You’ve decided that your marriage simply isn’t going to work for you anymore. There could be numerous reasons, and you know that this is the right decision for you. Even though you know this is good for you, you may be feeling guilty. This is particularly likely if you are the partner who chose to end the relationship or if you feel that you could have done more to save your marriage. If there are children involved, you may feel guilty regardless of who initiated the divorce process.
Understand Why: Take some time to figure out why you feel so guilty. This is important because it will help you realize what you need to do differently in your next relationship. It might be something relatively small or something huge, but you won’t be able to avoid the mistake in the future if you haven’t come to terms with it.
Change Your Perspective: Sometimes, it can be easier to convince yourself that you don’t need to feel guilty if you simply look at things from another angle. Let’s say you feel bad because your children’s lives are being completely changed by the dissolution of your marriage. Step around to the other side of that problem, and you may realize that it wouldn’t be healthy for them to grow up in a home where their parents are fighting constantly. The same thing works if you feel guilty for leaving your partner. Would you want someone to stay with you purely out of a sense of obligation? Probably not.
Apologize: If you feel that you’ve done something wrong, take the time to say you’re sorry. You might be apologizing to your spouse or to your children, but it will give you a sense of making amends for your mistakes. Your ex may not even want to hear your regrets, but it will be good for both of you in the long run. Don’t forget to apologize to yourself; you’re human and you’re going to make mistakes.
Talk it Out: Talking to someone about your remorse can help you understand where your feelings are coming from and if they make sense or not. Some people feel guilty about things even when they have no reason to. Discussing your concerns can help you determine if your sense of guilt is rational or not. If you’re having trouble, don’t hesitate to contact a therapist. Many people find that they need a little professional help to get through the journey that is divorce.
Look to the Future: Sometimes guilty feelings are a result of remembering that there were some good times in your marriage. Looking back on happy times can make you second-guess yourself, wondering if you made the right decision. Instead, figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. Taking that first step to separate is tough, but it’s also an opportunity to do the things you might have felt you couldn’t do before.
Ending a relationship is never easy, but feelings of regret can hang around long after the divorce has been granted. Dealing with these guilty feelings is a huge step toward moving on with your life. Remember that these emotions are completely normal, and they aren’t necessarily a sign that you are making the wrong decision. Work through these emotions so you can concentrate on your happy future.