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Adjusting after a divorce

 

It's finished. The divorce papers are signed, time to move on. Easier said than done. Divorce recovery now begins. Adjusting to changes takes time and energy. Newly divorced persons, whether they initiated the divorce or not, life and the lives of those around them have been deeply affected by their situation. Thoughts and worries about finances, work, or housing may suddenly be racing through their mind. Sadness over losing friends or family members as a result of the divorce can also be difficult to adjust to. Furthermore, parents may be emotionally overwhelmed with guilt as the effects the divorce begin to surface with the children.

 

The question now is where do you go from here? How do you start to pick up the pieces, figure out who you are and what you want, as you begin to live as a single person? Unsure of what your new life will look like, I would like to offer some ideas to support you as you get started. 

First Let yourself grieve:

Nobody starts their marriage with the idea that they will someday end up getting divorced.  It doesn’t matter that by the time you separated, the divorce was something you may have wanted, a divorce still represents a loss.

Work through your feelings

Did you know that second and third divorces have a higher chance of happening than the first? Sometimes we want to believe that the marriage fell apart because of the other person, it takes two to tango.  We can use the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and manage our own issues that interfered.  It is easier to sweep these emotions under the table, however, this will at some point in your future, come back to haunt you. Talking out your feelings with a therapist or focusing your energy in a healthy activity you enjoywill help. If you find yourself resisting the idea of therapy, you might want to keep in mind that therapy doesn't mean you have a problem or that you're in crisis. It can be a path to work toward a better life.  

Learn to like yourself

During the marriage, many people suffer with verbal abuse, rejection, and loneliness, to name a few. These thoughts and feelings continue after the divorce.You could find yourself thinking, that there must be something wrong with you if you couldn't make this relationship work. Rebuilding your self-confidence and ability to believe in your own worth is also something that can be worked on in therapy. 

Rediscover who you used to be

Whether you were married for a year or many years, you probably gave up things you enjoyed as a single person. Maybe you loved to go out, but your spouse didn’t, maybe you loved going to concerts but your spouse did not like loud music, maybe you had a lot of friends but your spouse was an introvert. Experiment with things that you used to enjoy and find them again. 

Be Daring

Divorce is life-changing, though often difficult and uninvited, again it is an opportunity for you to shake things up and try something that you might have dreamed about to. 

Maybe you wondered what you would look like with a completely different hair color or cut, maybe it's trying water skiing, going back to college, want to move to a new city or even spend a year living in Paris. Clearly, you probably have real life considerations that have to be considered before you make any drastic changes, such as kids (if you're a parent), a job, and a budget (which may have been hurt by the divorce). Decide what is within your reach and go for it. Be careful to keep these changes healthy and good for you so they do not turn into negative coping strategies. 

Challenge yourself to be alone

Being alone may be new for you but it does not mean that you have to be lonely, isolated and not see people. It just means not jumping into another relationship right away.Society is very accepting of single persons and there are lots of opportunities for social connection once you are ready to put yourself out there but take the time to enjoy some alone time. 

Embrace your new roles

During your marriage both spouses had specific roles such as one paid the bills and one handled the house management. Now that you are divorced you have to handle all aspects of life and some may not always go perfectly.  That is ok. I am a big believer that mistakes are ok because we learn from them.  Dealing with new things can give you confidence in your own ability.Mistakes help you learn life skills and teach you that you can handle anything that comes your way. 

Everything always works out and so will this time in your life, even though that is hard to imagine right now. During the recovery process, an individual in therapy may come across more coping techniques that can help in the establishment of a new life, and the individual may have an easier time developing a healthy perspective on the divorce. Divorce recovery therapy also provides people with a safe, encouraging, and empowering experience.

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