Going through a divorce is certainly a difficult and turbulent time. Afterall, this is certainly not the outcome that you expected when you initially made the commitment to another person and saying goodbye to something that was once such a significant part of your life can feel as though you are losing your identity.
There are steps that you can take, however, in order to make handling this process more bearable.
The important thing to remember is that the healing process takes time so go easy on yourself, don’t pressurize to yourself to move on feeling better within a specific timeframe and don’t feel guilty about using this period to enjoy a little “me time”.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Your Ex
Regardless of how amicable your split was, and if your divorce was a mutual decision, life after marriage can often feel like something of a competition. You want to feel empowered about your new life, and not have the other person believe that you are struggling to move on or find happiness elsewhere.
The presence of social media makes it even easier to compare yourself to someone else – you can see what your ex has been up to during the weekends, how happy they look, whether they are dating someone new, etc, however, this is dangerous behavior.
The only critic that matters now is you so take a social media detox if you have to, fight the urge to check up on your ex via social media or through mutual friends and progress at your own pace.
Become Your Best Self
The time following a divorce is a great opportunity to be selfish and only focus on the things that you want to do. Though a loss is sad, no doubt you will now have some free time in your schedule where you didn’t before.
Perhaps you always wanted to take Latin dance classes but you could never really find the time. Alternatively perhaps you never really spent time pampering yourself. You should try and dedicate at least ten minutes a day to doing something special for yourself in the period immediately following your divorce.
As part of your pampering and “me time” you could consider a slight reinvention of yourself – maybe you could opt to change your hairstyle and experiment with a different color or cut. Sell your jewelry online, especially your engagement ring or others that remind you of your ex and spend the money on something trendy and new.
Learn to Let Go
Following a breakup of any kind, it’s easy to spend a lot of time trying to analyze precisely what went wrong, whose fault it was, etc.
Remember that what has happened has happened, and regardless of how much you hypothesize about what happened and things that you feel you should have said or done, you will never be able to go back and change the situation and as such, this is a completely wasted time investment.
Instead of focusing on the “what ifs” and the “if only’s” try and spend your time doing something more productive – like thinking about and preparing for the “what next”.
Allow Yourself Time to Grieve
A short while after your divorce, you may start to feel pressure to feel better about what happened. You are tired of moping around and you feel as though your friends and family are tired of having this miserable version of yourself around.
You may start forcing yourself to do things that you’re just not ready for yet – lunging head first into new dates because you don’t want to seem to be dwelling on the past, or putting on a brave face and pretending that everything is okay on the outside because you want it to be.
Truth be told, if you don’t acknowledge that you are upset, and you try to bottle up your emotions then they will only come out later.
Of course, you don’t want to put your completely on hold because your marriage didn’t work out, but certainly, don’t rush into anything. The end of a marriage is the end of an era and should be grieved the same as any other loss.
Don’t spend this period feeling sorry for yourself on the couch armed with a box of doughnuts and a soppy movie. Dust off your old running shoes, call up your former workout buddy and hit the gym or your local park for a spot of exercise.
Upping your workout game will not only have you feeling more body confident, but exercise is also proven to make you happier and is of course much more positive behavior than moping around at home.
Talk About it
Don’t push your feelings about your divorce down internally and pretend that you are okay when you’re not. Equally, don’t allow yourself to just stay alone with your thoughts obsessing and replaying everything in your mind time and again. Discuss what happened and your feelings about it with your friends over a coffee.
Chances are, you’ll feel better to get things off your chest and they will be able to provide you with a fresh perspective on your situation. If you really find that you are having a hard time coming to terms with what happened and you want to delve more into the details during your discussions then there really is no harm in seeing a therapist.
This is an impartial person who is here to assist you and it may feel better to talk things through with someone who is otherwise removed from the situation. Of course, if you have children, you will need to talk to your child about the divorce, to ensure they are understanding and able to process this change also.