Couples go through challenges and problems that could make or break their relationship. If the marriage turns sour over time, it ends up in divorce. This life-changing event brings out the emotions couples have kept in for so long before agreeing to divorce formally.
Divorce affects you, your partner, your children (if you have any), and the people you hold dear. You fill in the role your partner once had. People take sides and can end up blaming you for everything. You don’t enjoy the same financial leeway as before. There’s almost no one you could seek help from after the divorce.
Rebuilding your life after divorce is definitely the hardest part. You’re doing everything alone and learning new things for the first time in a long time. While you will definitely face challenges as you start anew, you can find your way to a slow but steady recovery:
- Allow yourself to grieve
Just like any kind of loss, you need to allow yourself to grieve over divorce. Lie on your bed the whole day. Eat a tub of ice cream while watching sad movies. Spend days looking outside the window and crying all of a sudden.
The path to grieving is by no means linear, and a one-size-fits-all formula for how you mourn an unfortunate loss like this does not exist. Grieve as much as you can. Acknowledging what happened and letting the emotions flow through you are a good first step to recovery.
- Seek emotional support
When you’re grieving and emotionally vulnerable, you need all the emotional support you can get. Call up your friends and vent your feelings. Join a support group for divorced individuals. Seek guidance and help from people who went through the same situation. You just can’t go through it alone. You’ll always need someone by your side.
- Write a journal
Words hold immense power. With the many things you want to say not just to your partner but also to yourself, you might struggle in finding the right ways to say it.
Spoiler alert: there is no one right way to say any of these difficult things, but writing them down, no holds barred, is a good place to start. Grab a pen and a notebook and write whatever you want. Your entries can be about your feelings or the most mundane everyday happenings.
Writing helps reduce the pain you feel. Develop the habit of writing and you’ll track your progress of healing over time. You’ll notice the changes in your moods and responses to your memories.
- Set goals and making new hobbies
Now that you’ve wiggled your way out of a messy (or amicable) divorce, it’s time to build new goals and hobbies. Return to your old hobbies or take on something new. You don’t need to excel at it. What’s important is that the hobby you choose makes you smile and relieves you from the upsets of your divorce (or life in general).
- Build new connections
With divorce comes losing the people you thought were true to you. At some point, you end up getting blamed for the entire thing. But it’s not too late to build new connections and meet people. It’s natural to gain new friends and to lose contact with some along the way. Open yourself up to new friendships.
- Celebrate the single life
Life after divorce signifies a fresh start. Now that you’re single, you can find a way to celebrate what’s left of you and the countless possibilities for your future.
Spend a day alone. Take a trip with your friends. Go on a vacation in your family home. Talk to good old friends back in your hometown. Throw a party. Do all the things you did back when you were single.
Although it takes several adjustments and getting used to, there’s no reason not to be happy after your divorce.
- Consider dating again
Happiness after divorce may seem elusive for some people. Some choose not to open their hearts up to potential new partners while some put themselves out in the market again.
If you feel like it, download dating apps and begin swiping left and right. Ask your friends to set you up on a date. Divorce is not the end for you — it’s a new opportunity to find the right person.
- Explore what pleases you
Marriage may have toned down your libido. Bring it back to life by exploring sensations that you once felt. With divorce comes opportunities to pursue sexual relations with other people. Remember to practice safe sex, choose your partners wisely, and never feel shame about exploring what your body wants.
But not all pleasure is sexual. If this is not your cup of tea, you always have the choice to pursue other avenues of pleasure.
- Reinvent your whole self
Take the time after divorce to evaluate where you are in life. Try a new fitness routine. Get a makeover. Apply for a job that’s a total opposite of what you do. Shift your mindset and get used to the new you.
Don’t forget to love yourself after everything you’ve been through. Remember, you can only begin loving others if you love yourself first. Know your worth, always.
- Handle your finances
Life after divorce is hard, especially for women. If your partner was financially supporting you, you may now have to handle the finances on your own. Don’t worry, though, there are practical ways to managing your finances post-divorce: Try:
- Flipping the budget
Revamp the whole budget since you’re handling it alone. You need to make huge changes including downsizing your home and eating at home instead of outside. Lifestyle changes come along with budget.
- Evaluating accounts
Look at your bank account and make compromises about giving up the things you used to enjoy. Spend the money on more important things.
- Setting goals and priorities
If you have children, put their needs first above anything. Set goals with your finances and prioritize the things you need to do after the split. Boost your finances by finding home-based jobs and setting up a small business.
- Talking to a financial planner
If you can’t handle your finances well or you overspend along the way, talk to a financial planner. They’ll help you set goals and allot the money to important matters.
The dreams you built with your ex-partner haven’t completely gone down the drain after divorce. You have the choice to achieve them by yourself or with a new partner, as long as it does not bring back the unpleasant parts of your former life.
- Be strong for your children
Divorce brings about huge changes to both parents and children. Co-parenting is even more challenging for divorced parents who separated on bad terms. As a child, seeing your parents divorcing when you thought everything was okay can be shocking and confusing. As parents, you have to be strong for the sake of your children.
Explain divorce and be strong for the children by:
- Being united
Talk to your partner and come up with the best explanation for the divorce. Stick to it and relay it to your children.
- Putting a stop to fights
There’s no real benefit if you and your partner always fight even after the divorce. You’ll just bring more harm to the children than any good.
- Getting involved
It won’t hurt to ask your children how they are doing and asking them questions. That way, your children feel that you still care for them individually.
- Being honest
Honesty is always the best policy, especially in divorce. When your child asks questions, answer them as honestly as you can. You need to be aware of the information you share too. Little children don’t need too much information. For teenagers, you need more transparency. They are surely as confused as you are in navigating their new normal.
- Spending time
Plan the times you spend with your children. You can ask them what they want to do and go with it.
- Addressing changes
Tell your children about the changes in living arrangements now that the divorce is finally official. Downsizing the home and cutting back on some unimportant expenses are some things your children need to understand.
- Giving love and reassurance
Your children need to feel that you still love them despite the divorce. Always assure them that you’re there for them no matter what happens.
- Respecting your partner
Treat your partner with the same respect you once did while you were married. Respect their decision in life and their parenting style.
- Consider divorce mediation and therapy
When things are hard to deal with, therapists are there to listen and help you out. Divorce mediation or divorce therapy is a viable choice for individuals seeking support during the rockiest days of their new post-divorce life. Divorce therapy is a new approach that is not as prevalent as couple’s therapy, but is quite effective for those who are motivated to re-gain their steady and happy selves after divorce.
You and your psychologist can work on a solution that’s tailor-fit to your situation. You don’t need to delay getting help if you badly need it. If you are in Toronto, ON or San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA, help is available at Feeling Good Wellness Center. Consider online divorce mediation or divorce therapy with Dr. Katie Dashtban and begin your journey to healing.
A future filled with love and happiness awaits you and it must start with yourself. Let Dr. Dashtban help you feel good about your life after divorce. Call 1-888-539-1172 or email [email protected].