Divorce Recovery: 4 Stages to Reclaim Your Life

By: Dalila Jusic-LaBerge
March 02, 2017

Divorce is very traumatizing, but if you allow yourself to heal and utilize available support, you can emerge happier than ever before. This may sound far-fetched and kinda cheesy now, but bear with me a bit. Focus on these four stages of divorce recovery, and you can emerge on the other side.

During the initial stage, the focus is on making sure that you stabilize emotionally and get through the most difficult times by utilizing powerful coping strategies. After the initial stabilization is achieved, divorce recovery focuses on helping you grow and live a life that suits you.

Divorce is not what you signed up for when you got married. That's for sure! But seriously, how happy were you prior to the divorce? Your marriage was most likely not really good. You must have gone through some struggle before this happened. If you look at this in an empowering way, you can learn from it and take advantage of the situation. You can figure out what truly makes you happy and what you want your life to be about. Why would you do this? So you can get in touch with your true self and reclaim your life.

The 4 Stages of Divorce Recovery

Take your time to go through these stages in order get on your feet again.

1. Stabilization

The first part of the divorce recovery process is the initial healing that allows you to survive the most difficult moments. Gain coping skills, surround yourself with various types of support. These include, but are not limited to seeking out to family and friends, support groups, individual therapy, etc. You may want to take time off, spend time with your family or friends in another town or a state if possible. This can give you some time to heal and settle your emotions. Take as much time as necessary during this period. Nobody needs to tell you to move on.

2. Exploration

What didn't work?

After initial stabilization is achieved, and your life is in order, you may be ready for exploration. You can grow by reexamining what went wrong in your marriage. Although your ex may be at fault for the divorce, there is a part that you played in it too. Acknowledging things that you could have done differently is liberating and it can set you up for making better choices in the next chapter in your life. Did you choose a wrong man? Did you make a choice based on his superficial characteristics, such as his education, looks, nationality, or the amount of money he makes? Don't get me wrong. These are important considerations for many of us, but they are not enough for good compatibility. When everything is settled and you spend time together, no amount of money or education will compensate for the lack of good vibe between you two.

What is it that makes you excited?

Another important aspect to consider is what makes you happy in life. This will allow you to live the next chapter of your life with much more satisfaction. We all did so many things in life based on other's expectations and worked on them as our goals, but we seldom got a chance to explore what truly makes us happy. We have often been numb and living on autopilot. This caused us to fall out of touch with who we truly are. It's important to give yourself the time to explore this and get a sense of where you find yourself.

Of course, this doesn't mean that you will abandon all those valuable skills that you learned during your lifetime. You can just reawaken this forgotten part of yourself. All this just adds to your assortment of strengths that will help you get where you need or want to go. Divorce is a great time for this after you finish the initial healing process of divorce recovery. After some introspection, you may discover that you want to give up your law practice and live as a goat herder with a guy in Sicily.

3. Experimentation Phase

Experimentation is a great phase. You are not so vulnerable anymore and you may start getting hints about what makes you happy. It's time to check out a few things that you may be interested in. For instance, are you interested in casual dating, finding true love, or are you just happy to be solo for now? The answer to questions like this will help you determine how you can conduct your experimentation.

When it comes to relationships after divorce, it's essential that you already went through previous two stages, stabilization and exploration. Experimentation is good for you because you are still not feeling completely confident. When you consider this as the experimentation rather than a quest, you can enjoy the casual nature of this stage and avoid feeling insecure. This naturally leads to a greater sense of mastery because it's less likely that you are super nervous about it. This applies to all the new things you may be interested in pursuing

4. Regaining Confidence

Confidence is the stage when you are self-satisfied and you know that you can accomplish what you really want, and we all know you can. After all. you've done so much by now. The previous three stages lead to this, and experimentation leads to confidence. When you succeed in a few things, you are able to gain confidence. You know by now that you can achieve what you truly want. When you see this potential, you can realize that divorce wasn't that bad after all.