During and after your divorce, you may begin to feel guilty. In fact, most people do experience feelings of guilt, whether they initiated the divorce or not. You may be asking yourself, “What have I done?” and looking for ways to go back; however, going back isn’t as easy as it may sound. Your Mississauga divorce lawyer has likely worked with several clients in situations similar to yours, and he or she can tell you from experience that most couples who begin the divorce process are ultimately happier when they’ve gone their separate ways.

Guilt: Why Most People Experience It

Generally, guilt stems from the feeling that you didn’t fulfill a promise, you didn’t hold up your end of the bargain or you missed an important detail that could have changed an outcome. Guilt is usually the result of believing you should have done more or the result of having done something that caused damage to your relationship.

According to psychologist Dr. John M. Grohol, healthy guilt guides people into redirecting their behaviors to improve the future. Unhealthy guilt has no rational purpose, like when one spouse feels guilty because the other cheated.

It’s common for one or both spouses to feel guilty when infidelity, financial troubles or large-scale disagreements cause a marriage to end. Additionally, one party can feel guilty for leaving the marriage – even if it was extremely unhealthy. In most cases, feeling some degree of guilt is normal.

If you are having trouble dealing with your guilt, ask your Mississauga divorce lawyer if he or she has the name of a qualified local therapist who can help you. Research has shown that people who don’t deal with their extreme guilt have difficulty starting new relationships – and they are generally unhappier than those who process their guilt on their own time.

Coping with Guilt during Divorce

Some therapists suggest that journaling during your divorce can help you cope with the guilt you may experience. When you write about your guilt, you’re doing two things: getting your feelings out and creating a written record that you can later reflect on.

If you’ve chosen not to ask your Mississauga divorce lawyer for a referral to a therapist or counselor, consider talking to a close friend or family member. Sometimes just verbalizing your feelings instead of keeping them bottled up inside can have an astounding effect.

Coping with Guilt after Divorce

Even after your divorce has been granted, you may continue to experience guilt. There’s no set time period after which guilt automatically disappears – each person deals with it in his or her own time.

Most psychologists agree that in order to cope with your guilt, you must accept that you did something wrong, and then move on. Realize that you cannot change the past, but you can prevent yourself from repeating the mistake again.

There’s nothing wrong with asking for help if you’re having a difficult time coping with your guilt. Your Mississauga divorce lawyer may be able to provide you with the name of a highly qualified counselor or therapist who’s experienced in dealing with divorce and the issues it creates.