If you’re divorced, some days can be an uncomfortable spotlight, especially if you’re single among your married friends. This often poses the question: Can you be happily divorced when your friends are all married?
Of course, the answer is “yes”, but if you’re not there, read on for tips to get to that point there.
Being happily divorced if your friends are all married?
Understand why you’re unhappy.
The first step is understanding the feelings that are stirred up from being single. Do you feel lonely, excluded, or some other painful emotions? Being honest about your feelings will allow you to sort through them productively. If you need help understanding or managing your feelings, seek out professional help with a therapist or a support group.
Putting it on the table with close family or friends.
Whenever people are going through a divorce, I encourage them to find people who are truly supportive. This sounds obvious, but as people look around, they sometimes realize that their support network is much more judgmental than supportive. Once you identify the people who listen to you without judgment, use them as your sounding board for your struggle. Let them know that you sometimes feel like a 3rdwheel or that you would like some nights that are girls nights out instead of couples nights. Try to imagine what would feel good and then ask for it.
Developing other interests and relationships.
A major transition such as a divorce provides an opportunity to evaluate what is and is not in your life. It also offers a natural time to make changes. Perhaps you would like to develop relationships with other single people. This does not necessarily mean jumping back into the dating scene, but can be focused on finding deeper friendships. It can also be a time to take up a new hobby or re-invest in an interest that you’ve given up. Learning how to spend time with yourself and others in ways that feels healthy and positive is a big step in the healing process.
Dating when it feels right for you.
If you begin dating because you feel pressured– either internally or by others– you can set yourself up for further relationship disappointment. Mourning the loss of a marriage takes time and energy. It is an important step in moving forward. Starting a relationship from a solid place is a much better foundation for relationship success.
Happiness can be a loaded term, but research tells us that is that it is not simply about having pleasurable experiences. Rather, it is about having a life with meaning and purpose. What is fulfilling varies for each of us, so slowing down to figure out what you actually want, and pursuing that, is a better recipe for being happily divorced than simply pursuing what you believe others have.