- Gender and Relationships
How to cope with being single again
Dealing with divorce
How do you cope with being single again? Speaking from a personal viewpoint it is hard to come to terms with a divorce and it can represent a traumatic and life changing experience. Even though it was me that initiated the proceedings due to his infidelity, I still found it to be a shock to the system when I eventually found myself totally alone with four hyperactive children to look after.
It is important to remember that at the end of a relationship you will be feeling very vulnerable. You may find it hard to be alone again and can find yourself in a “rebound” relationship. This is neither fair on yourself and your new beau.
Allow yourself some time to heal your emotional scars and to regain some confidence and self esteem. Now is the time to evaluate your life and to take a good honest look at yourself and what your hopes and dreams are for the future.
You may regret what has happened and wish to turn the clock back. You go through different scenarios in your mind saying that you could have done this or made a different decision about that. Regret is very much to do with realising with hindsight that there may have been the opportunity to change something in your life but for some reason you didn’t do it at the time. Many times I would ask myself whether I could have turned things around. My biggest regret was that I was never going to know.
The first thing that can come as a shock is the lack of support. With no partner to help you with the school runs or to share the cooking and cleaning chores it can take a toll on your health and leave you exhausted. If you are finding this the case then don’t work yourself into the ground. If you are trying to keep the family in a routine that is familiar to them it can be laudable on your part, but also slightly unrealistic. The truth of the matter is that even though you are trying to cover the role of two people, there is in fact only one of you and you may be feeling pretty fragile.
Now is the time to call on the help of family and friends. If you have a good support system you will find that people are only too pleased to offer assistance. Make sure that at least some point in the day that you get five minutes to yourself to unwind, relax and do something that is important to you. Even if you take the time to have a nap, read the next chapter of your book, or listen to the radio or watch some TV, at least you are giving yourself the opportunity to recharge your batteries.
The other things that can have an immediate impact on your situation are your finances. With the loss of the main wage earner you will have to take a good hard look at what money you have coming in, and prioritise the payments that go out.
Make sure that you apply for any state benefits as soon as you can. Even if you haven’t got all the information they are asking for send the forms off anyway, you can always send the extra evidence later. The important thing is that you get your claim registered in the system.
Contact the bank and explain your situation. They may be willing to give you a mortgage holiday until you can get things sorted out with your ex. You will still have to make provision to pay your utilities such as gas, electric and water.
Now look at the other stuff that you pay for each month. Do you need to carry on paying gym membership each month? When was the last time you even read a book that the book club keeps sending you? Charity payments are also good but not at a time when they are going to help put you on the breadline.
Sit down and go through all the direct debits in your bank account and cancel every single one that you feel that you can do without. You will be surprised how much money you will save yourself in just one day!
Now you have your time management sorted and your finances in order, now what? Will you stay single for a while? or will you feel the need for some companionship?
You will know when it is time to start dating again. If you find it hard to meet new people, then arrange to go out with friends and family. Take things slowly. If you meet someone you like a lot explain that you have just come out of a divorce and will need some time to adjust. Ask him to be understanding and that you want to keep things on just a friendly basis at first. This will give you time to get used to being with someone new without the pressure of a full on relationship.
You will get through it
However, it is amazing how quickly you can bounce back from misery and disappointment, and slowly but surely I began to recover. I asked for my family to baby sit for me and signed up to an art class, I became more involved with my children’s school, I even got myself a new job to better fit in with my child care arrangements.
I survived my divorce. It was hard and very upsetting at times, but I think the thing that got me through the rough times was the knowledge that I had four very sad and upset children who had undergone a very disrupting experience and needed me to be strong for them. I wanted them to know that their mummy was a survivor and that no matter what life threw at me that I would go on to make something of myself and never give up on my dreams.
It is important that your children can see you move on from a broken marriage. They need to know that even after upset and trauma that it is possible to be happy again. By letting go of the past you will be free to concentrate on your current needs and be able to make positive plans for the future.