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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

Roadmap to Healing After Divorce

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healing map linear


healing map nonlinear


A. Your world collapses. You do do too. You feel like you’re coming undone at the seams and ever being okay again seems impossible.

B. Little by little, you start to make some improvement despite yourself. Maybe you go a few hours without crying. Perhaps you sign up for a class or start to exercise in an attempt to regain some control and to better yourself.

C. All of sudden, you feel invincible. Giddy, even. You feel as though you lost the dead weight and now you can fly. Maybe you feel a spark with someone and it ignites something within you. Perhaps you’ve conquered the legal divorce and it’s given you confidence.

D. This fall feels even worse than the first. It makes you question if you will ever really be better. If your spark is extinguished, you may find the secondary pain even worse than the initial trauma. This plummet may come when the honeymoon period after divorce expires. Regardless of when it hits, it feels hopeless.

E. You plateau for a time. The baby steps forward are so small, you don’t even notice that you’re starting to make incremental progress. This is when you’re building your roots; the progress may not show on the surface, but you’re doing the deep work that allows future growth.

F. You start to climb again. This one feels different than before. Where the first improvement was spurred by outside forces,  this one comes from within. It’s not an express lane to the top, but you sense traction on this climb. It may be slow, but it’s steady.

G. This is often the frustrating period. You’re making progress within the big picture, but the periodic slides backward keep you distracted from your gains. This is where the traps lie. And you have to disarm them to escape them.

H. Healing reaches a critical mass and begins to happen faster. Good days accrue into good weeks and even great months. You gain perspective, looking back and seeing where you have been. You’re surprised to realize that you’re even better than before.

The struggle has made you strong. The suffering has made you grateful. The journey has made you wise. And the fall has made you humble.




Here’s my timeline from healing after divorce. Caution: results may vary:)

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13 thoughts on “Roadmap to Healing After Divorce

  1. Great post. I am glad that you mention that second frustrating dip because it can be depressingly soul-destroying. It is great that you are getting that message out there “this is NORMAL”. Thanks..

    1. It is normal:) But when you experience it…ouch! I see time and time again people on that initial upward climb thinking they have managed to escape the nastiness of divorce and then “wham,” it hits them. It’s important to know it’s common and not a permanent downward slide.

  2. Such an amazing way to put everything..Great work Lisa (as
    If I would have read this a month or two ago I would not have believed it. But now that’s it’s been almost a year separated from the STBXW I fully understand and get it.
    Thanks again for your wonderful writing I love it.

  3. Thank you Lisa for showing and verbalizing these steps on the roadmap. One thing I’m thankful for the illustration, or chart, it’s helped me to see a progression and to realize that at least through this situation – no matter the ups/downs or forwards/backwards I am moving and making progress and the most hopeful thing is that anywhere I may be on this healing journey at least in this, my divorce, I’ll NEVER fall so far back as to be at point A…B maybe but not A!

    1. It’s so easy to zoom in on the ups and downs of the day to day that we lose sight of the overall picture. You’ll never be at A again and even if you find yourself at B, you’ve traveled the road before and you’re stronger now. You got this!:)

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