Life after Divorce: Tips for Women
Divorce is not just difficult. It is life-altering. Much the same as the death of a loved one, the end of your marriage must be grieved in its own time and space. No two people heal the same way, and yet heal you must if you want to move on and make a new life for yourself and your family.
You are now embarking on some profound life changes, and there will be a learning curve. Forging ahead with patience, grace, and self-care is essential so you can find your new path, make the inevitable mistakes you’ll make, and still prevail in your new and exciting future.
No matter whose decision it was to divorce, it’s over – and time to move on. The hardest thing you can put yourself through is asking, “What if?” You are doing yourself a big favor by shutting off the ruminations. Unless you have a co-parenting arrangement and need to maintain contact with your ex, it may be a good idea to cut ties for the time being – at least until the emotions die down and you can find a sense of acceptance and peace.
Allow all the feelings
Anger. Grief. Fear. Resentment. Laugh-out-loud relief. Loneliness. You’ll feel them all. Let them come. Usher them in, thank them, and then let them find their way back out. Rinse and repeat. It will be a crazy time of roller-coaster feelings – perhaps the feelings you have kept pushed down for a long time. Expect them. After a while, you’ll begin to notice that they come with less frequency, and then not at all.
Give up the blame game
Traditional divorce is all about blame. Unless you had a no-fault divorce or mediation, your divorce might have required fault-based grounds, or in other words, blaming one spouse for the divorce. But pointing the finger of blame and holding on to negative emotions post-divorce helps nobody. This is especially true if you have kids and need to create a harmonious co-parenting relationship with your ex.
Get to know yourself again
Who were you as a once-upon-a-time single woman? You may no longer recognize her, that person you put aside to fit into your role as a wife. What talents did she put aside? What longings did she have? Make friends with her again. You may have had no time for things like your own well-being, self-care, and self-understanding during your marriage, but this is your time. Make yourself promises, and keep them. You should be able to trust yourself and your decisions going forward.
Check in with the kids
It’s been a rocky time, and needless to say, some of your most important family members, your kids, are feeling all their own feelings about your divorce. Let them find safety in their relationship with you, and allow them to express – or not express – everything they’re going through. Keep it light, allow them to ask questions, and give them age-appropriate answers. Find a way to co-parent with your ex-spouse so they continue to feel loved and nurtured by both of you.
You’ll eventually find new ways of creating this thing called “family,” even though it looks different from before.
Mix up your habits
Daily life becomes a habit, and a habit can turn into a rut. Your life may have become a rote set of patterns that now could use a shakeup. Take a class. Join a book group. Learn a new language, or find a new hobby. Hang with your best friends, and find new friends. Set your alarm 30 minutes early and savor a sunrise, go for a walk in nature, or take time to meditate.
Now is the time to focus on your mental, emotional, and physical health. Sometimes, all it takes is small steps to make a big difference in your perspective on life.
What about dating?
Besides your relationship with your kids, your most important relationship right now is the one with yourself. Don’t put pressure on yourself to get back out there in the dating world if you’re not ready. But when you are, do a self-check. Make a list of the things you’re willing to accept and not accept in a dating relationship – or even a new partner. And then, stick to it.
Healing takes time, and healing is vital before you extend yourself into a new relationship. Give yourself the time you need.
Going through a divorce is one of the most overwhelming things you will do as an adult. You shouldn’t do it alone. Get the support of friends, family, co-workers, or anyone who can offer positive nurturing during your divorce recovery. You may consider getting the help of a mental health professional or joining a divorce support group of others who know exactly what you’re going through.
If you’re looking for a team that has your back throughout the whole divorce process, Hello Divorce is here for you with skilled legal services, a network of professionals, and a wide range of free resources to offer you essential tools and help you on your way. Schedule a free 15-minute phone call to see how we might be able to support you on this journey.