Grief vs. Nothing After Divorce: Take Grief


“Between grief and nothing, I’ll take grief.” ~ Falukner

Feeling Nothing

Good people often grieve. Those who hurt others with a full understanding of their actions don’t usually grieve, unless they come to their senses and at some point understand the damage they have done.

Grief means you comprehend the consequences of hurtful actions. I am not putting myself up as an unusually good person, but I do grieve when I have done something that hurts someone else. Especially someone I love.

If I feel ‘nothing,’ when I inflict hurt to others, that would mean my conscience is seriously damaged. Do any of us know a straying, adulterous, or calloused spouse who really grieves their actions? Most often they seem to feel nothing … no regret, no sorrow, no remorse. They go merrily along their way, regardless of who is hurt in the process.

To Truly Live, Is To Feel Hurt

In the history of my work with divorced people, all who did not want their divorces, grieved. Those (men and women, alike) who left their spouse ‘to find themselves, or to marry a younger person or to fulfill his or her dreams, never seem to grieve that decision. They leave the grieving to those who understand that grief is a normal reaction to wrong.

Grief means you understand good and evil. Grief means that you are a fully living, breathing, caring, loving human being. Grief is hard. But it reinforces the idea that some things deserve grieving. Good people will grieve life’s losses and then find a way to move forward, stronger, and more careful not to cause grief for others or hurt themselves.

The selfish, self-centered, unloving person feels … nothing. They not only do not feel the grief; they do not feel the joy of real love and real caring and real life. I agree with Faulkner, I’ll take grief and true, good life every time. The only other option is nothingness.

“If you set your heart on God and reach out to him …. You’ll forget your troubles; they’ll be like old, faded photographs. Your world will be washed in sunshine, every shadow dispersed by dayspring. Full of hope, you’ll relax, confident again; you’ll look around, sit back, and take it easy. …. but the wicked will see none of this. They’re headed down a dead-end road with nothing to look forward to –nothing.” ~ Job 11:13-20 (The Message)

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About the Author:

Suzy developed Midlife Divorce Recovery as a safe refuge for people healing and surviving the overwhelm of divorce. Starting her first RADiCAL support group in 2003 she's been helping women navigate the journey of divorce ever since.


  1. Tricia August 5, 2012 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Terri,Someone else’s grief is not something we can solve, or fix. If we just sit with them, ofnirefg whatever love and support we can, when they’re ready, it gives them an outlet, a sounding board. Sometimes they need us to listen, sometimes action is called for, even if it is only to hand them a handkerchief, give a hug, or pick up cat food at the grocery store.Each of these things is a gift of time. And now-a-days time is often a difficult thing for us to give with our busy lives. But it is essential for someone who is grieving, whether young or old. Gayle

    • Alex October 18, 2012 at 11:57 pm - Reply

      Sadly, this article is rlaveent to many of our lives. I think many times a breakup or divorce is harder than the death of a loved one because with death, you know the loved one did not choose to leave. Also, with the death of a loved one there is so much support that is offered to the grieving that is simply not available to the person suffering a breakup or divorce. There are no, divorce casseroles and no formal services, no flowers and plants and usually not cards with condolences. Usually, there are no offers of shoulders to cry on or lean on, or at least not long term offers. The world expects the divorcee to get over it . It’s kind of cruel. Sad, but true.Your point of not wallowing in the breakup and taking steps to move ahead is well taken, but the fact remains, there is very little support offered for those suffering divorce or breakup.Nice article, I enjoyed reading it.

  2. donna January 23, 2017 at 12:43 am - Reply

    I grieved at one point but with so much pain and betrayal heaped on over and over and continuing to this very day…I no longer seem to feel anything….I am numb and I cannot fathom finding any solace. I have no joy and its constantly thrown in my face by my adult kids….it cannot be discussed and they don’t care…after nearly 30 years of the same grief…I have no more ability to feel anything but bitterness and I hate my ex for what he did…he destroyed me, laughed about it…and on purpose destroyed our family…he allowed my kids to bully and abuse me too…..and every step towards healing gets dashed immediately at the first sign of disagreement….its a never ending cycle that I can no longer tolerate…I feel hollow and angry….and I no longer want a thing to do with anyone in my family….I haven’t met anyone who really cares…and when you constantly are left with nothing but betrayal, you come to a point where you have no room left to grieve…you can only shut down.

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