We’ve all heard the statistic: Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. This isn’t new either. In fact, nearly half of all marriages have been ending in divorce since the 1970’s So In other words, a lot of couples have been, are going through, or are currently divorced.
Deciding to divorce is a difficult decision. In addition to the obvious bad times, there’s usually a history of good times too that neither spouse wants to let go of. There’s also children, in-laws, family and friends to think about not to mention practical things like name changes, changes in living arrangements, schools, shared holidays, etc. Many people lament that if they knew how hard divorce was going to be they wouldn’t have divorced in the first place! So when couples decide to divorce there’s often a lot of anger, embarrassment, and resentment that goes along with it.
Whenever I’m working with an individual who is recently divorced or going through the divorce process I always seem to get asked the same question: What now? What am I supposed to do with my life now that I’m divorced? I usually respond by saying something like this: ‘What can’t you do with your life after you’re divorced?’
Just because you’re divorced doesn’t mean your life is suddenly meaningless. You still have hobbies, friends, relatives, children, and work (to name a few) to enjoy. These relationships and activities are important pieces of you and are critical pieces of life that define who you are. You can actively work on these activities and relationships to make them stronger and more enjoyable.
A lot of old friendships and past-times often fall by the wayside in marriage. There’s just not as much time for them. And we sacrifice some of them so our spouse can enjoy some of theirs. After a divorce is a perfect time to get in touch with those old friends and try out those old hobbies you haven’t done for a while. These old friends and hobbies will also be helpful to you as you transition from being married to single.
Get in touch with you
Perhaps the best thing you can do after the divorce is use the time to get in touch with you. Let’s face it. When we’re married we sacrifice a lot of ourselves ‘our time, our hobbies, friendships, etc ‘for the sake of our marriage. This is good. You’re supposed to do that in a marriage. But now that you’re divorced all that time you sacrificed for your spouse can now be spent on you.
Being divorced is a great opportunity to use all that time you sacrificed for your marriage and use it on you. Explore yourself. Read books you always wanted to read. Try out new hobbies you always wanted to try. Go to that new venue with the exotic cuisine you’ve never had before because your ex-spouse didn’t want to try it. Do new things you’ve always wanted to try but just never had time to. This will help you find new skills, hobbies, past times and friends you never knew you had. This will also help you find out new things about yourself that you never knew.
The best part about trying new things and exploring you is that this makes you a better you. You become more rounded, grounded, and bright. This strengthens who you are as a person and makes you more interesting to others. And before you know it, voila! You’ll find yourself in a new, improved relationship with someone who finds you absolutely fascinating (They should. You’ve done a lot to improve yourself). This is a great way to start a relationship and a great way to ensures that this relationship gets off on the right track.
Guest Article By: Aaron Anderson
Aaron Anderson is a therapist and owner of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado. In addition to his private practice, he is a speaker, presenter, adjunct faculty, and is a regular contributor to various blogs and websites all related to marriage and families. He is also on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.