Should You Forgive Your Spouse After Divorce?

Divorces come with a long list of difficult emotions – anger, resentment, sadness, fear, and uncertainty for the future, among others. It is therefore understandable that you have difficulty forgiving you spouse for all the painful experiences that led up to the end of your marriage.

After a divorce, there are several situations in which you may still need to communicate with your ex-spouse. If you have children together, you will have to learn to be co-parents. If your divorce settlement orders ongoing financial interactions, you will need to be able to discuss money matters.

Many people think that forgiveness means forgetting all about what happened and condoning bad behavior in the future. This is not the case. Forgiveness should be thought of as a way to become a more empowered person, because it allows you to let go of feeling like a victim and turn the corner to a new chapter in your life. This can make you a happier person, a better parent, and reduce the stress of having to communicate with your ex when necessary.

Here’s what you should know about forgiving a spouse after a divorce:

  • Forgiveness isn’t letting the offender off the hook. You still have a right to healthy boundaries, and you can and should hold others accountable for their actions (or inactions). Forgiveness simply means trying to stay positive and not allowing the offender’s actions to bring you down.
  • Forgiveness isn’t an event – it’s a process. It will likely take some time to work through your own emotional issues before you can truly forgive your ex-spouse. This is normal and expected. It’s okay to take time to forgive a person after a divorce.
  • Forgiveness is based on your attitude, not on the actions of others. Some people will never change. It is therefore up to you to change the way you respond to them.
  • Don’t feel pressured into forgiving someone before you are ready. Forgiving someone too soon because you feel obligated won’t result in true forgiveness. The healing process takes time – so take it.

Divorce is hard, so make sure that you have someone on your side who you can trust. For more than 20 years, the Washington divorce lawyers at McKinley Irvin have delivered the highest level of divorce and family law representation in the Pacific Northwest. If you are considering divorce, we invite you to schedule an appointment with us to talk about your options.

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