Everyone’s divorce is different, but the pain and loss that accompanies the end of a marriage often strikes everyone: It is a devastating, overwhelming experience that requires strength and courage. As awful as this time is, you can be secure in the knowledge that you are capable of finding love again and that your life isn’t over.
Consider the following tips to help soften the blow of your divorce and jump-start the healing process:
Keep your own needs in mind. When it comes to divorce, people often say to put the kids first — and that’s good advice — but you shouldn’t neglect your own emotional needs. If you are having a terrible day and you need to spend the day crying or working through those emotions, then don’t be ashamed to call a family member over to help watch the kids as you go this rough spell. Or maybe you need to get out of the house and talk to your friends. Then, again, perhaps you could slip out and catch a movie. Whatever makes you happy and puts you in a positive frame of mind will ultimately be beneficial for your children, so don’t feel guilty if you need some “me-time.”
Remember, it’s not the end of the world. People often feel like a divorce is the end of the world, and while it certainly is the end of an important chapter in your life, it’s no reason to turn into a recluse. Human beings are built to snap back from even the worst tragedies, so whether you are ending a three-month marriage or a 20-year marriage, your body and mind have the capability and resilience to bounce back. Sure, it is going to take more than a few girls’ nights out to return you to your happy, confident self, but you will land on your feet. Believe in yourself and in your ability to find love again, and the pain of the divorce will be cushioned.
Consider why you are saying good-bye for good. Take a seat and write down the emotions that come to mind when you think about your divorce. Whether you are feeling jealous about the idea of seeing your ex with someone new, nostalgic at the thought of losing a close friend, or terrified at the prospect of being alone and dating again, you might be surprised to discover that there is a whole myriad of thoughts and emotions swirling around in inside of you. Working through these thoughts and fears is a crucial part of the healing process, which is why it’s important to give voice to all these emotions and identify all your stressors.
Talk about it with a professional. Losing someone you love through a breakup or divorce is heartbreaking and trying to go it alone can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, many people tend to assuage their grief by self-medicating through destructive behaviors like drinking, one-night stands, angry late-night phone calls to their ex, etc. A counselor can help you make smarter choices and give you what you need the most: an unbiased listener. You might also consider joining a divorce support group or having weekly powwow sessions with your divorced friends. Most importantly, rely on your network of family and friends as you go through this difficult time, and allow yourself the freedom to be sad, mad, lonely, and so on. As the emotions move through you, they will slowly lose their potency, and you will be ready to say good-bye to your ex and move on to a happy, healthy new life.