on to a happy and fulfilling life post-divorce.
How to Have a Productive Conversation About the Past
Having an honest conversation with your ex about your relationship and breakup can be difficult, but it provides closure that allows you both to move on. Here are some tips to have a productive talk about the past:
Meet in person if possible
While a phone call is better than texting, meeting face to face is ideal. It allows for an open, vulnerable dialog where you can read each other’s body language and tone. If meeting in person isn’t possible, do a video call.
Come prepared to listen
The goal is to gain understanding, not assign blame. Go in with an open mind and be ready to listen to their perspective. Focus on using “I” statements, like “I felt hurt when you did that.” Avoid accusations.
Discuss what went wrong
Calmly talk through the issues in your relationship and how they made each of you feel. Be honest but kind about things you both could have done differently. Look for patterns in how you interacted and ways you could improve for next time.
Apologize for your mistakes
Saying “I’m sorry” is one of the most powerful ways to gain closure. Apologize for any hurtful actions and the role you played in the relationship’s demise. An apology allows the other person to forgive you, even if they don’t say the words.
Forgive them in your heart
Forgiving your ex for their wrongs – whether they apologize or not – releases you from anger and resentment. Make the choice to forgive them for your own peace of mind. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting or excusing their behavior. It means accepting what happened and letting go of negative feelings.
End on a positive note. Express gratitude for the good parts of your relationship and what you learned. Thank them for the memories you’ll hold onto. Saying goodbye in this way gives you both comfort as you start new chapters.
The Benefits of Closure and Moving On
After a divorce, getting closure with your ex can help you move on to better things. Asking for forgiveness isn’t about them, it’s about you and your mental wellbeing.
- Gain Inner Peace. By clearing the air and making amends, you’ll gain a sense of inner peace knowing you did the right thing. Holding onto anger and resentment only hurts you, not them. Let it go and forgive.
- Reduce Stress and Anxiety. Constantly rehashing old hurts and betrayals in your mind leads to increased stress and anxiety. Asking for forgiveness can help quiet your mind, reducing feelings of angst and worry. Make the choice to forgive and watch your stress levels decrease.
- Improve Self-Esteem. When you forgive someone who has hurt you, it is an act of courage and strength. You’ll gain confidence in yourself by taking the high road, and your self-esteem will grow knowing you did a difficult thing with grace.
- Open Your Heart to New Relationships. If you’re holding onto bitterness from your last relationship, it will be hard to open your heart to new love. Forgiving your ex frees you to start fresh without the baggage of past hurts. You’ll be able to give your whole heart to someone new.
- Find Purpose and Meaning. Going through such a life transition can leave you feeling lost and without direction. Forgiving your ex and gaining closure gives you an opportunity to reflect on the relationship, learn from your mistakes, and set new goals. You’ll feel a renewed sense of purpose, ready to start the next chapter.
Letting go of anger and resentment is one of the healthiest things you can do after a divorce. Asking your ex for forgiveness may be difficult, but choosing to forgive can set you free and open up a world of new beginnings. Take that first courageous step—you deserve to be happy.
Learning to Forgive Yourself Too
Learning to forgive yourself is just as important as learning to forgive your ex. You’ve been through a traumatic experience and beating yourself up over mistakes you made will only make you feel worse.
Stop dwelling on the past
What’s done is done. No amount of regret or self-blame will change the past. Continually rehashing old arguments or things you wish you’d said differently is only punishing yourself. Let the past stay in the past.
Be kind to yourself. Speak to yourself with the same compassion you’d show a friend. Recognize that you did the best you could at the time with the knowledge and skills you had. Give yourself permission to be human – everyone makes mistakes.
Accept that the divorce was not all your fault
A divorce is never the result of just one person’s actions or mistakes. There were likely issues on both sides that contributed to the breakdown of the relationship. Do not take all of the blame onto yourself. Both parties share some responsibility.
Do things that boost your confidence
Engage in hobbies and activities that you find personally fulfilling. Take a class on something you’ve always wanted to learn. Join a local sports league or meetup group to connect with like-minded people. Achieving small wins and accomplishments will help rebuild your self-esteem.
Seek professional help if needed
If feelings of guilt, regret or self-blame are significantly impacting your ability to move on from the divorce, consider seeing a counselor or therapist. They can help you work through these emotions and find strategies for self-forgiveness. You deserve to be happy.
Learning self-forgiveness is challenging, but so worth it. Free yourself of the past and open your heart to new opportunities and relationships. You have so much wonderful life ahead of you.
So don’t wait around wondering what could have been. Take control of your future and seek the closure you need to finally move on from your marriage.
While it may be uncomfortable, facing your ex and asking for their forgiveness can help lift the weight of regret from your shoulders. Though the conversation may be difficult, you’ll walk away knowing you did the right thing – the mature, responsible thing – and took steps to make peace with your past.
So pick up the phone, send that email or knock on their door. Speak from the heart, acknowledge your mistakes and ask for their forgiveness. You deserve to be free from the past, and this may be your only chance to get the closure that will allow you to open your heart to new love again.
The power is in your hands. Seize it.