Your spouse wants a divorce and, without a doubt, you feel like the wind has been knocked out of your sail. You begin to question if your life will ever be the same (it won’t). You wonder how you will ever get your life back (you will) and what that might look like (possibly better). You had your life. Your routine. Your family. Your consistency. Your dreams. You might also be thinking, “sure, I will get through my divorce in some way or fashion, but exactly how will I do that?” A million questions run through your mind. Will I be ok? Better? Worse? What if I can’t get it together? What if I have so many resentments I cannot move forward? What will my life look like without my family – without my family in the way they are now? Will my friends be there for me? How will I survive this? So, so many questions – all great questions. These are questions that everyone asks themselves. Many of which are unanswerable questions – right now.
You may feel that everything feels insurmountable and that you will never be able to overcome and get through this significant life transition. Yet, despite all the uncertainty and worry that divorce brings and even in your deepest days of sorrow and sadness, it does get better. It just takes time – a lot of time. You can not only survive this – you can thrive because of your divorce both during and after it. Here are a few tips how.
Learn how to like yourself. This may sound a bit cheesy, but the truth is that people who are going through a divorce typically don’t really like themselves. Their self-esteem and self-worth is affected. They feel a strong sense of rejection. They don’t feel on top of their game, which affects both their own self-perception and how they feel others see them. Becoming more self-confident has positive effects on your esteem and self worth. Learning how to like yourself again and feeling good about not just your past, but also your present and your future, can be very empowering. Take time for introspection to figure out what you like and don’t like about yourself. Encourage positive changes that will in turn be rewarding and improve your self-esteem.
Who’s that girl? Or guy? Get back in touch with the things that you used to love doing, especially if you have given up a lot of those things. Over the course of many years of marriage – and sometimes in shorter marriages as well – people do just that. They start living just for the couple and forego those things that are important to them. Sometimes this change in lifestyle has been imposed on them, and sometimes they give those things up willingly because they use that time more for couplehood rather than singlehood. If you have found that you have done this – and not to your liking – here’s your chance to make that change and find a way to not do that again in a future relationship.
Embrace a new you. Maybe your divorce creates a little ‘chaos’ or shaking up of a former lifestyle that you want to change. It could be as simple as a new haircut, new makeup, or a different wardrobe. Maybe it’s a change in your schedule, or saying ‘yes’ less often and ‘no’ more often. Set new limits and healthy boundaries. Take a step back and ask yourself ‘what exactly do I want my new life to look like?’ Although all the changes you want to make are most likely not doable at the same time or right now – but at some point. Small changes equal big rewards. Saying yes to small changes is empowering and can create greater confidence. This will encourage greater and bigger changes as time marches on.
Allow yourself to be alone. This doesn’t mean being lonely – just alone. There’s a big difference. Time should be taken for learning how to uncouple yourself from the couple. You should learn to look at yourself as a single person – your own unique self. With over 30 million people now living alone, our world provides numerous opportunities to stay socially connected, feeling like you are part of the world. You can feel connected to other people despite living alone or being on your own. Just think of the possibilities and the wonderful things single people are doing as they embrace their singlehood and lean in to a new lifestyle.
Embrace your new roles. With couples come shared responsibilities. As a single person, all of the shared stuff is now all yours to own. Maybe this is a scary thought! But now it’s your time. Look at it as an opportunity to learn about things that your spouse took care of. Maybe you wanted to take responsibility for some of these areas but were unable. This is your time to shine and discover things about yourself that you didn’t know.
Divorce is not the end – it’s just the end of a chapter in your book. You will discover strengths you didn’t know you had.
Take this time in your life as you heal and move on to run towards life!