Going through a divorce, no matter what the circumstances are, is never easy. The process itself is hard enough, so by the time it's over and you're left to deal with the aftermath, you can feel incredibly drained emotionally. It's not unusual to feel depressed, despondent, or maybe even afraid of what comes next. When you've spent a significant portion of your life with a person, how do you even begin to think about moving on? If you have kids together, it can feel even more challenging. But moving on with your life and starting over definitely is possible, you just might need a little help (and of course that magic word—time).
Below, we rounded nine tips to help you get over a divorce.
Remember You Are Worthy of Love
When a spouse files for divorce, your self-esteem can take a serious beating. Some people might even start to feel worthless or unlovable. But remember, just because you weren't able to make the relationship work with that one person, doesn’t mean you can’t move on and find a new loving relationship. The divorce may have had much more to do with your spouse and their issues than you, so don’t blame yourself. Self-criticism only makes it harder. This is the time to be good to yourself and practice self-care, not beat yourself up.
Cultivate Positive Friendships
Evaluate your current friendships and strive to make new ones. While you probably have some true friends you can reach out to at this time, don't be surprised if you get a cold shoulder from some people. If they were mutual friends with your ex-spouse, they may be more loyal to them than you, so focus on those who do want to be there for you and on cultivating new relationships. Whether old or new, friendships can help support you through this transition.
Make new friends by joining an online group, taking a workout class, or volunteering.
Remember Who You Were Before the Relationship
Think about your life before the relationship. What were your hopes and dreams? Were there places you wanted to go or new things you wanted to try? This is a perfect time to take that writing workshop, art class, or do other activities that interest you. Maybe you want to go back to school or take a bucket list trip. Do things that are meaningful to you and get in touch with who you are without your spouse. "Knowing your purpose can give you a true sense of who you are. It gives your life direction and helps you make clear and easy decisions concerning that direction," says Mark Banschick, M.D.
Take Time To Grieve
Give yourself time to grieve. "It’s normal and healthy to relive both good and bad moments in time when you were married. It’s an unavoidable part of the grief process," says licensed therapist Susan Pease Gadoua. Look through pictures from your marriage, watch old videos, and sort through mementos. Have a good cry, and then let it go. Give yourself a time limit on your grief and then make a pact with yourself that you won’t let yourself dwell on the negative feelings any longer. Feeling sad every day is nromal at the beginning of your adjustment period, but you need to set a limit on it in order to move on.
Get Re-Acquainted With Yourself
Get to know yourself again. When you’ve been part of a couple, chances are some of the choices made in the relationship, such as where to eat or where to go on vacation, were not your choices but rather your spouses (or a compromise between both of your desires). You may not even know what you really like anymore. Try new things and learn what makes you happy. You now have the freedom to explore yourself, so enjoy it.
Explore All of Your Options
Use this experience as a catalyst for your new life. Sometimes a traumatic experience can serve to move us out of a rut we’ve been in with our lives. Have you been stuck in a career that didn’t fulfill you? Now might be the perfect time to look at other options. Look at this as a chance to start your life over and discover all the opportunities that are available to you.
Take Your Time When It Comes To New Relationships
Make sure to take some time to get yourself grounded again before trying to tackle another relationship since rebound relationships are never good for either person involved. "Divorce can often result in bitterness and resentment that lead many individuals to spiral out of control or immediately jump into a new relationship as an unhealthy way to fill their empty void," says Kristen Fuller, M.D. Give yourself time to work through the issues associated with the divorce before getting involved with someone else.
Celebrate Being Single
Celebrate being single! There are many people who really enjoy living alone, and there are advantages to being single—you don’t have to share a bathroom, you can stay up late without disturbing anyone, you can cook what you like to eat, you can spend your money the way you want to, and much more. Find ways to enjoy your newfound singledom. Some solitude can be good as a time of reflection and reorganization of your priorities.
Know That Time Heals Most Wounds
Most importantly, you have to give yourself time to heal from divorce. It takes time to lessen the sting, and with time, the flood of memories and regrets will happen less and less often. "How long your emotional recovery takes depends on a number of factors such as whether you saw the split coming, whether it was your choice, whether you were left for another, whether you have kids, whether you are self-supporting, whether you’re getting adequate help and whether you have the right resources and information around you, to name a few," Pease Gadoua says.