Along with bereavement and redundancy, experts suggest that divorce is one of the most stressful and challenging life experiences that anyone can go through. Even if you were the one who initiated or wanted the divorce, the trauma and heart ache surrounding the breakdown of a marriage can still leave you feeling emotionally battered and bruised to the point where the thought of moving on and being happy again may seem like an impossible task. Luckily the cliché about time being a great healer is true and millions of women across the country do come through divorce far happier and stronger than before and go on to have happier lives and eventually new relationships. If you are recently divorced than here are some tips to help you start to move forward.
Give yourself time to heal
Even if you know a relationship is no longer making you happy, when it ends you are apt to still feel a certain kind of loss. Not just for the person but for their company, support and for the future plans that you had together. As with any loss, you need to come to terms with it and grieve for it accordingly in order to move on. The grieving process is different for everyone and for some people it can last for several months or even years but keep reminding yourself that the pain you are feeling, unpleasant as it is, is an essential step in the healing (and consequent moving on) process. Make sure that you enlist the support of family and friends during this time so that you can talk about you feelings and don’t feel isolated and alone.
Consider the positives
As you are coming to terms with a divorce it can be useful to consider the practical aspects of a single life. Take solace in the fact that you no longer have to tolerate things about the marriage that were making you unhappy. For example one of the major causes of divorce in the US is addiction and many women find their own lives, health and finances are totally thrown into turmoil as they try (generally unsuccessfully) to help an addicted partner. Breaking away from such a situation can relieve you of this heartbreaking stress and give you the opportunity put your own needs first for once in order to enjoy life more. This can be a very positive and liberating thought. Aside from this there are other practical lifestyle benefits of living a single life – not only will your physical and mental health improve but you can also be financially better off. Most importantly to consider though is the positive influence that it will have on any children in the relationship who will undoubtedly be better off with two separated, happy parents than two parents together who are at war. These sort of thoughts will reassure you that you have made the right decision to get divorced allowing you to press on to the next chapter of your life with no regrets.
Work on your self esteem
It is not uncommon for women who have just come through a divorce to feel as though they have somehow failed. This can have an impact on self confidence and leave them feeling unattractive, humiliated and generally blue. When your self esteem is down it can be difficult to get it back up again so try to be kind to yourself and don’t dwell on the past. If it wasn’t your fault don’t tell yourself it was. If it was your fault then learn to forgive yourself. Be proactive and strong by taking up new interests in order to set yourself new goals and make new achievements. Congratulate yourself accordingly and accept praise from others too. Exercise when you can – not only will this get your happy hormones flowing and leave you feeling both physically and mentally well, but it will give you a positive body image which will also help boost your self esteem and leave you feeling happier and motivated to move forward.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
We’ve already mentioned that grieving is an important part of moving on from a divorce but this isn’t always something you can cope with alone. Recognizing the difference between mourning the loss of a relationship and falling into depression is important so make sure that you keep friends and family close to you to support you during this and flag up any problems they may think you’re having with the moving on process. If you do not have an immediate circle of family and friends then consider joining a support group or seeking cognitive therapy or counselling from a professional. They will be able to help you work through your feelings which is essential in order to move forward without the emotional baggage that will plague you in later life. Don’t think that you have to do this alone.
When you suddenly become single again after a long marriage the thought of being alone or dating someone new can both be equally liberating ideas. Embrace your life alone which will undoubtedly offer you the opportunity to learn new things and develop new roles. Or, when you feel ready, begin to date again. This doesn’t mean searching for a new husband or even a new relationship, but enjoying the company of a new man can be a fun experience and a learning curve.