Feeling Lost after Divorce? How to Pave a New Path
- Steps toward recovery
- How long does it take to recover from divorce?
- Finding yourself again
- Paving a new path
You made it! Your divorce is finally over, and you’ve breathed a huge sigh of relief. But now, on the other side, you're feeling disoriented and alone. Your life has gone from a constant jumble of feelings to uncomfortable silence. Why aren’t you feeling more free and alive? Where is that feeling of jubilation and joy you expected?
After divorce, you’re left with nobody else but yourself. How will you define yourself when you no longer have a marriage to define you? Who do you want to be, and what do you want the rest of your life to look like?
First things first: Your recovery
The pain of divorce is real. Going through a divorce is often likened to going through the death of a loved one. And just like grieving a death, you will need to grieve the loss of your marriage.
Now, in the silence, you’re confronting the end of your marriage and maybe even your identity as a whole. How do you process and recover from this huge loss and move forward?
Steps toward recovery
We’ve heard about the stages of grief when a loved one dies, but far less attention has been given to the stages of divorce grief you go through as part of your recovery process.
Grief is a necessary part of the divorce process. And while all grief is unique and depends on the individuals involved, for the most part, the stages of divorce grief are similar to the stages of other kinds of grief.
While the healing process doesn’t always follow the same sequence, and not everyone will experience all of them, the stages of grief are broadly accepted as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Are you still stuck in anger? Depression? Are you still hanging on to the possibility of reconciliation? Divorce recovery, until you process all your feelings about your divorce and gain some valuable coping skills, may be difficult.
- Acknowledge your marriage is finally over.
- Accept it as a huge loss, and give yourself time and permission to truly grieve this life-changing event.
- Acknowledge that the pain you’re feeling is real and normal considering what you’ve gone through.
- Give yourself time, plenty of self-care, and patience.
- Forgive – both your ex and yourself.
- Get support.
How long does it take to recover, mentally and emotionally, from divorce?
How long it takes to recover from your divorce is how long it takes. For some, it can be a matter of months. For others, it can take years. Your divorce recovery depends on how long you were married, who initiated the divorce, what precipitated the divorce, and how long it takes to process your feelings and move on. This can be a very individual thing.
For many, the depths of divorce can feel like an endless weight dragging you down day after day, until one day … poof … they suddenly feel lighter and freer. They may run into someone who inadvertently asks about their ex-spouse and realize the topic didn’t even leave a hint of a sting.
Regardless of the length and shape of your recovery, take care of your physical and mental health now. Build yourself a nurturing bubble of recovery energy, and protect yourself from those inevitable triggers until you find the promised land of “I don’t care anymore.”
Finding yourself again
Divorce can be a time of great pain and great self-discovery. You’re no longer the person you were at the beginning of the process, and facing this time has forced you to mine strength you may not have known you had. The person you are now is in a position of power – the power of reinvention, rediscovery, and forging a new path that’s best for you and you alone.
- Take alone time to understand what you really want in your life after divorce. Make a vision board if you’re feeling creative, and keep it in a place where you can see it often to reinforce that vision.
- Connect with parts of yourself that you might have put on a shelf. Pull out those old talents, hobbies, and passions that you didn’t give yourself the time or permission to pursue. Go back to school. Make art. Write your memoir. Take that first baby step, and keep following it up with more steps.
- Create your own happiness. Your happiness starts inside you and doesn’t have to be reliant on anything else “out there.”
- Start a gratitude journal, and write in it every day. It can be highly beneficial to your emotional well-being to identify what you’re thankful for and focus on the positive on a regular basis.
- Tell yourself positive truths. You are strong. You are beautiful. You are smart. Turn these positive affirmations into mantras to tell yourself over and over again.
If you think you could use a little help banishing negative emotions and moving forward, get the assistance of a good therapist, life coach, or just an accountability buddy who will keep you moving forward and keep you company along the way.
Paving a new path
After divorce, you want to get back to some of the realities of life and sculpt them in your own way. You might consider consulting with a divorce coach to help you get some of the practicalities in order. Perhaps you’re longing for a new home or career. You might want to focus on your financial life and save enough money to travel. The sky's the limit, and you now have no one else to answer to or hold you back.
At Hello Divorce, we’re committed to supporting people through divorce into their new and improved lives. We offer resources and services that can help you no matter where you are in your divorce process. Let us help. Schedule a free 15-minute consultation to see how.
What Does Life After Divorce Have in Store for You? Start Your Next Chapter Today.