"Throughout this book, I felt Bruce had a secret window into my own life and private thoughts. Many private feelings I am currently dealing with were addressed and revealed in a manner that made me feel it is not only normal, but I am truly not alone in this. I was surprised that I cried while reading it and the comfort that the words brought me. I read tons of self-help books, among other types of books, and this book actually gives me hope and things to look forward to. My tears were from the fact that I am facing the words I read. I have been getting negative feedback from outside sources and these words reassured me not to listen, keep them out of your life and do what is right. The section on the other home/parent opened my eyes and freed me. I did not go into reading this book thinking it would help me on such a deep emotional level." ~Dorothy Justice, Vice Chair-Community Action Partnership

October 31, 2012

Adjusting To Life After Divorce

Divorce papers have been filed and preliminary hearings have likely started. You may have a separation agreement. You’ve created a new household status and you are settled in to a new home. The kids are acclimating to their new living arrangements. You don’t know what tomorrow brings, but you managed to get through another day. Now what?
So, you've split. You have participated in one of life’s biggest changes. Divorce papers have been filed and preliminary hearings have likely started. You may have a separation agreement. You’ve created a new household status and you are settled in to a new home. The kids are acclimating to their new living arrangements. You don’t know what tomorrow brings, but you managed to get through another day. Now what?

The beginning of the next chapter in your life. 

You know the tasks at hand and you work through the motions to make a new life, get comfortable, and then out of nowhere it hits you--life will be different. For me it was when I received delivery of my new bedroom furniture and I was figuring where to fit my clothes in the dresser drawers.  Oddly, at this time, I was confronted with the revelation I was on my own. 

In my own discovery, at that moment, I learned I had only been going through the motions since the separation. I didn’t give myself time to grieve or get upset. I was a young 34 with four little girls, relegated to weekends with my children, while the youngest still in diapers. My reactions through the process were to keep moving and do what I needed to do. It was now, at this time, I could slow down and steal a glimpse of my surroundings.

The five phases of grieving are accredited to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D. in 1969: Denial, Anger, Bargaining (Regret), Sadness, and Acceptance. These are the universally accepted phases primarily based on loss. Eventually this foundation would transform and set the path for grieving from divorce. Depending on which side of the receiving papers you were on and which gender, phases would differ.

I like Dr. Bruce Fisher’s, generic “Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends”. Dr. Fisher redistributes the five original phases over 20 chapters in order to target individual emotions during divorce. Depending on your situation and circumstances you may define your own combination of building blocks within. Once you’ve reached chapter 10, Letting Go, you’ll know you are near the peak of your climb. The remaining chapters set you on a path of transition and rebuilding, and therefore the ultimate prize, freedom.

I like how he doesn’t use the word “recovery”. His emphasis on “freedom” is freedom from yourself. Another book I recommend, incidentally, is Don Miguel Ruiz’s, “Mastery of Love”. It’s not what you think. If you find yourself spinning your wheels in development from your new transition, this would be a good time to encounter this book.

There may be many reasons for your breakup, but that doesn’t matter anymore. The pains are still there which may drag up fears about your future, but you’re in a new place now with your new life and new heart-- creating new habits, practices, and disciplines is your new norm.

How you implement your new life will be key. Focus on you and your children. Start to think about how you want your new beginnings to pan out. What do you envision for yourself moving forward? Nothing will happen overnight obviously, though making considerations about your personal future will help to start setting targets in place. 

Nonetheless, I personally moved too fast into dating immediately after my separation. I jumped in headfirst. I treated my renewed freedom much like a caged animal set free into the wild. After I got over myself, I developed an understanding--I needed to work on me.

This was the beginning of a long journey to persevere and develop into a better person. I needed to confront my fears and see where my boundaries lay. The first objective I accepted was out of left field--to get over a fear of deep water I developed from a swimming accident when I was a child. I was looking for my edge to stand on in order to gauge my starting point. As a result, I enrolled in SCUBA.

I began to think about all the things I wanted to do but never had the time previously. Now I had the time. My inspiration to become a better more fulfilling man came from another book I recommend: David Deida’s, “The Way Of The Superior Man”. It’s a phenomenal and must read for men. He has a book which complements “… Superior Man” for women called, “Dear Lover”. Ideally, a woman would want her closest intimate affiliation to read this book aloud.

Looking back several years later, I’m a different man. I wouldn’t recognize myself, if years before I was to run into the person I am today. I’m happy. I love myself. I’ve transformed. I changed. I put stock in my children, my career, and in me in that order. The dividends are in my blessings--to my children, who gained during my own growth in the process, and for having the woman I love deeply in my life.

Bruce Buccio resides in Colorado, USA,  is a Rebuilding Coach and Expert and soon to be published Author. Today, he writes primarily inspired by experiences raising his children, but also writes about inspiration, growth, and love.

-photo credit: Derrek Tiem/ Flickr

© 2012 Bruce Buccio


  1. Are you saying that it was only after the divorce that you realised what had really happened? That's interesting. I guess during all the processes you are going through you are focussing on getting everything sorted out, and it's only once this is completed that you sit back and really think about it.

    1. It was at this time I finally allowed myself to feel the impact of the changes and let them weigh on me. Its strange, I knew intellectually what was happening obviously. For some reason placing clothes in both sides of the dresser triggered an emotion that ran through my body. It was my beginning to the grieving process when I could finally slow down long enough to understand the breadth of the situation. Its my understanding people cope in different ways--everyone has this point of revelation somewhere in the process? Not you?