It’s over. You’ve signed the divorce papers, and the relationship you entered with so much hope is officially dissolved.
Everyone’s divorce story is different:
- Maybe you had been married for decades, maybe just a year or so.
- Maybe you have children, maybe you don’t.
- Maybe the divorce was your idea and maybe it was your partner’s.
- Maybe you both agreed that separation was best.
- Maybe you’re relieved, maybe you’re heartbroken or a bit of both.
But however you got here, the question now is where do you go from here?
And how do you figure out who you are and what you want as a newly single person?
What is your new life going to look like, and how do you start moving in that direction?
- Let yourself grieve
Nobody gets married thinking, “I sure hope we can get divorced someday!” Even if, by the time you split, the divorce was something you wanted, a divorce still represents a loss.
“You may feel sorrow for what you did or didn’t do, or wonder what you did wrong. Don’t dwell on those feelings, but make room for them, Loss is loss. There is an empty space where something once filled it up, even if that something may not have been anticipated.”
- Time to work through your feelings
Don’t carry that heavy baggage from your previous relationship into your new life. Find a way to work through the remaining emotions. That may mean talking out your feelings with a counsellor or focusing your energy in a healthy activity you enjoy. “It’s common to sweep these emotions under the carpet, but you have to work through them or they’ll get in the way of your life moving forward.
If you find yourself resisting the idea of counselling, you might want to keep in mind that counselling doesn’t mean you have a problem or that you’re in crisis. It can be a way to work towards a better life, with someone who has no agenda but YOU.
3.Learn to love yourself
That may sound cheesy and New Age-y. But the fact is that many people feel a lot of self-rejection after a divorce.
“You might think that there must be something wrong with you if you couldn’t make this relationship work.
You have to work on getting confidence and belief in yourself and ability to believe in your own worth.”
This is also something you could work on in counselling.
- Re-experience who you used to be:
Especially if you were married for a long time, you may have given up a lot of the things you enjoyed as a single person because they didn’t fit with your “couple hood.”
Maybe you loved to go out, but your spouse was a homebody. Maybe you always loved going to the theatre but your husband hated it.
“What were your hobbies and activities before the marriage? What did you defer in favour of the relationship?
Discover the new you!
The life-changing period of divorce, though often difficult and unwelcome, holds a silver lining: to shake things up and try on a new lifestyle.
Maybe it’s as simple as a new haircut after a lifetime of wearing long.
Maybe it’s trying a new sport or consider going back to college.
Maybe you realize that you’d like to move to a new city or even spend a year living overseas
Of course, you can’t just flit away and throw caution to the wind. Chances are, you have some very real considerations — kids (if you’re a parent), a job, and a budget (which may have been hurt by the divorce).
But chances also are that although you might not be able to do whatever your fantasy is, there may be other changes that ARE within your reach. So don’t reject the idea of any change, just because you can’t make every change.
“As long as the changes you make are healthy and constructive, these are very appropriate.