As much as you may feel like it, this is not the end of the line. There is no one option that will be your only answer to picking up and starting over, but considering a variety of helpful practices will surely help you get back on your feet.
Divorce may have been an unpleasant surprise for you, but now is your chance to be surprised by something positive and new. Here are three helpful strategies to cope with divorce and get your life back:
Initially, after a separation, the first thing you experience is being alone. It may seem sudden, and to some it may seem devastating. However, before you can begin to move forward or grieve, you will have to face yourself.
You may hate the idea of being by yourself, and you may even have a personality that craves closeness and company as often as possible. However, after a divorce, you may be in situations where you’re alone for long periods, and it’s up to you to find ways to make yourself happy again.
Sure, you may have friends and family that you can lean on for help, but you will only truly be ready to move on from your separation when you learn to be happy on your own without relying on others. Take the time to do things that you never got to do with your partner, or that you enjoyed doing when you were younger and have since given up.
Take a new class, visit a new place, or finally get that gym membership. Recognizing that you have personal needs and embracing other things that make you happy will be important to feeling better.
On the other hand, as much as you do need time to yourself and learn to do things alone, a good support system will make all the difference. Life after divorce depends on how you pick up the pieces, and often that depends on the people with whom you surround yourself in this time of need.
Whether you join a support group for recent divorcees, spend more time with your family, or reengage with a tight-knit circle of friends, finding a support system that can help you after a divorce is crucial. An ex-spouse was more than likely the first person you turned to for guidance and support in tough times. If you needed someone to talk to, whether to aid in decision-making or for someone to listen, your spouse was likely the first person you turned to. When that support system is gone, you will want to find others who understand what you are going through, and who are happy to listen at any time.
It’s also worth noting that you need to surround yourself with positive people who will not make you feel worse in this time of your life. Those who take your spouse’s side, or those who do not support your divorce, are people to distance yourself from. You want those who will encourage you to get out into the world, make new experiences, and encourage you to move your life forward at this pivotal time.
This is why it also can be very beneficial to find divorce support groups during this hard time. While your family and friends may want to help, they may not fully understand what you are going through. Support groups may have members who have a similar experience to yours, and who may be able to help you more effectively. Not to mention, you are meeting new people, which is helping you change your experiences. Consider visiting DivorceCare.org, where you can find a support group in your city or state to connect with.
Whether you wanted this divorce or not, you should feel okay grieving the loss of something that has been very significant in your life. Avoiding your feelings and trying to move on too soon will only result in more confusion and frustration on your part.
Not to mention, it’s not healthy to bury your emotions in order to please the rest of the world. As a person who wants to come out of this on the other side, acknowledge that you and another human had a significant impact on one another. Depending on your situation, acknowledge that you had beautiful children together, that you helped each other reach goals, or that you made some very life-changing choices with the help of his or her advice.
Even after the initial hurt/anger/pain, you will need to come to terms with all that you two built together and acknowledge that there were good points or positive outcomes. Even if it doesn’t work anymore, you are allowed to respect what you and your ex-spouse experienced and accomplished together. And, much like when you lose someone to death, you need time to grieve the loss of your spouse and/or the relationship.
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Ron Burg is the content manager for Naggiar & Sarif, LLC. Naggiar & Sarif is a family and divorce law firm based in the heart of Atlanta, GA. They counsel those who are in need of personalized, concise family law and divorce counsel.