For a married individual, there are no words more awful to hear than “I want a divorce.” Maybe you thought everything was going well between the two of you. Maybe the signs were there, but you never thought it would come to such an extreme break and you’d be coping with a painful divorce.
When you deal with the aftermath of divorce, you may be feeling emotionally drained by the idea that a person you have spent a significant portion of your life with is no longer there. The process of healing starts with steps like these to ensure you learn to love others and love yourself.
- Allow Yourself to Grieve
It is not healthy to keep your feelings inside. Even if the divorce was something you wanted, it is still a matter of mourning the life and lifestyle that is now gone.
Look through your memories. These can be things like pictures from your marriage, watching old videos, and sorting through your mementos. Store your memories in a new place you will not be tempted to look.
Set a time limit on your grief. Give yourself a good cry and then let it go. Make a promise to yourself that you will not dwell on your negative feelings for much longer. Otherwise, you may miss the happiness that life brings you. Coping with a painful divorce doesn’t mean you forget all about it.
2. Turn to Your Friends
Your friends can be great resources to rely on when you are sad. Whether they have been through a divorce or not, they will likely care about your wellbeing. Allow them to support you through this transition.
Let your friends remind you of who you are. The end of a relationship can cause you to do things that are out of character, like take risks, overeat, or ruminate unproductively on the past. Trust friends to help you stop you from being the worst version of yourself.
Meet new friends as well. While your friends can provide a great deal of support, it can be difficult when some of them are mutual friends with your ex. Meeting new friends will allow them to understand your situation alone and can give you a new lease on life. You can make new friends by joining an online group, taking a class, or volunteering.
3. Remember Who You Were Before You Were Married
You may have been married for so long that you forgot how to be yourself without your ex. Being someone’s husband or wife was not your only identity.
Make a list of things you like about yourself before you were a spouse. Think about your strengths and what makes you unique. What do you do best that others wish they could do? Answering these questions can help you move forward with the new you.
Try new things you have always wanted to do. You may have put things you always wanted to do on hold when you got married. Now is the chance to take that class you always wanted to take, go back to school, take a bucket list trip, or anything else that provides meaning for you without your spouse.
The most important thing to remember is that it is important to be patient with yourself. If you are experiencing a particularly debilitating grieving process you may need more support. If, after a few weeks the transition is continuing to interfere with your life, speaking to a counselor may help you move forward and be happy. Instead of viewing divorce solely as a devastating loss, try to see it as a new chapter in your life.
Allow a therapist to help you design a more healthy and optimistic vision of what is to come. If you would like to schedule an appointment or discuss any questions you may want to read about Trauma Therapy and contact us soon.