Anyone who has lived in a monogamous relationship is aware of the fact that you don’t necessarily keep all of your life skills up to par.
You may be familiar with a cohabitating style that consists of clearly defined roles around the home — you take out the garbage, I balance the checkbook, we both bring in income or raise the kids.
On the flip side, you may have strived with your previous partner to avoid any stereotypical “work assignments,” but that doesn’t change the fact that you may have had previously sharpened skills atrophy over time. Even when you’re avoiding assigning tasks to one person, there are still natural inclinations that get involved, such as, I like to vacuum, you like to do the dishes, and so on.
The point is, if you’ve just come out of a long term relationship, there are probably a handful of basic life skills that you may need to learn or relearn as you adjust to life on your own again.
How to Improve Your Life Skillsets After Divorce
This article isn’t going to list out every skillset that a divorcee may need to have on hand as they re-embark on a solo life. That could easily fill up a book. Instead, the focus will be on how to get comfortable with learning this laundry list of new skills.
As an adult, chances are you’ve become a bit rusty when it comes to learning new things. With that said, here are a few basic things to keep in mind as you readjust to a life where the buck stops with you, whether you’re talking about doing the laundry, creating a household budget, or anything in between.
Remember the Value of Lists and Notes
Lists are lifesavers. Whether you’re a fan of downloading a helpful task-tracking app like Google Keep or you prefer good ol’ pen and paper, writing down all of your new responsibilities and the skills required to complete them is a perfectly acceptable crutch to help you stand on your own.
For instance, if you were the primary breadwinner before, you may not be used to considering the kids in your day-to-day decisions. Perhaps most of your at-home purchases revolved around your office or major home improvement considerations. Now that you’re setting up your own space, though, it can be helpful to maintain lists to remind you of all of the extras you now have. As you go to purchase furniture, make sure it’s kid-friendly. When you go shopping, bring lists that ensure you get food that is appropriate for everyone who needs to eat.
On the flip side, if you were the primary caregiver and your spouse did all of the bigger home maintenance projects, you won’t have them to lean on anymore. Create lists to help you fill that gap. Start with a basic catalog of home maintenance tips and responsibilities, and then write down and record whatever you learn as you go along. If you have to reset a breaker or replace a sump pump, type in, video record, or write down what you learned and store it in a safe place so that you can remember what to do next time something goes south.
One of the nicest things about writing down lists, in particular, is that they can also help you prioritize your responsibilities. For instance, if you get hung up on trying to figure out how to fix your router, but you’re missing important bills that you never had to pay in the past in the process, you can end up in quite a bind.
Use your lists to help you organize your responsibilities and, by extension, manage any stress that might creep in over time.
Be on Guard
The world changes fast these days, and even if you thought you knew how to do something 10 years ago when you were single, the process may have changed completely. As you relearn how to do things like online banking, paperless bill pay, submitting grocery orders for pickup, or having a Lowes order delivered to your house, be on guard against social engineering attacks like phishing and vishing.
Slown down and get into a habit of doing your research before submitting sensitive information over the phone or online. Also, go through the upfront hassle of setting up things like multi-factor authentication in order to safeguard your cyber life from any modern threats as you go about relearning how to do things in an online environment.
You Will Get Discouraged. So fight back.
As a final exhortation, remember that old adage that practice makes perfect. As you go about learning new skills or relearning how to do things in new ways, don’t be surprised if you fail at first.
When you do, chances are the discouragement will come on quickly, too. When it does, take the time to remember that you’re not alone in the struggle to live life. Instead of bowing to the pressure, fight back against that negative viewpoint. Remember the positive, strive to have a thankful attitude, and always cultivate that critical perspective of gratitude.