The end of a marriage is rarely a happy time. What started with promise is officially over when the final papers are signed, and you’re faced with the prospect of going it alone again. Like every marriage, every divorce is different, and the ways to heal and move on with your life will vary from person to person.
Whether you’ve been married for decades or only a year or two, figuring out how to move on and get started in a new direction can be a particularly daunting task. Despite the differences, there are a few things everyone facing life after divorce has in common, and in this short article, we’ll look at a few things everyone should consider when faced with starting over.
1. You’ll Need to Mourn
No one enters a marriage thinking they’ll one day get a divorce. After so much time with your spouse, every divorce will represent a loss at some level. Even though by the time the divorce is final you’re probably accepting of the idea, and maybe even relieved, you’ll still need to deal with the grief of loss. No matter the reason for your divorce, grief is an inevitable part of the process, and you’ll need to allow yourself time to mourn.
While different for everyone, grief is a well understood process, and will likely include sadness and loneliness. Dwelling on those feeling is counter productive, but you’ll need to make room for them. The space your spouse once occupied is empty, and you’ll need to acknowledge that new reality.
2. Dealing With Your Feelings
The roller coaster of emotions may have settled down by the time your divorce is final, but you’ll still need to work through your feelings. Maybe you blame yourself for the end of the relationship, or maybe you blame your spouse, but you’ll need to find a way through those emotions and not carry them into your new life. Try not to intellectualize your divorce by finding reasons you shouldn’t feel sad, like “he cheated” or “she didn’t appreciate me.” Those feelings of sadness are real, and denying them will only delay your transition to a new life, and a new you.
You may find that talking with a therapist is helpful. Remember, therapy isn’t simply for those with a staggering problem or acute crisis. Seeing a therapist can be a way to help you get on track toward a new life. By speaking with someone who has a professional and unbiased opinion, and is focused only on helping you work through your feelings, you’re likely to make progress toward processing the complex emotions that come along with the end of a marriage.
3. Try Not to See Your Divorce as a Failure
Culturally, we’re predisposed to consider divorce as a ‘failed marriage,’ and with that comes the post-divorce burden of feeling that you have failed. All the hopes and dreams you had for marriage are gone, and it’s natural to see the loss as a failure. Regardless of the reason the marriage ended, you’ll need to work past the idea that you have failed at something. Rather than looking at it as a failure, try to see the end of your marriage as an opportunity to pursue a “second act” in your life.
4. Make a Plan to Reinvent Yourself
A recently ended marriage can actually be a tremendous opportunity. While your overwhelming thoughts might be “who am I now” or “what do I do now,” you have a golden opportunity at this point to reinvent yourself. Being single means that you can define yourself not in terms of your spouse, but in any way you like. What sorts of things used to interest you that you’ve drifted away from? Maybe you used to enjoy the outdoors, but your spouse was a homebody.
Now you have a chance to get back to some things that used to give you joy. And if not old interests, try something new. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try hang gliding or rock climbing, or maybe you’d like to go back to school. Make a plan to open yourself up to new adventures, and with them the possibility of forming new friendships.
5. Learn to Be Alone
Being alone doesn’t mean living like a hermit and not seeing anyone. Learning to be alone is about not being in a rush to be part of a couple. Many recently divorced people rush into new relationships out of a fear of being alone. While that fear of loneliness can be very real, learning to be comfortable alone can be empowering, and foster greater self confidence. Try to stop worrying about being alone—between friends and family, chances are that you’re not really alone after all.
You can use this new way of living to take on roles your spouse may have performed. If your ex-wife always handled the finances, take on the new challenge head on. Chances are, you’ll quickly learn new skills you never knew you had, and the resulting surge in self-confidence can be a great asset in helping you work toward an independent lifestyle.
6. Put a Symbolic End on Your Marriage
When you’ve worked through your feelings of grief, and are well on your way to fulfilling a plan to reinvent a “new you,” consider not just “closing the book” on your marriage, but think in terms of starting a new chapter of your life in a symbolic way. This might entail an adventurous rafting trip through the Grand Canyon, a move to a new city, or even a new tattoo.
Another way to put a symbolic end on the marriage is to sell your engagement ring or other bridal jewelry. Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers is the best way to sell your unwanted wedding rings and other bridal jewelry, quickly and safely for a fair cash price. Parting with the outward symbols of your old marriage can be a healthy way to mark the end of one part of your life, and the beginning of a new and exciting chapter.
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