How do I deal with the pain and despair of divorce?

I have just gone through a divorce. It was a harrowing process, and I am hurting. I feel as if I am unworthy of love, or maybe relationships. I am not here to blame my wife or paint her as a wrong person. I am here because I feel as if I am in a terrible space and shaken. I do not know what to do, to feel better or to get to the area where I can love myself. Divorce hurts and hurts like anything I have ever known.

Dear Sudip, your emotions are very valid. Divorce is a significant life event, regardless of how happy or unhappy the marriage was. One of the many reasons for this is a bit of identity crisis one faces after parting ways with one’s long-term partner. When we love and live with someone for a considerable period, we start identifying ourselves or parts of ourselves with our partners. They get subsumed into our identity, and hence when they go away, it feels incomplete. It feels like we’ll have to go looking for ourselves again.

A divorce has mishit you, but take some assurance and comfort if only from the universal suffering that most of us would go through in a situation like this. It is essential to remind yourself before and after a relationship and almost at every chance we get – that we are complete human beings in ourselves and we desire for other human beings to share the happiness that we already have in our respective lives. Looking at our partners as sole sources of fulfilment and happiness may not be entirely functional. It’s through this understanding of being complete that we would feel functionally good about ourselves. Divorce counselling is highly recommended for you.

It is also important to remember and accept that we will never be lovable to everyone and will rarely get along with everyone. Ask yourself, can you love anyone and marry anyone? But just as this is true, what is also true is that being lovable in the eyes of others should not stand in the way of self-love.

Deepak Kashyap

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