How to Stop Feeling Guilty After Divorce

Why Do You Feel Guilty After Divorce?

Stop Feeling Guilty After DivorceThere are many reasons that you may feel guilty after divorce. Some reasons may be valid, but most are not. For instance, you may feel guilty if you had an affair – this would be a valid reason for feeling remorse. On the other hand, if your ex had a controlling personality, he may convince you that all of the problems in the marriage were because of you and tell you that it is all your fault, causing you to feel guilty – this would be an invalid reason to feel guilt.

Other reasons you may feel guilty include religious reasons, that you destroyed your children’s life or that you did something wrong that caused your husband to leave or to have an affair.

What Is Guilt?

According to the World English dictionary, guilt is: 1) The fact or state of having done wrong or committed an offence. 2) Responsibility for a criminal or moral offence deserving punishment or a penalty. 3) Remorse or self-reproach caused by feeling that one is responsible for a wrong or offence.

In other words, Guilt is a sense of remorse for past thoughts, feelings or actions. Guilt may also be a feeling that you should have done or said something or that you should be doing something.

6 Steps to Stop Feeling Guilty After Divorce

1. Sit quietly with yourself and reflect on the reason why you feel guilty after divorce. Did you actually do something that you need to feel guilty about? The act of leaving and divorcing your husband, in of itself is not a valid reason to feel guilty, as you more than likely had very good sound reasons for leaving. Recognize and identify with your guilty feelings and ask yourself if you believe you did something wrong or immoral deep in your heart.

2. Acknowledge what you did wrong. Accept that you are human and are not perfect. It is not the first mistake that you ever made, nor will it be the last. The past is gone and you cannot change it.

3. If there is no valid reason for you to feel guilty, ask yourself why you are allowing other peoples opinions and circumstances dictate your feelings. No one else can feel your feelings or live your life. You are not responsible for what another person believes, says or does. You may have been conditioned to believe that divorce is a sin or that it is the woman’s job to keep the husband happy. These are beliefs of other people and there is nothing stating that they need to be yours and they are often the root of women feeling guilty after divorce.

4. What positive experiences are you getting from feeling guilty? It may be a way to avoid grieving or accepting the end of your marriage. There may or may not be a positive reason for feeling guilty. Be honest with yourself when contemplating this question.

5. Seek forgiveness from all whom are involved. In a divorce, this may also include the children. You may need to ask your ex or your children for forgiveness for any part you had in the separation. Above all, FORGIVE YOURSELF!

6. Learn from any mistakes that you made. Let go of the past and move on. Let go of the “should haves,” “should not haves,” “could haves” and “if only’s.” If you are continually asking yourself these questions you are living in the past, which means you are not creating the future you want. Feeling guilty over divorce keeps you stuck in the past. It’s time to move on.


  1. says

    hello. i am hoping someone can anwser my question i have been having for the longest. I had an affair that cause my husband to leave me. Now after several weeks, I have not been able to move on. I keep feeling guilty for forgiving myself and moving forward. Should I , I already asked him for forgiveness and he told me he would need time but yet when we speak he still brings it up. I doesnt understand how I am able to live with myself . My question is what should I do now. Do I continue moving forward or do I live with this forever?

    • Cindy says

      Hi Sara,You are not alone. Many women feel the same way that you do. Yes, it is imperative that you forgive yourself. Punishing yourself forever is no way to live. If you would like some help getting through this, you can schedule a 60-minute consultation with me at no cost. Visit Best wishes to you. You deserve forgiveness and a happy life!

  2. Melanie says

    After 4 years of being in a relationship and only about 7 months of marriage, I am and have been since before the marriage took place, thinking about leaving. My husband is controlling and I can’t speak my mind with him or any issues I have in the relationship or about anything without him twisting my words and than placing blame on me. He only wanted to get married because if we did before the end of the year we would get more back for taxes because of filing married. I wasn’t ready but went through with it anyways. That’s my fault and I accept that. I don’t love him anymore and honestly I don’t know if I ever did love him or if he was just someone to be with so I wasn’t alone. I feel guilty about leaving because I haven’t for a while expressed my issues with him because of always getting yelled at and being told that I don’t feel that way and it’s my fault anyways. I have completely shut down and am ready to leave. I just can’t shake the guilt. I care for him as a person but I don’t want to be with him anymore. I feel so bad about it. He has in the past expressed his willingness to harm himself if I leave and I have attempted to leave before and he has threatened to come after me if I didn’t return. I am afraid of telling him in person and risk a huge fight or worse. I also don’t want him to cry in front of me and I don’t want to see him feel pain. I know I deserve to be happy but I almost feel like the guilt is not worth being happy. I know it will go away eventually but I don’t know that i can make it until than without giving in to him and going back. I don’t know what to do. I have children from a previous marriage that love him too and I don’t want to put them through this again but I also don’t want them to see me unhappy or think being treated the way I have been is appropriate. My last marriage was also abusive, physically and mentally. The guilt that my ex husband placed on me kept me in a marriage for 7 years. I know from my previous marriage that the guilt can be gotten over. But I actually care about my husband and how he feels. Even if he doesn’t care about my feelings. I’ve tried getting advice from friends and they are telling me to do what I need to do to make me happy. I just can’t stop feeling bad about it. Please any advice I can get will be helpful. Thank you.

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