In the top ten most stressful events in life, divorce is number two. Unfortunately, around half of first marriages end in divorce. Divorce doesn’t just spell the end of a relationship or the severing of ties of a co-parenting relationship. It also signifies the end of the dreams you dreamt with someone you expected to be around forever. For some people, divorce leads to depression, weight gain or substance abuse, which only makes a bad situation worse.
The first thing to remember is that divorce doesn’t mean you’re alone. While it’s important to mourn the loss, it’s equally as important to recognize that divorce is simply a new beginning. It’s the next chapter to which only you can write your story. Believe it or not, it takes a lot of courage to get divorced. Even if it wasn’t your decision, letting go of the comfort zone to embrace the unknown is difficult.
Part of your grieving process should be constructive wallowing. You can mourn the parts of your marriage that you loved and the parts you didn’t love. It’s healthy to do so because it allows you the space to process what you’ve been through.
You can ask for help. You can work with a therapist, a mental health professional or a support group. There is power in venting to experienced professionals and/or people who are where you are.
It’s important to focus on the things in your life that you can control. If you focus on what you’ve lost, what you can’t do or what you don’t have, then you will paralyze yourself with pain. Equally, it’s important that you get to know yourself again. Being in a relationship changes us and we grow and change as we get older. You will be a different person, so you have to know yourself before you can move on.
Finally, forgive yourself. There will always be “blame” to lay at someone’s feet. It takes two people to make a relationship work, but sometimes people just aren’t meant to be. As painful as that is, it’s okay.
If there are children involved then it’s important to maintain a civil relationship with your former spouse. Don’t speak negatively about them in front of your children. What your children need now are two parents who treat each other with respect and act civilly in front of them. Their lives have changed radically through no fault of their own. Remember that they’re dealing with a gamut of emotions too.
Your friendships will be impacted by your divorce. Couples often make friends together and sometimes they choose sides. It hurts, but when you come out the other side you will know who your true friends are. It’s important to socialize and spend time with the people you love.
Make sure that you make the most of your newfound freedom. Whether it’s spending time with the family who offers you support or pursuing a career you felt you were being held back from. Now is the time to pursue your passion.