I Feel Hopeless. How to Get to Happy After Divorce

I feel hopeless

By Jackie Pilossoph, Creator and Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling site, podcast and app, Love Essentially columnist and author

Shock, fear, anxiety, depression, anger, frustration and bitterness are all difficult but common feelings during divorce. Then there’s hopelessness; those times when you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, nothing will ever get better, and things will never change: the times you say to your girlfriends, “I feel hopeless.”

For me, hopelessness was one of the most difficult things to handle. “I feel hopeless” feels powerless, like you are  unable to change the way things are. I remember not even knowing where to begin to make things better because it seemed impossible.

I feel hopeless…

I feel hopeless during divorce feels sad. It feels like things will never get easier and better. Life seems bleak, just bad, and every possible scenario to try to change it seems like it would never work. Sound familiar?


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I get it. I’ve been there. I remember this one time, my then 5th grade son accidentally spilled my cup of coffee on my 6 month old Mac. It immediately shut down and I knew it was destroyed.

I had to nervously sit by and watch the clock, and run to the Apple store at 10 am when it opened, buy a new computer (which was very stressful financially) and wait for a data transfer which they told me to brace myself for because the hard drive was possibly destroyed and everything could be lost. I had no back up.

Usually a very positive, upbeat glass is half full type of person, that incident caused me to spiral into depression and extreme anxiety. I cried all morning and I just kept thinking about how hard I had been working, how I poured my life into my work, and how things just keep happening to screw it up.




A couple weeks after, my heat broke. That was $700 something. Then my vacuum cleaner. $300. Shortly after, I had to go have some tests done to rule out some really, really bad diseases. So, I basically worked all week, but in the back of my mind always wondering if I was going to be OK health wise.

Thinking of all these things sometimes feels unfair. It can be infuriating. It can be exhausting. It can feel like you want to bang your head against a brick wall. It’s the basis for “I feel hopeless!”

Most people who are newly separated feel hopeless a lot. Every day.

1. I’ll never be able to pay my attorneys fees

2. My kids are going to cry every day for the rest of their lives

3. My ex is going to live happily ever after with his new love of his life and I’m going to be alone

4. I’m never going to get a job like the one I had before I had kids: the one I gave up to be a stay at home mom

5. I’m going to grow old and die alone.

6. My ex and I are at war and it never changes

7. I’m going broke


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8. I’m going to have to live without my kids every other weekend.

9. No man  (or woman) will ever want me

10. How am I supposed to get a full time job when I have young kids? I can’t even afford daycare.

11. I’m old, I need Botox, and I have varicose veins and cellulite

12. I feel alone and isolated

 These are the feelings of hopelessness during divorce.

Let me help you change the way you think, which will ultimately turn “I feel hopeless” into hope, inspiration, and ultimately, happiness.

Think about this: Every minute of every day, there are miracles –really good ones—going on. The second you open your eyes in the morning and get out of bed and even with every breath we take, that is a miracle. In other words, a couple things might go wrong every day, but 99.99999999 percent of things GO RIGHT everyday.

We take that for granted. Not because we are bad people, but because there are millions and millions of beautiful miracles happening every second, so how can we possibly appreciate every one of them? We can’t. So we tend to forget (or maybe not realize, is a better way to put it.)

We don’t take time to appreciate the beauty in everything. Maybe some things we do, but again, the beauty is so vast, that we couldn’t possibly absorb it all.

Every time your child smiles, or hugs you, or says, “Thanks, Mom” is a gift. Every time you turn on an appliance that works, that’s a gift. For every step your legs help you walk, a gift. Every time you touch your little boys cheek, or kiss someone you love, a gift.


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In other words, for every million things that work, one thing breaks or goes wrong. So don’t focus on what broke, or who was mean to you, try to remember all the things that work and all the people you came in contact with that made you smile and you won’t feel so angry.

Thinking this way helps “I feel hopeless” in that whether we want them to or not, things ARE going to change. Eventually, you will find your passion and a job that works for you. Eventually, you will meet someone and your spouse (who left you for another man or woman) might break up, and he or she will be alone and you won’t. I’m not saying to hope for that, I’m just saying it’s a possibility. Eventually, you will solve your problems. Unfortunately, new ones will arise.

God, belief in yourself, and gratitude will help you through it.

We can’t control most of what happens to us in life. What we CAN control is making good choices, doing the right thing in certain situations, being the best parent and the best person we can be—presenting our best selves to the world—and working as hard as we can to achieve our dreams. All that is within our control, but nothing else is.

In closing, here are the keys to coping with “I feel hopeless:”


1. Realize you can’t control most of what happens in life.

2. Self-love is perhaps the most important thing in being happy.

3. Things are going to change–good and bad. Change is unavoidable.

Hopelessness is frustrating and depressing. BUT, with the right attitude, “I feel hopeless” can transform into dreams you never imagined.

Like this article? Check out,“8 Reasons Your Ex is Angry and Hateful Towards You”


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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorced Girl Smiling is here to empower, connect and inspire you. Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, the site, the podcast and the app. A former television journalist and newspaper features reporter, Pilossoph is also the author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

22 Responses to “I Feel Hopeless. How to Get to Happy After Divorce”

  1. Judy

    After a long afternoon in court yesterday battling an ugly, awful divorce, this article was just what I needed to read. I guess we as mothers will never understand why a father hurts his children in an effort to hurt his spouse. As you said, there are things we just cannot control.
    Thank you.

  2. Melissa

    I loved this blog. I managed to hold it together until I read the part about my children coming to me and hugging me and saying they love me. My three year old daughter says “Mommy I love you, you’re my best girl.” And then I started crying because you could be describing me right at this very moment and all the thoughts that go through my mind as I walk down the divorce path. What you say is so true – even in the midst of darkness, there is light somewhere. Thank you.

    • Diana

      Thank you. This really spoke to me as it’s 4am and I woke up feeling hopeless. I do not believe in divorce. Today. This week, was hard. This helps

  3. Tammy

    Thanks for this post. I really needed to read it this morning. I relate so much to your feelings of hopelessness around divorce – especially the bit about children crying every day (that makes me feel so guilty) and about the cellulite etc, I split with my husband last year and I still have so much healing to do. It feels like a bit of a journey and your blog gives me hope.

  4. Doug, Chicago

    You are amazing Jackie. In a Facebook world where too many of us repeatedly fall into the trap of comparing our behind-the-scenes miseries to other people’s carefully selected highlight reels, you have shown the courage to be raw, direct, authentic, honest, brave, present and vulnerable … that’s a gift. Shining a light and setting an example … that’s a gift. Specializing in hope when so many are experiencing despair … that’s a gift. Writing gender-neutral when it would be easy to gender-vilify … that’s also a gift (thank you). Your blog is a place for women (and men) to find both candor and support. I hope that on your worst days you will remember to re-read these comments from grateful readers and maybe an old guest posting or two: https://www.divorcedgirlsmiling.com/divorce-advice-a-cheat-sheet-for-finding-peace/#comments

  5. Donna

    I agree with Doug. Your candor is refreshing and your vulnerability is comforting. My divorce just became final and I can’t tell you how your posts have helped me to bear this cross. This dose of perspective is sorely needed as I was laid off on Monday. Granted, the job was sucking my soul out, but I had just applied for a mortgage to be able to transfer the home into my name. Truly, God has a sense of humor. The old me would have been incapable of any action for weeks, but with the coping skills and perspective gained from your posts, I have already applied for 4 jobs. Someday I will laugh about this.

    • Jackie Pilossoph

      And someday you will realize there was a reason it all happened. Like you will be so happy in your new job and you will see that God did you a favor!! I am wishing you the best of luck!

  6. Jill Rogat

    I remember the feelings of hopelessness and financial devastation I faced after my divorce. You have a great perspective and you’re right – usually these dire circumstances are not actually the end of the world and you manage to get through them. Self-love and having faith are two pieces of advice that got me through.

  7. Mari

    Thank you so much you are a blessing, you have help me
    So much with all your articles I’m training for a
    Half marathon thanks to your advice. May you and your family
    Be bless for ever.

  8. Vanessa

    Thanks for you comments. My divorce is so new but it gives me hope as I rebuild! I can do it !

  9. Valarie

    I want to believe your opinions, your positive outlook, but right now, it hurts and bad… When will this pain stop, will it ever stop? If you were being punished in hell, positive talk and hopefulness wouldn’t cut it. Let’s be negative for now, cuz that’s where I am at. It hurts, it will always hurt, and I can’t let go of my hope or love. I know I the one holding myself to this prison, but I can not leave or give up the way he has on myself and my babies.

  10. Mickey

    Being that politically correct misandry is the order of the day, how much anti-male hostility does a guy have to endure in the now unrealistic hope of just getting a freakin’ date???

  11. Casey

    I’ve been reading your posts probably bc I’m almost 2 years post separation date and still feeling hopeless and hoping come June 13, 2016, I read something helpful. I am so curious why did you divorce and how old were your kids at the time? I divorced because of an Ashley Madison affair that occurred a year before the Ashley Madison story broke but ultimately I guess bc he was a narcissist bc I could have overcome the cheating.

    • Jackie Pilossoph

      My kids were 3 and 5 at the time of my divorce. It was very very difficult. I promise it gets better. xo

  12. Casey

    Meant to add my son was 2 years old at separation and we were trying for a second but had to do fertility treatments bc he couldn’t have kids with his own sperm. So that just made the cheating piss me off more bc I was trying to line up fertility plans for baby number two and he was doing that.

  13. Kay

    Yes some things are still worth being happy about but right now they are just not enough. I keep wishing I just wouldn’t wake up in the morning. I also wish he would drop dead. I have no job, no home, no family that gives a damn and I don’t see any of that getting any better. Saying you will “pray for me” is about as meaningful as snot. I have a pace maker and without his insurance, I’ll probably die soon. I don’t see any way that this gets better.


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