The end of any serious relationship can be challenging to overcome, but divorce is an exhausting legal process that can take a toll on your mind, body, and spirit. In this article we will discuss how to recover after divorce, and give you a healing plan with steps to take to rebuild your life.
Considering the fact that 50% of all marriages end in divorce, they should probably start offering classes that teach how to deal with the trauma, pain, and upheaval that a divorce causes. No one gets married expecting to end up in divorce court, and no one is prepared for their lives to spiral out of control throughout the divorce process.
The main thing to remember is that divorce is a process. There are several stages to go through; shock, anger, regret, denial, resentment, shame, sadness are just a few. Each person will handle their divorce differently, and the recovery time may be different as well.
Repeat after me — It takes as long as it takes!
Emotional recovery is not something you can force. It begins to take shape over time as you personally assess, accept, and learn from the failings of your marriage.
Healing Plan to Recover from Divorce
Spend time with people that care about you
If you have friends and family that you can lean on during this time, make sure you do. Let them know what you need. Do you want to vent? To cry? Help processing your feelings? Or do you want practical advice? Suggestions? Guidance with your new life decisions?
Seek to understand what went wrong in the relationship
Whenever we achieve undesirable results, there’s the opportunity to learn something. Was he simply the wrong type of man? Was he too jealous? Did you spend too much time at work? Did you fail to make enough of an effort to get along with his family or friends? How could you have approached things differently?
Learn everything you can from your relationship
Once you have an of understanding as to what what wrong, vow to not repeat your mistakes. Yes, you made mistakes. Marriage is a partnership that requires two people to work together in perfect harmony. Depending on personality types, that may not even be possible. Figure it out, accept it, and learn from it.
Hopefully by this point you’ve assessed what went wrong and where you could have done things differently. That kind of reflection is necessary for moving on. Use the information that you learn to reimagine who you want to be in future relationships, and who you would like to be with.
Forgive everyone involved
That means forgiving your ex AND yourself. You both did the best you could under the circumstances. Now you can learn and move on. In my case, it was the best outcome for everyone involved.
You cannot live your life with regret. You cannot live a fulfilling life by constantly filling your mind with negative self-talk. Whether the divorce was your fault or not, you need to forgive yourself for everything that took place.
Forgive yourself for what you did, or forgive yourself for accepting the way you lived for as long as you did. Forgive yourself for the way you or your spouse may have made your kids feel.
But once that is done, it is time to forgive yourself. Forgiving yourself is the only way you’re truly going to be able to move forward.
Take time for you
Now is the perfect opportunity to rediscover who you are. Get in shape, go back to school, make new friends, take up a new hobby or revisit hobbies that you let go of during your marriage.
An excellent benefit of recovering from a divorce is the ability to get back to your core passions without feeling like you are being selfish. Try some of the things that used to excite you and that used to motivate you. See if any of these things sparks a joy that you forgot you had.
Take care of yourself
Your top priority while healing through divorce, should be the practice of self-care. Part of this process should include a daily practice of treating yourself with kindness.
If possible, reduce your workload and avoid people and situations that drain you. Eat well and get some exercise. A massage wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.
To help in your recovery, incorporate self-affirmations into your daily routine such as; “I am a worthy, valuable person”, “I deserve to be loved”. This is especially helpful if your brain is focused on the pain of your divorce and unable to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
You can recreate yourself
Now is the perfect time to start a new life that fills you with joy and enthusiasm. There are few other times in your life that will provide a similar opportunity. Would you like to start a new career, or your own business? Take this time to assess the changes that you would like to make and create a plan to make them happen.
The things you do day in and day out on a regular basis determine the person you become. Now is not the time to sit on the couch binging Netflix. Now is the time for you to become the person that you always wanted to be. This is especially true if you were not allowed to pursue these dreams during your marriage.
Pay attention to your finances
Divorce and economic challenges frequently go hand in hand. The costs involved, the expense of moving, new childcare costs, etc. Word of advice, you do not want to share a financial advisor with your ex-spouse. Find someone that you trust that can help guide you in the right financial direction.
It is invaluable to have someone on your side when you spouse claims that “you need to pay for this”, or “you don’t need that much in alimony even though you were a stay-at-home mom for 25 years and have no career to fall back on.” They are trained in all things finance and they are on your side.
Wanting to replace everything from you marriage is normal, but incredibly expensive. Be wise in your choices and plan out your budget to accommodate these new expenses.
Buying yourself a new purse to boost your spirits, or a new revenge wardrobe is also normal. If you don’t go crazy, everything should be fine. However, if you’re buying things to bury the pain or to improve your quality of life, you will end up regretting it!
Spending money recklessly is NEVER advised, especially if it puts you in a position of not being able to pay other important bills, such as the mortgage, credit cards, taxes, etc. It is better to be responsible and intentional about how much you’re spending and what you’re spending it on.
Consider seeking outside support
If you have given yourself time and you’re still struggling to come to terms with your divorce, it may be time to seek out professional help. Licensed and trained professionals know exactly how to listen and counseling can teach you new skills and coping mechanisms to help you heal.
Check out Tips for Dating after Divorce
Getting back into the dating pool after divorce may seem daunting, these essential tips will help guide you through the fears and answer questions that you may have.
Re-enter the dating world slowly
While it may be tempting to go out and look for someone new, entering into a serious relationship too soon will probably result in heartache for both of you. Give yourself some time to process your divorce and learn how to be happy on your own before jumping into a new relationship.
On average, it takes a year or two after ending a long-term relationship before truly being ready to start a new one. When you do decide to start dating again, take it slow.
Remove the bad memories
If your spouse is no longer in the house and he hasn’t removed all his personal belongings, get rid of them! Being surrounded by items accumulated during the marriage will keep you stuck in the past and could bring back painful memories. Purge the house of any unnecessary items Marie Kondo-style to set yourself up for success moving forward. Does it spark joy?
Give yourself time
As you recover from your divorce there are bound to be good days and bad days. Things will get easier over time and your good days will eventually outnumber your bad days. Take the all the time you need to heal and get stronger. Don’t ever feel like you need “to just get over it!”
Give yourself a break, the sadness that you are feeling is entirely justified. Know there is always hope and that you have been given the opportunity to take your life in a new direction.
Change can sometimes feel overwhelming so it’s a great idea to tackle things methodically, one task at a time. Write a to-do list, breaking down your goals and prioritizing them. What is most important thing that I need to do today? How can I break it down further to complete the first steps and keep moving forward? Doesn’t that sound far less scary and even manageable?
Divorce is not the end of your life, it is a new beginning.
Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to feel those uncomfortable feelings. Give yourself time and permission to grieve the end of the relationship which will ultimately lead to acceptance of what has happened. This is a necessary part of the healing process that will help you become stronger in the long run.
Ignoring your true feelings makes it easier for negative emotions like resentment or anger to fester and grow. The hurt and betrayal can become a blanket you get comfortable with if you don’t process it. This can have a devastating impact on your wellbeing, causing anxiety and possibly depression to set in. Give yourself time to grieve and understand that you WILL recover!