Even if ending your marriage is the right choice, the truth is that divorce is hard for everyone. Admitting defeat, and saying goodbye to all of that time and energy is a rough place to be. The day your divorce is final, you will feel a lot of things—relief, anger, happiness, sadness, and a whole lot of confusion. What happens now? How will you survive?
You may have already been in survival mode for a while now. You’re definitely doing your best to get through the day. As you move forward and transition into this new era of your life, here are 7 tips for surviving divorce.
1. Take care of yourself
You’ve been through a lot, and your emotions will be all over the place. So take very good care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep, eat plenty of healthy food, exercise regularly, and try to have plenty of down time. If you make mistakes, don’t beat yourself up or tell yourself you are a failure at everything. You are human! Be kind to yourself—as kind as you would be to a good friend if they were going through the same thing. You’ll need time to grieve over your lost marriage, and to be able to function well in your daily life.
2. Surround yourself with family and friends
It’s important for you to feel connected during this time, especially since you have lost one of your biggest connections. Surround yourself with the people who love you the most. Allow them to buoy you up with their positive energy and love. It’ll make you feel like you’re not just surviving, but actually thriving.
3. Forgive yourself
As you look back on what went wrong in your marriage, surely you’ll have some regrets. You’ll keep thinking all the “what ifs” on a loop in your head. What if you did this, would your marriage still be intact? Don’t let those questions keep popping up in your head. Accept that this marriage is over, period. It’s done. So it’s time to move forward. The only way you can do that is to forgive yourself. Quit beating yourself up about what did happen or could have happened.
4. Forgive your ex
It takes two to tango, and obviously your ex had something to do with the divorce, too. It’s important to take time to process that, but at some point, you need to let that go. If you don’t, it’ll plague your life going forward. Find a way that you have forgive your ex. It doesn’t mean you have to like them or trust them again—it is just a gift you can give to yourself. It’s permission for you to not allow your ex to rule your life anymore.
5. Enjoy being single
Many who are newly divorced are fearful of being single again. Why is that scary? For so long, they have identified themselves as being married. They became comfortable with that identity, and probably wanted to have that same identity for the rest of their lives. But when that changes, they have to rethink who they are. That is scary. Rather than let this be a fearful time, try to embrace being single. Even enjoy it! Think about all the things you can do now that you don’t have to check in with your ex. Go out, have a good time! Let loose and paint the town. Don’t worry about dating unless you are ready. Just go out and have fun with friends.
6. Do something you’ve always wanted to do
Your identity may be a little fragile at the moment, but take heart. This is your chance to turn a new leaf in your life. Be open to new possibilities! Try out something you’ve always wanted to do. Take a pottery class, travel to India, or go skydiving. In the process, you’ll have an exciting adventure and also learn a lot about yourself in the process.
7. Go see a counselor
Most days you might feel ok. But other days, you may just be going through the motions, just surviving. A divorce is a lot to go at on your own. Go see a counselor and talk about what you are going through. You will feel validated, and will use tools to develop skills to better handle things until you see that life after divorce can be bright and full of hope.