Divorce (or even a break-up) is often physically, mentally and emotionally draining, but remember, it’s okay to feel whatever emotions you’re feeling — positive or negative– just don’t dwell too long on them. Instead use them as fuel to construct the best life you can for yourself.
It can be hard at a time like this to imagine that you’ll ever view life the same again. Cliches like “it gets better” and “time heals all wounds” may be thrown in your direction, causing you to roll your eyes or mutter a sarcastic “yeah, right.” But cliches are often cliches for a reason: they really do apply in most cases.
While the process of healing from a divorce might look very different for you than it would for someone else, there are a few universally applicable things you can do to kickstart the healing process and reclaim your love of life and take back your power to enjoy the world around you as a newly-single person.
1. Allow Yourself to Feel Whatever You Feel
If you’re struggling with how to get over a breakup, don’t feel ashamed. Ending a relationship that meant so much to you is going to cause some amount of sadness, frustration or anger.
You might even feel a sense of relief or happiness if your marriage was unhappy or unhealthy — positive emotions are okay, too. There’s no wrong way to feel after a divorce and it’s perfectly normal to feel any or all of these emotions, even in the span of a single day.
If you’re feeling these emotions particularly hard or they’re consuming your life to the point where you cannot take care of yourself, your kids, your home or your work responsibilities, or you’re having trouble processing your feelings or coping with them, reach out to a professional.
2. Date Yourself to Find Out Who You Are Now
You might not be ready to start dating after divorce, and that’s perfectly normal — but take some time to focus on getting to know yourself after a big breakup. When we’re partnered up, our sense of identity can become so entangled with that of our significant other, it’s easy to feel lost or unsure of who we are when we’re suddenly single. If you’re working through depression after splitting up, it can be hard to remember the things you love in life.
Take some time to get to know yourself. Even if your sense of identity is pretty firm, spending quality time with yourself can remind you of all the things you love about who you are. This goes double if you’re a newly single parent: making time for yourself is crucial. Go on dates with yourself to a coffee shop, to the movies or even just to grab a quick bite to eat. Not only does this shift the focus to self-care and self-discovery, but it allows you a chance to be comfortable being you.
3. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
When we’re in relationships, we fall into routines. Things get cozy and comfortable. A divorce, separation or other breakup can shatter our sense of security and comfort. While it may seem counter-intuitive, one of the ways to help yourself recover from a divorce is to further step outside of your comfort zone.
Do something you’ve always wanted to try but never dared to. If you’ve wanted to attend a rock concert but your former spouse wasn’t a fan of the genre, buy some tickets and treat yourself. If you’re intimidated by heights but always wanted to go bungee jumping, leave your kids with a sitter for a few hours and book a session.
While you might be afraid or anxious to do something outside of your comfort zone, you’ll look back on the experience as a positive one where you learned to trust yourself, your inner strength and fortitude, as well as your ability to overcome scary situations. Not
coincidentally, those feelings can help you bounce back from any tough situation in your life.
4. Be Overly Positive
The last thing you might want to do is maintain a positive, cheery outlook on life. That might go extra with regards to your former partner if the split wasn’t amicable. But cultivating and making an effort to maintain a sunny, optimistic disposition can help you bounce back quicker than if you stay gloomy. It isn’t disingenuous to smile when you aren’t feeling happy — it’s practicing for when you truly do feel it.
If you have kids, maintaining a positive attitude toward your former spouse can make an already difficult situation easier for them to process. At first this approach can feel forced, fake or even miserable. Over time, all that practice at being happy will pay off and your body and mind will default to optimism out of habit.
5. Remember Everything is Temporary
If you’re having a bad day, it’s just a bad day. There’s another day tomorrow to attempt a good one. If you’re having a moment of sorrow and feel like you can’t go on, breathe and take things minute by minute until it passes. Research shows that the average time to recover from the loss of a marriage is 18 months. That’s the average.
It can be comforting to remind yourself that your healing process might take less time, it might take slightly more, but after nearly two years, you’re likely going to feel comfortable in your new life post-spouse. Time might not heal every wound, but it lessens the sting and over the course of a year or two, the grief and anger of a failed relationship will ease.
Healing After a Divorce
Healing after a divorce isn’t easy and it can be particularly difficult if you find yourself a newly single parent. Your attitude and actions are the primary determining factors in how you heal and begin your life anew. If you have kids, they’ll be watching you and following your example.
Break-ups can be brutal, but your divorce proceedings don’t have to be when you work with a family lawyer who puts your well-being first. Give Rodríguez Family Law a call today to find out what you need to move on and start your new life. Our phone number is 862-241-1228 or you can send us an email. We’re here to help.