Going through divorce is never easy, but most Americans would prefer a divorce over an unhappy marriage. This may be a surprising fact to some, but Business Insider indicates that the U.S. perspective on divorce is changing. It has become common knowledge that people divorce for a variety of reasons and there are no ground rules as to why.
Maybe you’ve been married for years and you were surprised that your spouse wanted to split. Maybe you’ve grown apart, or there was infidelity. Maybe you’re recently married but discovered you wanted different things. Divorces can be amicable and civil or drawn-out and damaging.
Whatever your personal situation might be, the question most people face after going through divorce is: what now?
While you might not immediately know what the next chapter of your life will look like, it’s the perfect opportunity to create a fresh start for yourself and make some definitive decisions about what you want the rest of your life to look like.
How to Create a Fresh Start After Going Through Divorce
A fresh start doesn’t mean you have to ignore your past. Rather, it’s an opportunity to learn from the past and take those lessons with you on a new adventure.
That can look different for everyone. You might find yourself having to move for the first time in a while, either by yourself or with your children. While moving out of the marital home isn’t always easy, it’s an exciting way to fully leave the broken marriage behind and have a real clean slate. Your fresh start might include moving down the street, moving elsewhere in town, or moving to a completely different area. Whatever you do, consider what’s best for you and your family, and you won’t regret moving.
You might also want to take this opportunity to do things you’ve never done before but always wanted to. Are you worried about your finances after going through a costly divorce? Maybe it’s time to consider going back to school or switching careers to something with more benefits. Some of the top perks to look for include:
- Retirement plans
- Health insurance
- Disability insurance
- Life insurance
- Workers’ compensation
- Paid time off
Changing your career could also make you feel like you’re starting something anew, further distancing yourself from who you may have been in your marriage. However, your marriage has never, and will never define you.
What Makes You…You?
When you’re with someone for a long time, people start to associate the two of you as a unit. You probably even did that yourself. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s supposed to be that way during a marriage.
But if the relationship ends, you may be left feeling confused, lost, or uncertain of your identity. As a result, not only can you feel overwhelmed, but you might start to feel a sense of loneliness. Even if things weren’t great in your marriage, knowing someone was there can make a difference in how you feel.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to fight back against loneliness and embrace life as a single individual, including:
- Establishing a support system
- Choosing one person you can turn to when times get hard
- Giving yourself time to grieve your loss
To get adjusted to life after divorce, it’s important to start focusing on yourself. You may have been part of a “we” for a long time, but it’s time to start thinking in “I” terms. Keep in mind that over the years your personality may have changed. You might not like the things today that you did before you got married, and that’s okay. Use this time to find out who you are today. What inspires you? What captivates you? What are your likes and dislikes?
Don’t be afraid to spend quality time with yourself when going through divorce. That might sound silly at first, but the loneliness you’re feeling is likely coming from within. Instead of filling it with another individual, fill it by taking control of your life again and exploring who you are on your own.
Starting Over Doesn’t Have to be Overwhelming
One of the biggest problems associated with life after divorce is coming at it with the wrong perspective. That isn’t to say that the divorce process itself isn’t difficult. Even amicable divorces are losses, and it’s okay (and important) to grieve that loss.
However, instead of focusing on your divorce as the end of something, try focusing on the fact that it’s an opportunity for a fresh start. Don’t feel pressured to rush into anything you’re not ready for. If you are going through divorce, do the things you want and give yourself time to figure out what that next chapter looks like.
You might consider traveling the world to shift your perspective and kickstart the next stage of your journey. Or maybe you’ll spend more time with family and friends. You might even want to spend more time alone to rediscover what’s important in your life. Whatever the case, don’t let the aftermath of divorce completely throw you off course. Your life might just be getting started.