Advice & Inspiration

Published on March 18th, 2014 | by Sara Davison


Dealing with guilt during divorce

 Many parents feel guilty for getting a divorce as they worry about the impact it will have on their children. Breaking up the family unit is a big decision and parents are often torn as to whether it is the right thing to do, even if they believe their marriage is over. Many even delay the separation until the children are older, as they are concerned how they will cope. Even if they do go ahead with the divorce, those feelings of guilt can often stay with them long after it is finalised.

Guilt is an overwhelming emotion, and it can stop you from moving forward and doing what you think is right. It is very difficult for caring parents to put themselves first and to take an action that they know will have some negative consequences for their children. No loving parent will find that easy. However there are some key points to bear in mind:

1) It is better for children to grow up in a happy environment. Children are very perceptive and can pick up on tensions and unhappiness, even if you try hard to hide it. Having two happy homes rather than one unhappy home can give them more security as they feel more comfortable.

2) Be a good role model for your children. If they see you arguing every day, being unkind to one another and they feel tension in the air your children will grow up thinking that that is how married life is. Their expectations of a loving relationship will much lower than what is actually possible and they may end up settling for less than they deserve when they start dating.

3) We see the world through our own filters, including our own background and personality. If you grew up in the same house as your mum and dad then you may feel guilty that you are not giving your child the same opportunity. But this is their life and their journey. They do not know any different and may grow up stronger and wiser because of these lessons they are learning at a young age. You have to let them follow their own path in life, even if it is different from your own.

4) Children are more resilient than you think. I am a great believer that divorce does not have to damage children. It really does depend on the parents and how they step up as role models. Reassurance, love and a united parental front go a long way in helping the children to cope.

Guilt is a destructive emotion that keeps you focusing back on the past. Have you made the right decisions? Did you handle things as well as you could? Are you doing the right thing now? These all need careful consideration as divorce should not be taken lightly. However in order to move forward and be free of guilt you need to realise that divorce is not all doom and gloom for kids.

5) Having two homes does have some benefits such as two sets of toys to play with, two birthday celebrations and different sets of friends. With 42% of marriages ending in divorce in the UK there will be other children at their school experiencing the same issues and they are not alone.

6) Let go of any bad decisions you made in the past and forgive yourself for them. Everyone makes mistakes in life and we must take time to learn from them. If apologies need to be made, then make them and do what you can to make amends. Acknowledge where you went wrong and understand why. You can learn valuable lessons that you can share with others.

7) By moving forward and not dwelling on the past you are taking back control of your life. Spend some time creating a compelling future for you and your children. Set some exciting goals to aim for and stay focused on taking small steps towards them.

I believe that everything happens for a reason and serves a purpose so leave the guilt behind you. You will teach your children the invaluable lesson to keep moving forward, even when life gets tough. A great gift to give them early on in their life.

Sara Davison is a leading divorce coach in the UK and provides clients with a sustainable program which offers all of the tools, advice and guidance needed to become better prepared for divorce. Visit for more information.




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