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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

How to Love And Be Loved After Divorce

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I’ve always hated the term “baggage.”


It implies that that some people are more trouble than they’re worth because of what has happened in their pasts. That those of us who have had the misfortune of cheating exes or tumultuous divorces are somehow doomed by our experiences. It assumes that our histories are our destinies and that we carry our traumas like an anchor around the neck.


Yet the dismissive term of “baggage” ignores the fact that those who have experienced relationship trauma can often make wonderful partners that are more attuned and adept at monitoring and using emotions. That rather than just “getting over it,” many choose to “learn from it,” becoming better and stronger than ever before.


Life is not about what happened to us. It’s about how we choose to respond to what happens.

It’s not the baggage that matters. It’s all in how you carry it.


My now-husband had every right to run when he first heard my story. At the time we met, I was at the tail end of a very difficult divorce and taking the first shaky steps into my new life. I was no longer shock raw from my ex’s abandonment and betrayals, but I was nowhere near healed. Triggers would lie in wait, ready to pounce when I least expected it. I was overly sensitive in some areas and still numb in others. I wanted to be healed and was making active progress, but the finish line was still far in the distance.


And yet even with all of that, my now-husband didn’t run.


Instead, he helped me find my way to healed. He didn’t take the steps for me, but he cheered me. Pushed me. Rendered aide when needed. And waited patiently while I journeyed the course.


If you are in a partnership with someone who is still healing from a past relationship, you need to know the following:

Read read the rest on The Good Men Project.

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19 thoughts on “How to Love And Be Loved After Divorce

  1. Thank you Lisa for offering another perspective on the term “baggage”. I guess when I think baggage I think children, step-children, ex’s, in-laws, debt, more the physical things you have to deal with. The crazy ex that is always causing drama. The children that don’t want a “new” mom or dad. When I use baggage that is my reference. I will rethink how I use the term.

  2. Great article thanks Lisa. My struggle in starting new relationships is deciding “when” to tell my story…it’s a lot of vulnerability to lay out there, but if one waits too long, it’s harder to disengage…tricky balance.

    1. It is. I told my story (just the bare facts) right away just so guys would know what they were getting in to. I thought it might scare them off, but instead it kept triggering the damsel in distress response. Ugh. Good luck!

  3. Thanks Lisa, I have always said I don’t need someone with matching luggage only someone who will help me pull mine through customs and maybe by matching tags. You simply cannot reach my age without some baggage, it is impossible.

  4. This may be the most helpful thing I have read in over a year. While I am still healing, I have much less to heal from than the man I am with now and love more than words can say. It has been so hard to handle all of the triggers, setbacks, etc. that have come up for us. This article is like a roadmap, reinforcing what I should keep doing and helping me understand so much of what has been happening with us. Thank you!!

  5. What’s funny is as a guy I don’t judge what a woman has been through, however most women I meet “run” when they hear my marriage track record.

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