Advice & Features Articles

Happiness After Heartbreak


Here you are facing a new year that looms large with all the feelings of loss and anger left over from your divorce. Try as you might to put on a smile for your kids, you’re left wondering, how do I find happiness this year when my heart is still breaking?

by William M. Reppeto, III, Family Law Expert | Contributor

“After all, happiness comes from being clean and right in your heart, and that only comes from acceptance.”  – Will Reppeto

When you married, you chose each other to be lifetime companions. When that unexpectedly comes crashing down, it is important to experience all five stages of the grief that is to follow – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Getting stuck in any one of these stages can prevent you from moving on and embracing what the future holds.

To regain your emotional balance and recapture the joy that has become all too elusive in life, the most important stage is acceptance. After all, happiness comes from being clean and right in your heart, and that only comes from acceptance.

Let me share with you something important about recovering from divorce. One of the most painful steps in healing is coming to terms with your role in the deterioration of the relationship.

Although there may be a measure of comfort in accepting the role of the wronged spouse, the truth is that there is no such thing as an absolute victim in a divorce.

Now, you may have done everything in your power to save the marriage, but in order to come to terms with your role in the break-up, you must take a long, unflinching look within yourself. For some, this may come through prayer and introspection, but for others it can take shape only through intense counseling with your clergy, your lifelong best friend, your AA sponsor, a therapist or whomever you trust enough to lay bare your deepest fears and pain.

The inability to accept and make amends for misdeeds and failures can only continue to nurture the seeds of destruction. In the short term, you may only rob yourself of happiness, but eventually that anger and blame will spill over, potentially infecting your children and other loved ones.

Ultimately, if you want to find true lasting happiness in this new year, you have to clean up your side of the street. It certainly is not easy and has the potential to open up new emotions, but the other side of this painful exercise is the true acceptance that will allow you to once again open up your heart to love and the beauty it has to offer.

Editor’s Note: William M. Reppeto III is a partner in the Family Law firm Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP and is a compassionate advocate for his clients facing divorce and issues involving children. Mr. Reppeto can be reached at will@ondafamilylaw.com. For more information, go to ondafamilylaw.com.

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