Divorce is one of the most stressful things that can happen to a human being. It’s actually far more common to get divorced than many realize; in fact, about 827,000 divorces occur each year. But lots of people nonetheless feel intense shame surrounding their divorces and don’t know how to be open about their feelings surrounding their divorces. Overall, divorce is meant to have a positive outcome. People are supposed to be happier once they’ve ended marriages that they’re no longer satisfied with or can’t make work. Not all marriages necessarily end traumatically, either. Some divorces are truly amicable, especially if you work with a divorce attorney who is able to handle the proceedings in a speedy and considerate manner. But even then, there are a lot of adjustments that an individual has to make after ending a marriage, and many of them are quite stressful even in the best conditions.
Following a divorce, you’re not only ending an emotional relationship with someone but a financial and legal one as well. You’ll have to split up your assets, and deal with arrangements that may be potentially quite emotional. For example, a lot of divorced couples at the very minimum own pets together, and deciding where those pets go can become fairly contentious in a way that they may not have initially expected. Obviously, even more concerning is the topic of child custody. Attorneys that specialize in family law may be able to help you figure out a custody arrangement that suits both parties, but it isn’t going to lessen the pain that comes with transitioning your family into a new arrangement. Even if the divorce is ultimately the healthiest option for all of you, nobody would blame you for having a tough time. Luckily, there are steps that you can take to help yourself when it comes to surviving your divorce. Ultimately, surviving your divorce is about more than just ensuring that you have your assets protected, and your interests represented during divorce proceedings. It’s also about making sure that you’re emotionally ready to move on to the next stage of your life, in a way that is both kind to yourself and your former spouse. With that being said, let’s look at some of the ways that you can help yourself move forward after a divorce.
1. Get Rid Of Those Sentimental Mementos
Even if you and your spouse weren’t married for long, chances are that you’re hanging on to certain trinkets or mementos that you don’t really need, simply because they remind you of your spouse. There are several issues with doing so. For one thing, this probably clutters up your new space, taking up room that you could fill with reminders of new memories; for another, it actually only causes you pain. It’s wise to start fresh and get rid of things like your old wedding ring, or particularly unique gifts your spouse gave you. Not only does this allow you to live in your home without constantly being reminded of them, it also will avoid any awkward questions that might pop up when you start dating again. Think about it: would you really want to be with someone who still keeps a ring that they received from their ex? This is one of the first key steps that most people take when surviving a divorce, and it can make a big difference in your life.
Of course, you may have already decided to divest yourself of these would-be treasures; but what do you do with them? If you have an expensive engagement ring, the unfortunate fact is that you probably won’t be making this massive amount of money off of it. Engagement rings tend to lose value after they’re bought, and a lot of people are superstitious about the idea of buying used engagement rings, especially if they’re being sold as the result of a divorce. Rather than attempting to sell it individually, you may well be better off going to a jewelry pawn shop. You should read reviews before deciding which pawn shop to visit. Some are certainly more honest than others! But think of it this way: even if your ring isn’t worth a lot, it’s still going to put money in your pocket that you didn’t have before. This is especially important to consider if you took something of a financial hit during your divorce, which many people do. The same can be said of any other items you’re getting rid of following your divorce. If you’re moving into a new home, for example, you may find that the home furniture you had prior to your divorce reminds you too much of your marriage, or simply doesn’t fit in your new space. Trying out a pawn shop, antique store, or even selling it only may very well be a good option if you’d like to get the most value out of what you’re selling.
2. Pick Up A Hobby
Think about how much time you spent with or merely around your spouse. A major issue that a lot of people have when surviving a divorce is dealing with all of the free time they have now that they’re single. Now, getting back into the dating game is obviously something you’ll want to do sooner or later. But that aside, you still need a good distraction that will allow you to focus on yourself. Think about the positives that come with your new single life. Chances are that there are tons of things to do that your ex wasn’t necessarily interested in. Maybe you put them off because you wanted to accommodate your partner. Whether this is a minor hobby or something that could eventually lead to a new passion, now is the time to pick it up!
Everyone’s hobby will vary depending on their own specific interests, of course. But now would be the time to try a hobby that is particularly niche or time-consuming. You may also find yourself discovering entirely new interests. A lot of people have a hard time returning to their old hobbies after a divorce, particularly because those hobbies were associated with their former spouses. This doesn’t mean you should sit at home and wallow in self-pity. All to often, people who are surviving a divorce focus too much on their own misery, rather than trying something positive. Pick up knitting, perhaps. Take an art or language class at the local community college. You may want to try your hand at something that will eventually better your life on a large scale. For example, you may be surprised by how many people actually go back to school or study a new degree following their divorces. This could also be the time to start that novel that’s always been sitting at the back of your head. No matter what you decide to do with your time, you need to try to make it as positive as possible. Surviving your divorce is about more than just getting by. It’s about having a new lease on life!
3. Invest In Yourself
Some of the side effects of surviving your divorce may include packing on the pounds, or perhaps going to long in between haircuts; at least, that’s what we tend to see in the typical cultural depiction of divorce. But you don’t have to turn into a pit of despair after you’ve been divorced, staying at home all of the time and refusing to take care of yourself. Everyone grieves the end of the marriage differently; and in truth, some don’t grieve much at all. That’s okay! What isn’t okay is neglecting yourself to the point that you become unhealthy. This could not only hurt your health in the long term, but also do a number on your self-confidence, which will make it harder for you to get back out into the dating game. Therefore, you may want to make that hobby we mentioned about fitness training. And if you really don’t enjoy fitness all that much, you could always simply spend regular time at the gym, maybe half an hour a day for four or five days a week.
Of course, there are other ways in which you can take care of yourself when surviving your divorce. Consider also going to the spa and enjoying a day of pampering. This could further extend to the way you care for yourself at home. Skin care is easy to neglect when you’re distracted by a divorce; but if you invest in a few good products, you’ll be able to stave off those fine lines and blemishes without an issue!
4. Consider Therapy
You may be balking at the idea of folding therapy into your divorce recovery strategy. You’re probably thinking that you’ve already done a great job with surviving your divorce and don’t need to put any extra effort into the process. However, no matter how positive your divorce experience has been in comparison to those of your friends or family, you still have gone through something life-changing, and need to treat it as such. Going to therapy is often less intense than people think. It can be a great way of simply checking in with yourself emotionally.
If you have children, you should really consider therapy for them as well. Even amicable divorces can be devastating for children, who are adjusting to a lifestyle that really isn’t familiar. Children aren’t able to control what happens in a divorce, and this can cause them severe anxiety and even depression. If you’re a parent, a major part of surviving your divorce is going to be ensuring that your children are emotionally stable and that you’ve maintained a good relationship with them. Therefore, it might even be a good idea to attend a therapy session with your child. Consider it before dismissing the idea entirely.
5. Make Your Home Your Own
Whether you were able to keep your home or had to move out, your living situation is going to change with your divorce, probably in a big way. Even if your home was previously what you wanted it to be, you’ll probably need to make some changes to make it feel more like your own following your divorce. Therefore, you should consider remodeling parts of your home if you can, even in minor ways. This could be done simply through putting on a new coat of paint, or buying new furniture. You don’t necessarily have to invest in a massive renovation project; after all, if you’re in the midst of surviving your divorce, you may not have the cash flow available just yet. But starting some kind of project is a positive step.
Of course, if you’re really focused on the financial aspects of surviving your divorce and you ended up with the home, you may want to sell it down the line. Investing in a kitchen remodeling project, for example, could add value to the space and may even help you make a profit. If you’re not sure about whether or not you’ll be selling your home in the future, making remodeling choices with a possible sale in mind would be wise.
Surviving your divorce isn’t ever straightforward or easy. As any good alimony attorney could tell you, you’ll probably end up losing some money at one point or the other, and you’ll certainly have to adjust to a new lifestyle that you never anticipated having when you first met your former spouse. However, if you focus on moving forward with a positive attitude whenever possible, and don’t spend too much time lingering on the past, you would be amazed by how quickly and fully you can recover.
Therefore, you should focus not on what you’re currently dealing with regarding your divorce, but rather the future. You’re leaving behind a negative relationship and shifting to a more positive phase in your life. While it’s okay be to sad over your divorce at certain points in time, don’t let it consume you. Put one foot in front of the other, and prepare to begin your life as a newly single person!