How to Move on From a Divorce
Dealing with a marriage that has ended is not a good thing for most people. It’s especially difficult after you’ve invested years of your love and energy towards making the relationship work. The important thing at this point is to get yourself together and prepare yourself for a new phase in your life.
Are you divorced? How's life for you?
Has life gotten better for you after divorce?
Status: From “single” to "married" to “divorced”
Once you’ve taken vows with someone, your life changes forever whether or not the marriage lasts. Just like a retired soldier goes to veteran status instead of civilian, a person who is no longer married is labeled as divorced and no longer goes back to being single. Generally, the divorced label has a negative tone to it, but it DOES NOT define who you are as a person. You were in a relationship that’s no longer functioning and now you’re moving on to a new chapter in your life. The divorced label doesn’t have to be carried as if it’s some type of burden. You’ll be amazed at actual burdens people are carrying around – especially in marriages!
Emotions Associated with Divorce
The first step you’ll have to take is to accept what has happened. The marriage is over and despite who’s at fault, it’s time for both parties to move on in the smoothest way possible. If you know you’ve done all you can to make it work and it didn’t, pack your bags and leave with dignity. If you made bad decisions that affected the marriage, you now know what you need to work on this point forward. Don’t just accept what has happened, accept the role you played as well. Did an affair happen? Ask yourself if there was neglect or lack of priorities involved. Verbal, physical and emotional abuse obviously plays parts as well. Whatever side of the table you’re on, accept what you did and how it contributed to the marriage ending. Taking this step actually makes it easier to move on.
You also have to gear yourself up to move on now that you’ve accepted it. There’s nothing worse than hanging around trying to do things out of spite just to make a point. It’s not a time to play any games either. Once it’s been decided that the marriage is over, take a deep breath and allow the emotions to take its course in your moment to yourself. If you’re in the car, the bathroom or wherever and it just hits you, let it hit you. This is progress and not a sign of weakness. Remember, emotions are not permanent, hence the root word being “motion”. They will present themselves for the moment and then move away, so it doesn’t make sense to try to fight them or put up a front as if the ending of your marriage doesn’t bother you.
Start planning your future now with pen and paper
Write it Down
Writing can be amazingly therapeutic when someone is going through a hard time. What are your thoughts or wishes? What do you want to happen in your next relationship if you plan on moving on? With the numerous thoughts that are going on inside your head along with the roller coaster of emotions happening inside of you, writing things down will ease the pain and organize things a bit for you. You’ll be able to think more clearly and stay focused on what needs to be done. Don’t focus so much on writing about how the divorce is making you feel or how much you hate the estranged spouse. This can be more damaging than healing. It’s advisable to dig deep and write about where you want to be among other things:
- Things you have learned
- Qualities to look for in a future relationship
- Make a list of things to accomplish
- Things you love about yourself (especially if you’ve survived a divorce!)
Find Your Faith
During this painful time in life, it’s important for your spirituality to be maintained. It’s also key in the well-being of your mind and soul. Having hope or belief in something along with prayer can do so much during a time of pain and transition. Having your thoughts and wishes focused on a Higher Force will work wonders not just for the trial you’re going through, but for everything that happens in your life afterwards. Like any other adversity, something as traumatic as divorce will bring many revelations to you; you will find out who your real friends are, what people really think about you and in turn find out who you are. That’s a lot going on at one time so being centered as much as possible is critical. As you find your faith pace yourself accordingly. For example, if you’re Christian, talk to God yourself in addition to what a pastor may tell you. Of course pastors are there for guidance and support, but you have to know God for yourself too.
Your situation is unique
Remember, this is YOUR situation and no one else’s. No one can mandate how fast or slow you should be moving especially since they’re not the one going through the divorce. In addition, no divorce is the same as the next one. Some people have less to deal with, if the marriage was a short period of time and no children and property were involved. Others are breaking up after 30 or more years of marriage which means years of emotional, financial and mental investment. Not to mention children who may be affected by a divorce.
Whatever the case may be, keep in mind that your situation is unique so be mindful of advice you may get from friends, lawyers, co-workers or family members. Even though they may have gone through it before, it was their own journey and not yours. Make wise choices and seek counsel of those who want the best for you.
During a time of pain your focus is most likely to be on yourself. But if an opportunity comes along for you to show an act of love to someone, by all means do it. Even though you’re going through a tough ordeal there is someone else out there who would rather be in your shoes. It’s not about writing a huge check and donating it to the nearest charity, you could volunteer at the local shelter for a few hours or adopt an animal. They don’t even need to be on those scales, they could be the simplest things such as giving a hug (instead of getting one), or spending time with someone you haven’t seen in a while. What’s the point of all this you may ask? It’s an opportunity to get your mind off of yourself and what you’re feeling. There’s nothing worse than constantly reminding yourself that you’re going through a divorce and it’s awful. It only makes it worse. Giving in a time of pain will do so much for you and the energy you have within.
There is life after divorce. Light is at the end of the tunnel.
Again, everyone’s situation is different, but things turn out for the better. Some may move on quickly after the divorce and meet someone new with hopes of it working out this time. Others may take longer to decrompress and won’t jump into the dating scene right away. Whatever the case may be, there is definitely someone out there for you if you chose to try again. As the younger folks would say, you still have “yanking potential”!
This is why it’s important to know this for yourself instead of looking for verification from others. No one can fulfill anything for you if you don’t know certain things for yourself. That’s why writing things down is important. Writing about where you want to be should turn into writing what you WILL be in the future.
If dating is not your focus, that’s great because there are plenty of other things to do post-divorce. It could be a time to really know yourself, travel, join clubs and do things you never saw yourself doing. You can even take up a hobby…such as writing J.
Stay away from naysayers – there will always be folks who have the worst thing to say to you during your separation and divorce. If they don’t have anything positive to offer, keep your distance. Instead surround yourself with those who are interested in your well-being. Those who have a good way of making you laugh in the most difficult times. It makes a world of difference!
As you find out who you are, embrace it. Many things will be surprising as you go through this process. Embrace the good and the bad. It may be the first time in your life that you’re becoming your own person and it will be scary at first. It won’t stay that way, soon after you’ll like who you see in the mirror everyday!
One more thing...
If you're looking for support or just simple words of encouragement:
- Since My Divorce....easing the pain and stress of divorce: http://www.sincemydivorce.com/ - a pretty decent site that offers stories about moving on after divorce
- New3Creation: http://new3creationservices.wordpress.com/ - my freelance website that talks about various topics, including a new beginning and making moves for yourself.