The Reality of Divorce
So, you no longer see eye to eye with your partner and have decided to go your separate ways. Maybe the person you loved and doted on is no longer right for you, and what you had together must come to an end. Maybe you or your spouse has already mentioned divorce, or perhaps you’ve already started looking into the process.
In any case, divorce is no doubt one of the hardest things to do. Not only does it take a significant amount of time, but it can often even become an expensive affair – especially if you have to use the services of an attorney. All this stress can quickly make the process a spiteful one, even if both individuals have good will toward each other.
Sooner or later, a time will come when reality hits home and you realize there’s no going back in this decision to split your marriage. Whether you are the one who initiated it or are on the other end, you’ll have to face the truth about the situation. Reflecting on this might make you feel relieved the divorce is finally over, but you could also feel that you have not yet come to terms with the separation. You might even start to feel a mixture of relief and regret, depending on the day. Whatever your reaction, the reality of divorce is no small matter – for anyone.
The Marriage Is Over, Now What?
It’s normal to feel like you’re stuck after a divorce, unable to decide what to do next. The process was probably tedious, made worse by the emotional involvement between you and your spouse. It likely took up a significant amount of your time, and now that you can take a breather, you don’t know how you’ll fill your days. Even if things went relatively smoothly, you might even feel traumatized from the whole experience, haunted by things you wish you would’ve done differently.
Coming to terms with how things played out is the first step of starting over. You have to be in the right state of mind to move forward, and that starts with accepting things the way they are. How well you are able to cope with the change depends on your ability to let go of the past and hope for the future. To do this, find time to allow the reality to sink in, and look forward to new beginnings. Surrounding yourself with people who offer emotional support or engaging in healthy activities or hobbies you like can be invaluable in this process.
When you feel like you’ve gained your bearings, don’t be afraid to face the next question: “Now what?” The answer will vary depending on your situation, but knowing what not to do and how to move forward can help you decide your next step.
Things to Avoid
Because divorce happens between two people, both of you are probably hurting. Whether you and your spouse have decided to remain friends or your interactions are toxic from the divorce settlements, know that you are both in a fragile state of mind even though the proceedings are over. In light of this, there are some actions you should avoid doing if you want to move forward after your divorce. Here is a brief rundown of some of them:
Don’t search for comfort in someone from your past. Under no circumstances should you start looking for comfort from someone you were involved with in the past. While it’s easy to fall into this temptation when you’re feeling lonely and lost after a divorce, jumping into a new relationship or rekindling an old flame without giving yourself time to heal can be detrimental to your health. This includes getting involved with your former spouse, which can also prevent closure on your recent settlement. Resist the temptation to go back begging and ready to compromise now that things have been finalized. The fact that your relationship didn’t work out before means it probably won’t work out no matter what.
- Avoid making life-changing decisions. It’s not unusual for someone who is trying to cope with a divorce to make some drastic decisions. Maybe you want to buy a new house or car to symbolize a new beginning. Maybe you want to get a huge tattoo to help find the new you. Avoid making these spur-of-the-moment decisions, because you might end up regretting them once you’re not so emotionally charged.
- Don’t slander your ex. Many people like to turn to social media to rant about what’s not going right for them, or how awful their ex is. If you need someone to vent to, find a professional therapist or good friend who will listen. Airing out your dirty laundry online won’t make anyone feel good, and you’ll probably regret it once you cool down.
- Don’t start seeing someone else. Starting a new relationship when your wounds from the divorce are still healing can cloud your judgment and make you feel desperate. It’s more helpful to use the time after your divorce to evaluate what you want in a new relationship and who you want to be in your future. Quickly starting something with someone new doesn’t allow for this reflection and can be a dangerous rebound. Take time before emotionally getting involved once again.
- Don’t isolate yourself from your married friends. The fact that your marriage is over shouldn’t be a reason for you to lose faith in the institution of marriage and those still in it. Accept the fact that it didn’t work out for you, and maybe won’t work out in the future. But don’t lose friends because of your situation, especially if they’re supportive. If some of your married friends start avoiding you after your divorce, it’s probably for the best. You need positive people who understand you, so mark those friends as losses and keep a place in your heart for any who want to stay.
Tips to Start Over After Divorce
- Giving yourself time and surrounding yourself with support are keys to moving forward after a divorce. Slowly, you’ll begin to gain determination to get back on your feet again – or maybe you already have! Either way, here are some tips on how to go about moving on and moving forward after your divorce:
- Find yourself again. The period after the divorce is a perfect opportunity to take time for you and discover who you want to be in the future. Get back to the things you enjoyed doing before your marriage and rediscover yourself. Feel free and open to engage in the things you love without restriction.
- Mourn the marriage. There is no timeline for grief. You’ve lost someone and something you had hope for, and you have to accept that divorce is a loss of what you once knew. Like any other loss, you need to be in touch with the feeling of no longer being with the one who meant everything to you before.
- Remember your life isn’t over. The fact you are divorced doesn’t mean your life is over. Instead of sitting at home all by yourself, you can go out and try something new. How about you take time to try your hand at horseback riding, or dancing, or something else you’ve been putting off for the longest time? Embrace the new and exciting you!
- Be true to yourself. Nothing beats being true to yourself, especially when it involves something as personal as divorce. Accept your regrets, your faults, and your positive attributes – all of it!
While there are plenty of things you can do to start over after a divorce, you may find that you need some additional help recovering from what you’ve gone through. In addition to seeking out friends and family who can stand by your side and offer support, you can also utilize the services of a professional or licensed counselor to help you work through the turmoil and aftermath of divorce. You might also find your religious leader quite useful during this time to offer you moral support after the divorce. Getting any sort of outside perspective on your situation can provide you with valuable insights into your past relationship, your personal tendencies, and future relationships. So, don’t hesitate to get help from someone who is qualified to give you advice.
It is no easy task for someone to let go of emotional ties to their spouse, especially if they’ve been married for a while. Many people make mistakes while trying to cope with their loss or attempting to rebuild their worth, but such mistakes are avoidable and can be conquered. Divorce might be the end of a marriage, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your life. By reaching out to others, giving yourself time to grieve, and staying true to the knowledge that you will get through this, you’ll come out of your divorce changed for the better.