Divorce is Not a Failure — Reframe Your Thinking

Do you feel like a failure because you got Divorced?

Many people do.  But when you think about it, does that really make sense? Over 50% of the adult population will Divorce. Is it really fair to define a majority result as failure? Over half of Americans will get heart disease — are they all failures?

Still, the notion about Divorce persists in society, and adds even more to the pain of going through one.

Well, we may not be able to change society’s view, but we can change our own. 

Coach and speaker Bill Douglas, who calls himself the “Resilience Guy,” offers a post entitled “Five Steps for Divorced Men to Reframe Failure.” Though obviously aimed at men, women can certainly benefit by reading it, too.

Douglas says he’s experienced plenty of true failure in his life, and lists the ways he’s dealt with it in the past. These include burying the feelings and refusing to deal with them; pretending it was no big deal; suffering with it; and reframing it.

Can you guess which one he touts as the right approach?  (No fair checking the headline again…).

So how can you reframe those feelings of failure you may have after Divorce?

  • Own your role in the Divorce, holding yourself personally accountable.
  • Forgive yourself, focusing on the present and future, though accepting the lessons of the past.
  • Challenge yourself by taking calculated risks — you grow by being uncomfortable.
  • Give yourself credit for making progress.
  • Be patient because change takes time.

Douglas writes about a refresh period, which corresponds nicely with the “Revive” stage of our Roadmap Through a Divorce Over 50.

As a concluding thought, I’d argue that true failure is staying in a miserable marriage because you lack the strength and courage to get out. Divorce should never be taken lightly, and is never the ideal. Going through one is difficult and painful. But you can move through it into a better future — something that will never happen if you stay in an unhappy, unfulfilling situation out of fear.