Let It Go: Revenge Isn’t a Healthy End to a Marriage

Let it go, Let it go,
Can’t hold it back anymore. 

Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door

Unless you’ve been under a rock the past couple years, you’re familiar with the smash hit from Frozen, sung by Idina Menzel.

The songwriters were on to something: while revenge sounds sweet, letting it go is the healthiest option. A New York Times article, Ever Wanted to Get Revenge? Try This Instead, says that while wanting revenge is normal and can even motivate you to make a change, it also keeps you attached to the past, and unable to move on. 

The ending of a relationship frequently generates emotions of anger, revenge and what the article calls “toxic feelings.” Rather than giving in to your motivation for revenge when a relationship ends, it’s better to find a way to let it go and move on.

The desire for divorce revenge is easy to understand, especially if you feel that your partner has “done you wrong” via an extramarital affair or financial betrayal or general dishonesty. Divorce court is not the place to try and get revenge – escalating alimony demands, public airing of every betrayal, dragging a divorce on for months or years, or worse of all: denying access to your children as retribution. In the end, revenge behaviors during a divorce will most likely make the divorce even worse for you. As Malachy McCourt said, “resentment is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

How To Let It Go and Move on After Divorce

Live in the Present
“Living in the present is where all the “good stuff” in life happens,” says Mark Banschick M.D. “To be present, no matter where you are, use all your senses to pull yourself back into the moment. Take time to appreciate all the beauty that already exists around you. You only have to be present to see it!”

Take Your Time
“The time to move on after a divorce varies from person to person,” explains Dr. Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC. “For many people, the relationship was long over before the divorce was final. For some couples, the divorce was a long and bitter process that left them in bad shape. Depending on where you stood at the end of it all can dramatically change the time you need before meeting new people again.”

Focus On Things You Actually Can Control
“How you choose to react to the problem — in this case how you choose to react to the facts (the events that are making you angry), is what makes the difference between navigating this process with less drama and stress for yourself, or letting all the madness drag you down and leave you exhausted,” advises Martha Bodyfelt, CDC Certified Divorce Coach.

Using a collaborative lawyer or mediator to help negotiate your divorce agreement – what I call conscious lawyering – and not inflame the situation even further can help you move away from the natural feelings of revenge and toward a space where you are able to let it go and move on. If you are ready to move on, find a lawyer who is conscious and aware of his or her role in your conflict and will help you be your best self through this difficult process. And listen to your gut—you’ll know who the right lawyer is for you.

Contact us for more information about how to divorce without the need to extract revenge.