A couple may choose to end their marriage for a variety of reasons. You and your partner might no longer love each other. Or perhaps infidelity crept in between you, you find it impossible to agree on financial decisions or your careers are pulling you in different directions.

No matter your reasons for dissolving your marriage, you might feel betrayed, disappointed or angry. However, forgiving your partner is just as crucial in divorce as developing acceptable settlement terms.

Choose to stop anger and resentment from destroying your future

Holding onto past hurts may be a normal part of the human experience. However, when you refuse to forgive someone, you cause yourself additional pain. And as a parent, it is imperative to maintain your mental health so you can support your children through the changes they face.

Over time, negativity can consume your mind. The resulting bitterness may lead to depression, preventing you from experiencing healthy relationships with others.

Holding a grudge could also manifest physically, affecting your heart, immune system and blood pressure. Not only can a lack of forgiveness cause a rift between your children and their other parent, but it could cost them a healthy caregiver if you are not careful.

Though, learning to forgive your former spouse can allow you and your children to live – as well as enjoy – the life you deserve after divorce.

Three approaches to forgiving your ex

To forgive someone is not necessarily to accept how they wronged you, nor does doing so make the hurt he or she inflicted upon you okay. It is not a matter of making excuses for your ex’s insensitive or malicious behavior, and it probably will not allow you to forget the detrimental circumstances of your past.

Instead, forgiveness neutralizes your anger, which allows you to heal. Unfortunately, your former spouse may have no interest in your feelings or whether you are willing to forgive them, but if only for yourself:

  • Reject your ex’s control over you. When you fail to forgive someone, you allow them control over your well-being. Do not let feelings about your ex to prohibit you from creating the future you want for yourself.
  • Come to terms with your ex’s limitations. Your former partner may be incapable of recognizing, and apologizing for, the pain they caused you. Accepting the fact that they have a different perspective may help you let go.
  • Permit yourself to move forward. Divorce can empower you if you choose, rather than force you to accept a victim mentality. There is nothing you can do to improve your past, but you have every right to allow yourself a clean slate for whatever good may come to you in the future.

Once you dissolve your marriage, you might also be wise to take a look within. After a tumultuous relationship and painful divorce, one of the best things you can do is forgive yourself.