5 Steps to Forgiving Your Ex

After a divorce, forgiving your ex is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Sometimes forgiveness is hard, especially in a difficult divorce. But, forgiving your ex is really more for you than for your ex. Forgiveness releases you to move on and build a new life. Saying goodbye to ongoing resentment can help protect your kids from some of the damaging effects of divorce, too.

    How to Forgive Your Ex

    Forgiveness isn’t one-size-fits-all, and it takes time. Celebrate even the smallest victories and keep going. Full release is possible for you when you actively work on forgiving your ex. Here’s how to do it.

    • Embrace positivity. Negativity makes it difficult to forgive and move on. Find a centering activity that makes you feel empowered and intentional. Yoga, meditation, prayer, physical activity, journaling – these are all good options. It’s better to face negativity head-on. Identify your negative thoughts, change them, and release them. Holding on to negativity can lead to resentment which prevents healing. ‘
    • Take responsibility. There were two people in your relationship, and two people in the breakup. Regardless of the circumstances around your divorce, you both played a part in the more negative parts of your marriage. It’s impossible to be blameless through the entire relationship. Take some time to identify the missteps you made so that you can avoid them in the future.
    • Practice compassion. Not only do you need to forgive your ex, you need to forgive yourself as well. Show yourself some compassion. Realize that healing and forgiveness after divorce is a process. There is no set timeline, so be patient with yourself. In the same way, realize that your ex is also working through the effects of divorce and show them compassion as well.
    • Fake it till you make it. You know where you’re headed, it’s just taking a little bit to get there. And that’s okay! Fake it until you make it, and act as if you have forgiven your ex. Sometimes this can actually help move things along more quickly! 
    • Take your time to heal. Don’t rush it! Forgiving your ex is a process. Some days it will be easy, some days it will be hard. Allow yourself to feel all the feelings – anger, bitterness, sadness, relief. These are all normal parts of moving on after a divorce. Make a commitment to work on yourself first before getting into a new relationship. 

    Reasons to Forgive Your Ex

    It’s natural to be angry and resentful after a divorce. But there are a lot of really important reasons to forgive your ex, including:

    • Forgiveness is better for you. Forgiveness is actually all about you, not your ex. By forgiving your ex, you release yourself from negative emotions. It speeds the healing process
    • Forgiveness releases you to move on. Being angry with your ex holds you back from all that life has for you. By forgiving your ex, you can move on to bigger and better things without any bitterness or resentment holding you back.
    • Forgiveness protects the kids. Ongoing conflict is extremely damaging to kids after divorce. Forgiving your ex can help you be a better co-parent. Resentment makes it harder to communicate. Choosing to forgive your ex, as often as you need to, is the best choice for the kids. 

    Forgiveness doesn’t excuse your ex’s behavior. In reality, forgiveness is 100% about your own healing process and allowing you the freedom to move on. As co-parents, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open. Not only does unforgiveness negatively impact your children, it also prevents your own healing. 

    Although forgiving someone’s behavior is often seen as a sign of weakness, it is actually a courageous choice. Forgiveness is actually about choosing to live a life where your ex’s behaviors and attitudes have no bearing on your life. If total forgiveness seems like too much, work on acceptance. It’s a step in the right direction! 

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