“I want a divorce”.
There are few things more devastating to hear in a marriage. Knowing that your partner wants you to split up is painful, shocking, and can make you feel like nothing will ever be the same again.
And quite honestly, it’s true. Things won’t be the same, but that doesn’t mean they have to be terrible. Divorce is difficult, and painful, but the end of the road can be filled with new opportunities and a new life that you truly enjoy.
If you’re facing a divorce or have recently gone through one, take heart. These simple tips will help you get back on your feet, and find a healthy way to start over.
Let yourself grieve
You can get through divorce and feel happy again, but you’re not going to feel good straight away. The end of a marriage is one of the most challenging things you can face, and it’s natural to feel the whole gamut of emotions from rage to heartbreak to denial. So let yourself feel them.
It’s okay to take some time out to recover from the pain of divorce. You will feel better – but don’t expect to feel fine by next week. Give yourself time and be patient with yourself.
Get some support
A good support network is an absolute must if you’re going through a divorce. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends or close family members and talk to them about what you’re going through. You might even consider getting a therapist to help you work through the more difficult emotions and set you on the path to healing.
One word of caution though – if you have kids, don’t let them become your support network. That’s not their role, and will only put undue stress on them. Ditto close mutual friends of you and your ex. Don’t make them feel like they have to choose sides.
Rediscover who you are
Chances are you gave up some of your goals or hobbies when you got married. All marriage is a compromise. While that’s absolutely part of a healthy marriage, it’s also true that rediscovering the things you gave up can help you heal after a divorce.
Did you love going out but your partner loved staying in? Did you love a certain movie or music genre that made their skin crawl? Was there a hobby you let slip away when you got married? Now is the perfect opportunity to revisit the things you used to love.
Let go of your ex
There is one thing you used to love (or perhaps still love) that you should never revisit though, and that’s your ex. Of course, if you have children you will need to work on a healthy co-parenting relationship. However, outside of childcare, try not to get too involved in your ex’s new life. It will only hurt you and make it harder to move on.
It’s also time to accept that things aren’t going to change. Whether you wish they’d change a certain behavior, or you’re wishing you could have one more try, it’s time to let go. It hurts now, but in the long run you’ll be much happier as a result.
There’s no two ways about it – everything changes after a divorce. You’ll be living alone for the first time in a long time, and possibly living in a new place, too. Your relationship status has changed. Even the way you parent or the hours you work could change.
The more you can embrace these changes, the easier it will be to build a good life for yourself post divorce. Instead of resisting change, try to embrace it. Take the opportunity to try out things you’d always meant to try. Visit that place you’ve always wanted to go, or try out a new hobby. Make change your friend and enjoy exploring your new life.
Take charge of your finances
Divorce often heralds a change in your financial life. After all, you’ve probably been pooling your resources and living as a two-income household for a while now. Divorce can be a financial shock, especially if you weren’t very involved in money management.
Taking charge of your finances as soon as you can will help you feel in control and able to plan for your future. Take a seminar or online course, or invest in some books or money management tools. Simply reading a few financial blogs will help. Do everything you can to keep yourself in the green and plan how to manage your money.
Enjoy being single
There’s always the temptation to throw yourself into a new relationship after a divorce. Adjusting to who you are without your partner takes time, though, and some time spent enjoying being single first will do you good.
Use this time to really get to know yourself and figure out what you want from life. Instead of pouring your energy into a new relationship, pour it into yourself. You’re your main priority right now, and dating will only complicate the healing process. Look after yourself first so that when you do get back into the dating game, you’ll know what you want out of it.
Divorce is a painful process, but it can eventually lead you into a better relationship with yourself and your life. Take care of yourself, be gentle as you go through the mourning process, and when you’re ready step out and embrace your new life.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.