There’s No Finish Line For Divorce Recovery

By Dr Karen Finn for

I recently got a new computer. And if you’ve ever had to transfer files from one computer to another, you know that it can be kind of fun to take a peek at what has been hogging up space on your hard drive.

Well, on my expedition through all of my files, I found emails in my inbox that were more than ten years old! Some of these ancient notes even had details about the negotiations my ex and I went through to settle our divorce in 2002. Not really anything I need to have hanging around any more, right?

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Believe it or not, I paused before hitting delete and trashing all of that ancient correspondence. I was flooded with a variety of thoughts and questions. “Those emails were part of my personal history,” I thought to myself. They were part of what defined me back then. “Would I be throwing away a piece of myself if I deleted those emails? Would I be disrespectful of that old relationship?

Yes, ten whole years after my divorce was complete, seeing those emails brought up some of the turmoil that I went through when I got divorced. It was fleeting, but it was absolutely there.

Does this sound familiar? Most people believe that that once the divorce decree is signed, that should be the end of it. Most people also think that once you’ve moved on, things will never pop up again to remind you of the huge transition that your divorce was in your life. That’d be nice, but the truth is that your divorce will always be a part of your personal history. Even after you finish the bulk of your transition from married to single, there will be events, people and things that remind you of both the unpleasant and pleasant parts of your divorce. It’s okay and it’s normal. As you get more and more involved in living your life for you, the impact your divorce has will diminish to barely a blip on your radar.

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How do I know? Because more than ten years after my divorce was finalized, when I found those emails detailing the negotiations about our division of property, I paused. But I paused for only a moment before I hit delete and felt really good about my current life. And you know the best part? I wouldn’t be here today without having gone through what I went through back then.

Your Functional Divorce Assignment:
What are you holding on to that you might be ready to let go? Consider the things, thoughts, and ideas that you’re holding on to currently. The ones that bring you the most pain might just be the ones that you consider letting go of.

What might be the consequences of letting them go? Thinking about the repercussions of letting these things go, you’ll discover both positive and negative possibilities. Get them all out so you can really see what the cost of letting them go might be. Sometimes the consequences of letting them go are really wonderfully positive.

More from YourTango: Ready To Get Over Your Divorce? Quit Playing This Tricky Game

Learn more about what to expect when you get divorced.

This article originally appeared on’s No Finish Line For Divorce Recovery.


Natasha Salgado
Past Member 5 years ago

Don't get married--it's far less stressful care free!

Fi T.
Past Member 5 years ago

It all depends on whether one dares to move out from the cave

Megan Kelly
Megan Kelly5 years ago

I'm in the process of learning to let go off the past, it's a tough but liberating journey!

Jessica K.
Jessica K5 years ago

My take on this is that there's nothing wrong with getting bouts of nostalgia. And I don't see the problem with keeping stuff from your past around as long as it's not clutter and it's not a crutch. Otherwise, why bother taking pictures and buying stuff to begin with? The author obviously was able to delete the e-mails, so I don't see anything wrong with a little reminiscence. Thanks.

Edo R.
Edo R5 years ago

Thanks for sharing!

Lynn C.
Past Member 5 years ago

Yes, Kamia is right - have seen so many people save so much of their past they had no room to live in the present. Literally and figuratively!

Wesley Struebing
Wesley Struebing5 years ago

Well said, Kamia. You are absolutely correct.

Kathleen R.
Kathleen R5 years ago


Jennifer H.
Jennifer H5 years ago

Kamia is right. I, unfortunately am the opposite. I find myself "saving" everything. Pictures (yes, even of the ex), family collectibles, everything. Because of who's they were, who the pictures are of. I don't like getting rid of any of that type of thing. I have this feeling that if I get rid of it then those people will be forgotten and they won't matter any more and history is gone and what is left of them is in the garbage can. I definitely have a "memory" problem!

Marianne R.
Marianne R5 years ago

thanks for sharing