How Divorce Changes Women
There’s no denying that going through a divorce will change you. It’s heart-wrenching. It’s emotionally devastating. Your whole world has been turned upside down, and it’s hard to go back to being the person you were before.
But despite the hardship and emotional anguish, most women have no desire to return to the person they were pre-divorce. Because the effects of divorce aren’t all bad. Once on the other side of the process, it can be a freeing, empowering experience. You can explore the person you are as an individual, not the person you were as a spouse. And many times, that person is far more interesting, talented, adventurous, and fun.
Divorce changes you
Granted, divorce brings with it a slew of unpleasantness. You are no longer the happily-ever-after couple you envisioned on your wedding day. Going through the inevitable grief process of divorce has likely led you down the path of every conceivable emotion: shock, anger, fear, and guilt.
At first, you may feel unsure of yourself as a single person. It’s been so long since you’ve been that person. You may be anxious about your finances and wondering how you will provide for yourself and the well-being of your kids. You may be wondering about your romantic future. Will you ever be able to date again? Trust again?
But time takes the edge off your fears, and with each task, you accomplish on your own, you will feel your strength return. Little by little, you will become a person no longer bound by your marital status or your past hurts. Life is better. You’re building an independent, solid foundation for your post-divorce life.
How to stop focusing on the negatives
It’s normal to experience psychological distress at the end of a relationship. You may have been blindsided, or you may have endured years of chronic unhappiness. Either way, it’s the end of what you knew, pleasant or not.
As humans, we’re naturally more fearful of the unknown than the known, regardless of how unhappy the unknown was. That’s why the initial impact of divorce tends to be so negative. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.
Check your internal dialogue. Thoughts powered by intense emotions can loop over and over in your mind, gaining momentum with each cycle. They can become monsters under the bed that hold you captive to a story that may not be altogether true.
Focus on positive changes instead
While negative thoughts are normal post-divorce, continuing to focus on them is self-sabotaging. In the wake of this major life event, we suggest you do the following:
- Accept that what you’re feeling is natural. Don’t beat yourself up.
- Write your negative thoughts down. See if you are able to find an alternative bright side to each one.
- Go outside for some physical activity. Feel the sun. Find a natural setting where you can simply enjoy being in the moment.
- Get social support. Don’t go it alone. Find a place of community, take a class you’ve been interested in, or call a friend who won’t let you feel alone and sorry for yourself.
- Eat a healthy diet. Get enough sleep. Your physical health impacts your emotional health. They’re inextricably entwined.
One of the best ways to turn around negativity is to focus on the positives your divorce itself has provided you.
Your life isn’t over; your marriage is. And your marriage might have kept you from living life on your own terms and experiencing things that make you feel happy and alive.
You learn from past mistakes
You’ve learned many things from your marriage and divorce, even if you’ve had to discover them the hard way.
Perhaps you now have a clearer understanding of your own boundaries – what you’re willing and unwilling to accept in a relationship for the sake of your own mental health. Perhaps you’ve discovered a higher meaning in your friendships and realized that focusing on romance alone can be a lonely place. Perhaps you have learned how to “trust your gut” when you feel something feels wrong.
One of the most important lessons divorce teaches us is that married couples change. Sometimes, these changes point them in different directions. It’s nobody’s fault.
You get to know yourself better
When you were married, you probably didn’t have much time to focus on yourself and what you wanted or needed from life. You had a loved one to care for, and you may have put your own wants and needs up on the shelf for “someday.”
“Someday” is here. It’s time to be your own best friend. Perhaps you’ve already discovered a well of personal strength you didn’t know you had. What else is there for you to discover?
You have more time for yourself
You may have been the primary caregiver to your kids, but now, you’re sharing child custody with your ex. It will initially feel odd and hollow, but soon, you’ll realize that it offers you valuable time for yourself.
Whether that means going out with friends on the weekend or just taking a long bubble bath in the evening without interruption, you’ll find that having time for yourself opens all sorts of opportunities to explore.
You value yourself more
Divorce helps you become the person you want to be without having to weigh that against the opinions and needs of your spouse. Life is short. Creating meaning and happiness for yourself right now ensures that you aren’t wasting valuable time.
You no longer have to second-guess your choices now, even if they’re mistakes, because you are being true to yourself. You will learn from your mistakes instead of holding back and never knowing what could have been.
You get to start again
Who doesn’t appreciate a do-over? How many times have you said, “If only I could?” Now, you can. The slate is clean. You can live a new, intentional life that is beautifully created for the person you are right here, right now, or even the person you want to become.
Divorce is one of life’s biggest stressors. But the divorce rate is pretty high, and in that sense, you are not alone.
You are also not alone in your endeavor to create a new and better life. At Hello Divorce, we exist to support you through every part of the divorce process: before, during, and after. Whether you’re looking for a divorce plan that is practical and affordable or another related professional service, we’re here to help. Schedule a free 15-minute call to learn more.
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