Divorce, like marriage, is an event that changes your life.
Divorce recovery is no easy feat, and the process brings plenty of new and uncomfortable changes that will take time adjusting to. From simple things like eating dinner alone and coming home to an empty house to adjusting to split schedules with children and handling grief – there is a lot to take on.
It’s difficult to adjust to a new, altered shape of life, and it is completely natural to experience complex thoughts and feelings that swing wildly from betrayal to anger, depression, and relief.
Divorce is undoubtedly going to create upheaval in your life. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t recover from divorce. While there is no magic cure or set path to healing after divorce, there are certainly some things that you can do to navigate the post-divorce period effectively.
The break-up of a marriage is traumatic, and just like when you lose a loved one, you are going to experience different stages of grief after divorce. The most important thing is that you give yourself time to grieve. Acknowledge that you are going through a grieving process and give all of your different emotions the space that they need.
You will probably experience pain, anger, betrayal, sadness, regret, relief, and peace, all at varying stages of your divorce journey.
It’s natural that all of these different feelings can cause internal conflict; you might be relieved that a cheating spouse is out of your life, but you can also be sad that they left and angry at their betrayal at the same time.
Validate your feelings and give them the time that they need during the divorce process.
Most people are confident that their marriage will last when they get married, and that’s what makes it so hard to accept when it ends. The dissolution of a marriage often comes as a shock.
It’s natural to do everything in your power to deny that your marriage has ended. You’ll have regrets, wish things turned out differently, and even wonder whether you could have done something to prevent it.
At the end of the day, however, one of the best things that you can do for your mental well-being and to recover from divorce is to accept that this is it. Your marriage has ended, and you shouldn’t hold too tightly onto your past.
Acceptance is a gradual process and won’t happen overnight, but it’s important to treat yourself kindly and accept this break is final.
In some instances, you might have to keep in touch with your ex, particularly if children are involved. While you might feel anger and contempt for your ex, it’s important to set those feelings aside when you communicate with them.
Don’t ignore your feelings, but just don’t let them tint the necessary discussions that you have with your ex. A few things you can do that will help you keep calm and assertive are setting communication boundaries, such as how often you will talk and whether you call, text, or email, etc.
You should also try to limit your conversations around essential aspects like childcare or finances. Avoid insults and jabs and try to make the conversation as constructive as possible by listening to what they say.
You don’t have to do the divorce journey alone. It’s easy to want to keep your sadness to yourself or shut yourself in your room for a while, but it’s important to give your feelings the space that they need to run their course.
You should turn to your loved ones when you want to vent any anger, pain, or sadness that you feel. They are there to listen to you, and expressing them out loud can make a big impact on your overall well-being.
Be upfront and honest with your loved ones about what you expect from them when you seek support. Are you looking for practical advice and tangible solutions? Or are you looking for empathy and a listening ear?
Remember to only share your thoughts and feelings with those friends that offer kindness, compassion, and validation and not those that will pass judgement or make you feel worse.
It’s hard enough to divvy up your shared belongs, but when it comes to mutual friends – it becomes quite hurtful. It’s natural for a couple’s shared friends to gravitate towards one partner or the other after a divorce. If you didn’t have many friends and “inherited” your spouse’s friends when you got married, then losing mutual friends can be extra tough.
Many people find themselves lonely and isolated after a divorce, and finding new friends and forging new bonds is a great way to rectify this. Try out volunteering in your community, taking a class or starting a new hobby, asking a colleague out for a drink, or joining a support group. These can all help you form new friendship connections.
It might seem obvious, but you shouldn’t rush into a new relationship too quickly. It’s worth taking a break from dating after a divorce, even though it could offer a distraction from your heartbreak.
Getting into a relationship too soon will only sweep the issues under the rug until you have to deal with them again, along with added baggage from the failure of your new relationship.
It’s important to take time to yourself and to spend time alone – as scary as that might sound. It will benefit your physical and mental health and put you in a better place for a healthy relationship in the future.
At the end of the day, you’re going to be a different person coming out of your marriage when compared to who you were entering into it. It’s also common for divorce to call your sense of self into question.
You might not have realized how much you had changed until you are left in your own company after the divorce.
Some of your needs, likes, dislikes, and priorities might actually be more of a reflection of your ex’s needs and preferences than your own.
It’s time to spend some time figuring out what it is that you want and need from everyday activities. Perhaps you’d rather hike than go to the gym, maybe you want to change your diet or go to bed earlier and wake up earlier.
Change your old routine to suit the new post-divorce person you are becoming. Don’t forget to consider other aspects like hobbies, personal goals, and so on. This is a time to embark on some self-discovery to find out what it is that truly brings you pleasure.
Listen, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with sitting on the couch, watching movies, and eating ice cream out a tub for a little while after your divorce. Ultimately though, you want this period to be as short as possible.
It’s almost impossible to get into a better mental state if the physical side of your well-being is in disarray. A healthy body is an easier way to have a healthier mind, and that’s a fact.
Get active in a way that you enjoy. This could be hitting the gym, swimming, hiking, or playing club soccer. Get those endorphins running through your bloodstream. Reward your body with healthy foods and plenty of water. You’ll notice the difference in your mindset in no time once you have adopted this healthy approach.
It’s essential that you reach out for professional help if you need it. Divorce can have a lasting impact on your mental and physical well-being if it’s not dealt with properly.
If you are struggling to accept your divorce, find everyday activities a struggle or simply feel that you need a little bit of extra help getting through the journey, then you should reach out to a professional.
At Naked Divorce, we have recovery programs and retreats that have been created around helping you navigate the divorce grief life cycle in a healthy way.
Get in touch with Naked Divorce if you need support on your divorce journey.
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