Your divorce is uniquely yours. It’s your rite of passage into a new future…

If you’re going through a divorce, then you don’t know what a happy relationship really feels like and you’re probably, most definitely, scared out of your mind. So that’s where someone like me comes in… you need a mentor, guidance to help understand what it’s going to take to end what hasn’t been working and to create a new, happy life for yourself with everything that entails. Did I say everything?

The legal steps are fairly clear and have their own timeline and rhythm despite the anger or drama: filing a petition, temporary orders, serving the other person, awaiting a response, negotiation, litigation, and trial if necessary. In mediation, each party tries to frame their position and negotiate equitable terms and the settlement documents go to court for approval. Some states require co-parenting classes, sometimes there is forensics, sometimes there are domestic violence issues and family court. Each of these legal steps has their trained professionals whose job it is to get you legally, ethically, safely separated.

On the emotional side, things take a less linear route and this is where getting a mentor is incredibly helpful. I believe healing doesn’t truly begin until after that decree is signed but wearing the stigma of divorce, like a Scarlet D on your tee shirt, also doesn’t have to color the rest of your life. You have to factor in time married, habits formed, agreements tolerated and practices you honed during the unhappy months or years you spent together and do your work to overcome the reasons why you attracted this very large life lesson into your life and avoid going through it over and over again.

A good measure goes like this. Take the AA 12 steps that apply to you and your understanding of a universal spirit, the 7 stages of grief, the 4 steps to codependency recovery, the 5 phases of abandonment recovery and mush them all together and that’s what you have to do to get through the entire process of divorce!

Let me make this as clear as possible: you are creating an entirely new life.

So, you decouple from the energy that attracted you to your X in the first place, work through the grief towards acceptance, rebuild your self-esteem, your pocketbook, your boundaries, your ability to trust again and your mojo. You learn to accept your human foibles, emotional crutches, take responsibility for your part, forgive, let go of shame and develop faith, hope, and confidence. You educate others on how to treat you, become a leader for those stepping into the process and help change how the world views this painful, deeply personal time. This doesn’t happen overnight!

You can continue living a great life while doing your work. You can fall in love, remarry, move, get a promotion and make money. The most amazing thing about divorcing is you get to start over with only you deciding the kind of life you want to have. However, you must become conscious and self-aware. It’s a process that wakes you up because we take ourselves wherever we go. And you have to give yourself the gift of guidance and time.

There are no shortcuts.

The entire process (different for each person, non-linear with fits and starts) really does have to be done or you’ll end up mainly stuck, often deflated, broke, sick, or worn out with Post Traumatic Divorce Disorder.™ Unfortunately, you can fall in love, move in with someone (who’s a lot like your X) marry and still have PTDD.™ You can make a lot of money, be in great health, have many gorgeous new partners and still have PTDD.™ You can start a new family and get divorced again – a sure sign of PTDD™ and statistically certain. For way too many, that Scarlet D doesn’t come off easily.

The process of divorce demands respect.

You can’t just wrap it up and pretend your divorce never happened. You can’t replace one lover with another and expect to be healed. You can’t argue and fight for the rest of your future. Chances are you aren’t sick or incompetent, you’re just scared and hurt and angry wanting to forget about all of it. (News flash: that won’t work… I tried.) Find a thinking partner like a Certified Divorce Coach. Find someone to hold you accountable so that your new love and your new life don’t reek of past work not done. Find someone to help you understand what’s going on.

On a certain level, you imploded your marriage so you could go through this awesome and life-changing rite of passage. You want to find the happiness you crave and deserve! I’m so excited for the person you’re going to become and I believe in you.

Laura Bonarrigo

New York, NY

[email protected]


This article originally appeared at

Laura Bonarrigo understands divorce. For most of Laura’s life, divorce dictated who she was. Her first divorce occurred at the age of 7 – her parents’ – and she has spent most of her life thinking about or healing from the experience. She married young and divorced in her early twenties when most people are just beginning to think about marrying. Then two decades later, after 15 years of marriage to her second husband and the father of her children, the stakes were higher and the decision more difficult. Through a lot of soul searching she ultimately knew the best thing for her family was for this second marriage to dissolve. 3 divorces have forced Laura to learn the hard lessons of forgiveness, understanding & patience. See to learn more about and from Laura Bonarrigo.