Once the ink has dried on your divorce agreement you may think that your worries are all over and you can finally start getting on with your life. However, for a lot of people, this is an uncertain time. You may have fantasized about what you wanted your future to look like but now you actually have to live it the future can feel a lot more daunting. Read this guide to help you move on after a divorce.
Give Yourself Time
Getting a divorce is similar to going through a grieving process. You need to give yourself time and space to work through your emotions. You might feel that you should be ready to face the world again and take on any new challenge that comes your way, but the reality might not live up to your expectation. It may be difficult to think about being single again as you have not had to consider it for so long.
Take a step back and decide what is right for you going forward now that you no longer have your ex-partner to consider. Don’t rush into another relationship as this is likely to be the wrong time for you and it could end up making you feel worse. Any big decisions regarding your life should be left for at least six months so if you want to move to a new country or make a big purchase you will have time to think about what you are doing and act rationally rather than acting on your emotions.
Talk About Your Feelings
Talk about your feelings to those around you and have your own support group for at least the first year. Your best friend will be the one whose shoulder you can cry on who will stop you texting your ex at 3 am or wanting to go round to their house and slash their car tires or have it out with their new partner. Your work colleague may be newly divorced themselves and could be a great person to go to if you need advice or the voice of experience. Your mum may be a great sounding board because she may believe in you no matter what. The more people you can find to support you during the first year post-divorce the better.
Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you need to. Many newly divorced people need some professional support to help them work through their emotions and this could give you a good place to start working on your future from.
Maintain a Journal
Maintaining a journal is a good way to get all your emotions out and help you work through your feelings. A journal will not interrupt with helpful, well-meaning advice as a friend or family member might. It will simply allow you to express yourself as and when you need to. You do not need to hold back or think about what you are saying, just open up. It is a very useful exercise to look back at your past entries from time to time so that you can see how far you have come and how much you have recovered in the past few months.
It can be hard to revaluate your previous relationship, but you will need to do this if you want to move on after a divorce. If you have kids together you will never be able to totally shut your ex out of your life and you may need to figure out how to co-parent for the sake of your children. This can be a difficult journey but with time and patience it is achievable, and it will undoubtedly be the best thing for your kids. Many couples find themselves going over old arguments out of anger or habit. To co-parent successfully you will need to leave the past in the past and strive to find common ground.
Ensemble has a blog post that covers many aspects of life after divorce. To avoid arguments, try using the Ensemble coparenting app to help you track finances and share co-parenting expenses. Walk away from arguments wherever possible and use a third party to mediate where you need to. You may find that life after divorce is better, as you get on with your ex more than you did when you were married.
Make New Friends
It can help to see yourself as a person after your divorce if you make some new friends. These will be people who didn’t know you when you were married and will accept you as you are now. This will help you to move on with your life and see yourself as your new friends do. Take up a new hobby to meet some people, something you always wanted to do but never had the time to when you were married. Learning a new skill can give you a great sense of achievement and help you gain confidence and give you a chance to move on. If this feels difficult then there are plenty of support groups and meet-up groups full of people going through a similar experience. You can meet up and chat and do activities together. This will help you to make friends and realize that you are not on your own.
Focus on Your Career
This could be a great time to focus on your career. You may find that you have fewer distractions now that your divorce has been finalized and you are feeling calmer. Set yourself some goals such as a promotion or put yourself forward for some training courses or additional responsibilities. The sky is the limit if you want it to be and this will give you a good way of concentrating your mind on something outside your divorce. Moving on in your career is a great way to put some distance between you and your marriage and help you to feel that you have moved on following your divorce.
Celebrate Being Single
Being single can be fantastic if you want it to be. Rather than thinking about the negative aspects, think about the positive things that have come from your experience instead. It may be that you have grown as a person, or you no longer feel as unhappy as you did. You may have learned new skills, made new friends or been able to reach a new understanding with those around you. You may simply be enjoying the freedom to be yourself without having to consider your ex. Whatever it is, think about the great aspects of being single and live life to the full.
Eventually, you will probably feel that you are ready to get back into the dating game again. Take your time and do so only when you feel ready. You may be nervous at first, especially if it has been a long time since you last went on a date but try to relax. The golden rule is to have fun and enjoy the date for what it is rather than trying to plan a future before it happens.
You can move on after a divorce and eventually you will be able to look back at your newly single self and realize just how far you have come. Take one step at a time and learn to live your best life.