After a divorce, there is an opportunity for a “Do Over” on every level. 

Perhaps you end up moving, and you have to go through all your things.  You will probably want to purge things that feel too symbolic of that partnership, that time period, and now you will be moving into a whole new stage of life. This reshuffling of your living space and lifestyle is inevitable as you begin to heal from divorce

As you divorce or separate, you are saying, “No.” You are letting go of values and ways of being that no longer align with you now.  There are a lot of “Nos” in the divorce and separation process.  At the same time, you are looking forward to a life ahead and it is important to really connect with your “Yes.” 

There may be many places where your Yes was enmeshed in the Yes of your ex partner or the Yes you had created together, but now it’s time to find YOURS.  

 

One level can be surprising and overlooked when we heal from divorce is sex. 

As we end a relationship, it is important to take a close look at our sexuality and fully individuate our Yes and our No from what it was in the partnership to what it is in our new life as a single person. We may need to do some digging and healing of our sexuality – and bringing some awareness into your real wants and desires, figuring out your YES! and your NO, is one of the first steps to heal from divorce.

As a a Sex Educator, Intimacy and Pleasure Coach,  I support singles and couples to have  more authentic, embodied pleasure and connection.  For newly-separated folks, this can be hard. The pain and grief, the regrets and losses, the release and relief can be overwhelming. 

Yet, this is where I see a huge space for potential to heal from divorce, where we can experience rich growth and transformation. It’s important and helpful to take a good look at ourselves and our sexuality as we step out into the dating world and new potential relationships.

 

When I separated from my partner of twelve years, I was sure it was the right thing to do. 

I had tried to make the relationship work.  We had a child and I really did not want to break up the family, but by the time I moved out and stepped into my new single co-parenting life, I was very sure of my decision.  

I was happy.  And even as sure and as happy as I was to move on, I still felt sadness, loss and grief. 

Mostly I felt grief and loss around the idea of “family.”  Even as I grew to embrace the extended and blended family we created, I still felt losses. I liked his new girlfriend and in turn fully celebrated her as a stepmother and an integral piece of our co-parenting. I love my daughter’s new little half brother and am given “auntie” privileges and title with him. 

Even when we are happy and sure, there is grief.  And when there is grief, there is “Grieving” or “Grief Work” to do.

Grief can and most likely will show up in our sexuality. When we know how to open space to be with the sexual pieces of a divorce, we can build a healthier sexual life with ourselves as we move into dating in future sexual relationships. 

Woman in therapy sex therapy for women

The first time I had sex with someone after my separation, I felt something rather shocking. 

I literally felt my vagina was in the shape of my ex’s penis.  I am totally serious.  And, yes, this is a very heternormative image, but I invite you to let it sink in.  When we engage, especially over time, and even more so if we create children, we literally hold the imprint of our lover’s bodies in our bodies.  We need to find ways to release those imprints in order to heal from divorce.

What I find with my clients and in my own process is that sex is a catharsis and when we move into that cathartic space, unprocessed emotions emerge.  If we don’t take the time to process and grieve our separations, one day they may suddenly emerge to be felt as we engage with others sexually.  You might have a beautiful hook up, or sex with an old friend, or sex when it feels right dating for the first time and you orgasm or just feel a wave of pleasure and –BOOM!! – you suddenly want to burst out crying.  And honestly that’s fine, but for many of us it may feel weird or uncomfortable to be swamped with emotion about our ex when we are cuddled up to a new love.  

 

One way to heal from divorce is through Sex Therapy.

It’s a good idea to do some investigative healing around your sexuality before you start hooking up, or just with incredible awareness of the possibility of catharsis or various emotions and memories arising in the process.  You can do this by working with a Sex Educator, an Intimacy Coach, a good therapist, by using a workbook or taking a course on sexuailty. These aren’t limited to just women; in fact, here’s a resource for men. Most Sexuality Coaches have a sample consultation or offer free intro classes to get to know them. 

 

Another beautiful, interesting and helpful way to release a relationship from our body is Steaming. 

You might have heard it called Womb, Yoni or Vaginal Steaming. It is important for womb bodies, but it is a medicine that is helpful for all genders and non-binary folks.  You can learn how to do it by booking a consultation with a Steam Practitioner and they can guide you on the materials needed and how to do it at home.  It’s a beautiful way to cleanse and release a relationship and to sit with all the emotions.  

 

Divorce and separation is a form of rebirth.  This is absolutely true in your sexuality as well. A whole new you is being reborn.  Embrace it.  Hold yourself well.  You are your first and best and most important lover.  

Marisa Sullivan Sex Educator Better Apart Blog by Gabrielle Hartley Healing Your Sexuality Can Help You Heal From Divorce

Marisa Sullivan is a Modern Day Mystic. She is a Soccer/Dance Mom Tantrika. A Pleasure Witch. She teaches Women and Couples Sexual Empowerment- Sacred Sexuality -how to maximize the magic and medicine of sexual juiciness, how to be authentic in our sexual expression, inhabiting our yes and no and understanding the power of pleasure. She shares her awe and respect of the wisdom of our anatomy, especially the vulva womb genital and pelvic floor anatomy and their entwinement . She helps women balance their menstrual cycles, harness their fertility, birth, mother, partner, build communities, vision and create their lives. She is a mind/body/life journey healer using yoga, Breath, meditation, Reiki, ritual, Yoni steaming, joy, laughter, Breathwork, creative play and sexual education. She sees clients privately in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Virtually. She teaches workshops and retreats worldwide.  She believes Love is a super power we can all harness to effect change in our lives and world.

Marisa offers Private Session online and in person for Sexual Empowerment and Womb Steaming. Learn more here: https://www.marisasullivanhealing.com

Some links and posts are from our sponsors. Here’s how it works.

P.S. Want more tools and resources to stay positive during a divorce? Download my Free Divorce Survive & Thrive Kit below!

 

BETTER APART
The Radically Positive Way
to Separate
Gabrielle Hartley with Elena Brower
Available on Amazon
“Potent, accessible tools for your family and your future.”
— Gwyneth Paltrow, New York Times Bestselling Author and Founder of GOOP
Newslettersignupkit

Revolutionizing the conversation around Divorce, one internal narrative at a time.

FOLLOW GABRIELLE

DISCLAIMER: The commentary, advice, and opinions from Gabrielle Hartley are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice or mental health services. You should contact an attorney and/or mental health professional in your state to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. 

NYC ADDRESS: 150 East 52nd Street, Suite 1002, New York NY 10022

STATEN ISLAND ADDRESS: One Edgewater Plaza Suite 304, Staten Island, NY 10305

PHONE: 413.341.0034  /  917.757.0980