Divorce can be a most devastating experience, something you wouldn’t willingly take on for yourself or for your children. On the other hand, it can be an emotionally freeing, affirming life transition that will start you on a new journey to self-discovery and growth. Trying to figure out what happened and what went wrong is not as important as learning how to start a new life after divorce.
After going through a divorce, you may find yourself in completely new, strange, scary territory. Your old routines are gone. Your friends may have become divided and taken your spouse’s side. Your home may be different. How can you get back on your feet?
Let yourself grieve. Don’t expect to snap out of the doldrums right away, but don’t give way to it, either. There will be dark days but there will also be better days. Concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other, get up and get by day to day, continue to be productive. Every time you recall memories of the past, allow yourself to feel the emotion to the fullest, acknowledge your feelings, and then let it go. Forgive yourself. For the sake of your own mental health, forgive your spouse also. You may go through a period of depression but don’t sink into despair. Talk to a counselor or a trusted friend who will help you process your thoughts and feelings.
Let go of the negativity. You will be tempted to yearn for the things you lost, even though you know they weren’t good for you. You will be inclined to think that your future is bleak, unhappy, lonely, or that your life is over. You will lament the loss of companionship, stability, social standing, and financial security you shared with your spouse, even though in the same breath you acknowledge that these were nothing more than illusions that you had while you were married. When you hear these voices in your mind, be aware that they are not speaking the truth. Yes, they are lies. Don’t listen to the voices, replace them with positive affirmations. You are free, you are well, you are new. You have a chance at a new life, a way to reinvent and reinvigorate yourself. Take that chance and run with it.
Let yourself grow. Going through something as painful as divorce can be an enormous learning experience. Learn well from it so you know not to commit the same mistakes again in relationships and in life. There are other ways you can grow, as well. You can continue your education; learn a new language, skill or hobby. You can go places. Explore. Expand your horizons. Open up your mind to new possibilities and welcome change. Don’t be cowed by your circumstances: overcome them. Envision yourself living the life you want for yourself – have a clear picture of it in your mind – and work toward that goal day by day. Without a clear vision, you won’t know how to get to that life, and you won’t know when you get there.
Life after divorce is not the end of the world. Many have gone through it and emerged better, happier, more fulfilled persons. It’s your response that will determine your destiny; much of the outcome lies in your hands. Your immediate priority is to rebuild your life, not as it was before, but as something else. It’s learning how to start a new life after divorce that will guide you in building it.