There is no way to sugar coat it – divorce is hard. Period. I lived through one that was very tough but the key words there are “LIVED THROUGH!”
There is no need to dive into the conversation of why people get divorced. It is for all different reasons and every story is unique and personal but what I do want to talk about is getting through divorce and how to come out on the other side stronger and wiser.
Getting out of a marriage that didn’t work can be a viewed as a fresh start and a chance to grow. A lot of stress, anxiety, and unhappiness can be lifted off your shoulders. Once all the details are worked out, a finalized divorce can give you a great sense of relief – knowing what each person’s new role is, what the co-parenting and custody situation is, and knowing that the best way to move forward is to embrace change and learn from your (and your spouses’) mistakes. Above everything else, the one thing that got me through my divorce was keeping a positive attitude – no matter how crappy the day was! It makes a huge difference in how happy your life will be after divorce.
LIFE AFTER DIVORCE
With a few basic simple ideas in place, it can be a lot easier moving forward after divorce and embracing the future.
It is very common for people in a divorce to feel guilty about their failed relationship, even if they were not at fault. I know I did. It took me a long time to get past the feeling that I failed as a husband. Letting go of what was once a big part of your life is difficult. Starting fresh starts with forgiveness. While this may be a very difficult thing to do, it is a major part of moving on. Truthfully, once my ex-wife and I started forgiving each other, we started forming a strong friendship and became even stronger parents.
TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
Make it a priority to do something just for yourself at least once a week. Maybe something you always wanted to do when you were married, but never had the time, support, money, or courage to do. Find some time to rediscover yourself and redefine your goals. Take a trip or try out a new hobby – start a “bucket list.” Getting to know yourself and your passions again is a big part of moving forward and being happy.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY
This one was big for me. I already felt like life was falling apart and the last thing I needed was to feel the same way about my health and body. Let those endorphins run wild and free! Let them help your mood. My running and hiking routine did a world of good for me and often kept me in a good mood. Physical health is one with emotional health and your emotional pain easily turns into real, physical pain if you let it. Back aches, head aches, body aches, and all kinds of other aches and ailments. Be sure to eat right, get enough sleep, and try to exercise regularly.
KEEP IN CONTACT WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Divorce is isolating. You feel like you are the only one stranded on that island of gloom and everybody else is judging you and keep their distance. Not true! While it’s important to take some time alone to heal and find yourself again, you should not alienate yourself from your friends and loved ones. Lean on those people around you for help and companionship. Maybe even make some new friends through a divorce support group. These people are there for you and re-establishing ties with individuals can help boost morale and can get you through rough spots.
DON’T FEEL BAD ABOUT BEING HAPPY
A failed marriage does not make you a bad person and feeling happy that it is over also doesn’t make you a bad person. Don’t be mad at yourself if your divorce ultimately brings you a sense of relief. Sometimes, things just don’t work out and it is OK. Don’t be ashamed to look forward to the future. But also don’t be ashamed of your past. Over time you will learn to embrace the good things in your marriage and use them to your advantage.
To give you a ray of hope, my divorce was not really pretty and we both did things that we are not proud of. However, being two decent people, we decided to take the high road and we worked toward forgiveness and being positive. Today, my ex-wife is one of my closest friends and she feels the same about me. We both agree that being married was not right for us. We also agree that we are better friends and out of the marriage we received the greatest gift that a spouse can ever give – a wonderful child! He alone is the main reason we worked hard and got through a rough divorce – together.
In the end, your happiness is a choice – a choice that only YOU can make.