Divorce can leave people reeling for weeks, months and even years. In fact, many people stay stuck in an unhealthy marriage because they are simply afraid that there is no life after divorce. They have watched their friends and relatives suffer through the hasty and nasty battles that often concur between exes, and they worry that their life will be fated similarly. Is there life after divorce? Absolutely. But you have to be willing to look for it.
One of the things that many people tend to forget is that broken relationships are not the end of the world. Sure, they can feel pretty defeating and can make the future seem dim. Yet, all of that is simply a matter of perspective. Divorce is a lot about loss for most people, and grieving the loss and then moving on, is important. Why? Because life my friend, is not waiting!
The first thing to do is to get yourself out of denial. Chances are you were not happy in the marriage and are simply clinging to the forced change in plans. Perhaps you are a fixer, and hoped that you could make things right but chances are happiness was not part of the marital union. don’t you deserve to be happy? Far too many people are afraid of the social implications and appearances of divorce and they cling to the image of a life that is married with children. But if inside that life you weren’t loved fully, or didn’t love fully how can you want all of that back? You deserve MORE, don’t you? When you realize that just maybe, you will be happier, more fulfilled, and more yourself AFTER the divorce than before, you might be able to start moving forward. Think about it.
Next up, is to stop the pity party. Quit saying horrific things out loud, to yourself and to others. Your life is not over. You might be surprised how indulging in feeling sorry for yourself and saying such self defeating statements as, ‘life is over,’ ‘my life is ruined,’ ‘I will never succeed,’ etc. keeps you down in the hole. Instead, try to amuse the art of positive thinking and positive affirmations. Be the little engine that could, rather than someone who is going to crumble with depression. Even if at first, your optimistic approach to life is fake in time, your mind and spirit will start feeling better.
Many people suffering through divorce become involved in the blame game. Okay, so it is his or her fault and not yours. Just say that out loud one time and move on. The truth is it doesn’t matter whose fault it is, it’s over. This way instead of trying to feel justification and right, and righteous, you can start dealing with your new reality. Blaming others for your situation will not help you move forward. In fact, maybe you should think about feeling grateful that the marriage is over. Now you might find that your wings are no longer clipped. Fly!
One of the most difficult aspects of divorce can be adjusting to the friends and family social interactions. Your relationships with everyone, including your children and what was once your in-law family has changed. Yet, it is still possible to keep these relationships healthy and a happy part of your life. You just need to redefine them a little bit and start building from a different place. When it comes to your children, be sure that you empower them to believe that there is life after divorce, for you and for them! In fact, many parents find that they are better parents when the stress of a bad relationship is relieved from their life. Choose to indulge in the connections with your friends and family. You may lose some of both along the way, but chances are they weren’t people that supported you anyways.
When you move from the initial feelings of loss and grief about the marriage, and start believing that the future holds promise and happiness, you need to start planning. Get busy taking a realistic look at your finances, your living arrangements, your job, and your passions. There is a good possibility that the person you have been for the last several years in your unhappy marriage is NOT the person that you really are. Now is the time to be her or him. Connecting to the things in life, and formatting a plan of action that has you moving towards things you love and things that will satisfy you, will make you feel good. Sometimes, you might be sad looking back. There might be days when everything seems harder, but you will find your way. And you will be happy doing it.
Last but of course not least, is to find a supportive network. This not only helps you to realize that you are not alone, but also that the future can and will be bright. In the beginning, your immediate friends and family may not be able to help you because they are too close to the situation. Instead, look for support groups and outside solace where you can meet other people who are on the same path in life that you are on right now. Check with local hospitals, church groups and other communities in your local area and you will be very surprised about how many outlets exist to help you bounce back after divorce. You can even join singles clubs where the immediate course isn’t about coupling again, but about finding resources and support to get you back on your feet and back into life.
What many people forget about when ‘bad things’ happen in their life, is that life still marches on and on. You always have a choice to find joy in your own life. As long as you are living and breathing and have people around you that love you and whom you love in return, you aren’t alone. Life may not have turned out exactly how you planned or expected it to, but that doesn’t mean you can lemonade from your perceived lemons.