After the pain of divorce, most people want to heal and find new, healthier relationships. However, while many people are successful in achieving this objective, others find themselves falling into the same type of unhealthy relationship they left—just with a different partner. Here’s how you can avoid that trap:

  • Recognize your role in the breakdown of the marriage.  Until you are able to take responsibility for your role in the breakdown of your marriage, you will not be able to move on to a different relationship. This is not meant to blame someone for their spouse’s problems. However, there are two people in every marriage and each one contributes to its success or failure.
  • Learn from relationships that inspire you.  Do you have a family member or friend who has a supportive, positive marriage?  What do you admire about the relationship?  What are the qualities that stand out about each partner individually? As a couple?
  • Be realistic.  Looking at the latest romantic comedy or best seller as a model for your ideal relationship is a sure way to set yourself up for disappointment. In the real world, all relationships have struggle and conflict.  A healthy relationship isn’t the absence of conflict and struggle; it’s the willingness to work together to overcome these issues that makes a relationship.

It is also important to rebuild your life in a way that you want it to look.

  • Recognize your worth.  You deserve a positive, supportive relationship.  Period.  If you encounter friends or dating partners who are toxic, end those relationships.  You will not save or change that person.  You will lose a lot of time trying to save or change that person.
  • Nurture all parts of yourself.    Taking care of yourself, exploring hobbies or different parts of yourself and evaluating your work life are all important to having higher quality of life post-divorce.   Finding a new partner may be a current or future goal, but it cannot be your only goal.  Make sure you are growing all the parts of your life to reflect what you want.

For every horrible divorce story you hear, there are also stories of hope and change and growth.  Seek those out to remind yourself that this current life crisis is an opportunity for growth.