Divorce can be messy and often expensive. It is also expensive in terms of physical and mental costs, especially if you are the injured party in the whole ordeal.
Some people emerge from a divorce feeling free and happy because the bond that held them and their spouse together was gone long before the legal action. Perhaps that person had been having an affair and wanted “out” to be with that other person.
But this article is not about that person. Here, we are going to address your state of being as one who has been hurt and maybe deeply injured by the loss of this marriage and the one you loved so much.
Now, you must figure out how to survive the pain and the grief and how to get to a place where your life is happy, productive, and satisfying once again.
The Grieving Process
In many ways, divorce is like death – you are grieving the loss of a love. And there are all sorts of books, articles, and such on what that process is and the stages you will go through as you recover from your loss. Find a good source and review this process so you know what to expect in the way of your emotional journey. In the end, you’ll get acceptance, and that’s a good thing.
But this article is not about the grieving process. Instead, it is about very practical tips and strategies that you can use along the way that will speed up your recovery and leave you ready to move on gloriously.
Practical Tips and Strategies
Have Conversations with Yourself and Others
You can wallow in the swamp of self-pity and how miserable you are, but what will that accomplish? Instead of having these types of conversations with yourself, family, and friends, make every effort to make these conversations constructive. That means you will talk about how you plan to move forward, take suggestions and recommendations for doing just that, and begin to choose some things you can do to get your mind off of the pain.
If it will help, consult a therapist. There are plenty of online therapists that offer phone or video sessions. In between, you can text them.
Get a Personal Support Group
These can be close friends or family members, but be careful here. You don’t want just those people who will agree with you and commiserate with your anger, depression, etc. You need a support group that will listen and be objective. Are you overacting? They will tell you so. Are you wallowing? They will tell you so. You want a support group that will tell you what’s true, not what you want to hear.
There are also groups of divorced people that meet regularly. They focus on moving forward, not looking back. They will help you weigh your options and make good decisions.
Analyze Your Marriage
Again, this is not just rehashing all of the bad things about your former spouse. There were good times. What made them good? There were bad times – what made them bad? How much of a role did you play in those bad times? What could both of you have done differently to make things work?
Don’t spend a lot of time on this. But a bit of analysis will give you two insights -what you want to do differently in the future and the qualities you will want to look for if you ever decide to enter a new relationship.
Don’t Stalk Your Ex
This is the biggest “no-no” of all. Remember, the point is to get over the failed marriage. If you continue to follow them around on social media, by talking to mutual friends to find out what they are up to, or using whatever other means you may have devised to “stalk” them. Force yourself to overcome any temptation you have to do this – maybe get a support person who will talk you down from this when you are tempted.
If there are children involved in this divorce, there will be times when you will have to interact with your ex. Keep these interactions to a minimum and only what is necessary for visitation and other decisions related to their welfare. It may be tempting to turn these interactions into something more but resist this at all costs.
Hook Up with Old Friends
Over time, we tend to put distance between ourselves and old friends – life just gets in the way. It’s time to reconnect, maybe via social media. Look for them on Facebook and attend those class reunions. Who knows? You may develop a new and satisfying social group to do things with.
Be Patient and Give Yourself Some Time
You will be going through that grieving process, and the most important tip here is to not rush things. You don’t have to march on into a completely new life before you are really ready to. Take smaller steps from among these tips, and you’ll get there. And by all means, don’t jump into a rebound relationship. The chances that you meet your soulmate are not good this soon. Rebound relationships rarely end well. If you feel like having a date or two, fine. But keep things casual.
Pick Up a New Hobby
Is there something you’ve always wanted to do? Why not now? Have you always wanted to race cars or train dogs? Have you always wanted to take up painting or gourmet cooking? Maybe you want to volunteer for a cause near and dear to your heart. Now is the time to do that. When we pursue our small dreams or decide to be of service to others, we get outside of ourselves and our problems.
Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
Your marriage may have failed, but life is more than a relationship. Are you in good health? Do you have great friends and a close family? Do you have a job or career you love? Do you have children who are a joy to you? Place a sign on your bathroom or fridge that simply says “Gratitude.” These will remind you to think about those things that are right and good in your life.
If you are not someone who has been into fitness, it’s time to know. You want to look and feel better, and this will do it.
You don’t have to join a gym. Get a routine of walking every day. Take a Yoga class. Access an online fitness class and tune in regularly.
Here’s the thing about exercise. During the activity, your brain releases endorphins, “feel-good” hormones that act as a natural mood elevator.
If you are not into traditional physical exercise, how about music? Put on your favorite playlist of upbeat music while you clean your place, or just dance. The same feel-good hormones will be released. In fact, whenever you are feeling down, put that playlist on and pick up your mood.
Have Regular Retail Therapy
You do need to focus on your physical appearance. This is the reason for suggesting a regular fitness routine. Another part of that is indulging yourself, within your budget, of course, with some clothing or accessory purchases that will pick up your mood and make you feel more attractive. Just be moderate, and don’t go into debt for this.
Join an Online Dating App
You may not be ready to get out there and date others right now. But you may be ready to get prepared for this eventuality. Joining an online dating app will let you move slowly back into making connections with dating preferences. You can stay on that app, message and chat with others, and regain confidence in your ability to socialize with others, whether you ever meet up in person or not. The goal is to get yourself back “out there” in a safe and casual environment.
Take Control of Your Diet
Diet does impact physical and mental health. If you’ve been a bit neglectful in this area, it’s now time to fix that. Get online and research not just what constitutes healthy dietary habits but the benefits of those habits. There’s a lot of research out there that shows what a healthy diet does for both physical and mental health. Remember, your goal is to be the physical and metal specimen you can be.
Exercise You Brain
You want to be a more attractive person – physically, mentally, and intellectually. During some of your alone time, why not take up some reading? Pick a genre of fiction or non-fiction that you have always liked, and exercise your mind a bit.
Make Your Appearance a Priority
One of the most important things in recovering from a divorce is not to let your appearance go. It’s easy to do when feeling down and maybe like having been “discarded.” Your feelings of self-worth are damaged. If you “let yourself go” appearance-wise, you are only reinforcing those feelings. On the other hand, if you pay attention to your appearance and commit to looking great every time you leave the house, you will gradually begin to feel better about yourself in other areas. And others will look at you differently, too.
These 14 tips and strategies should give you a blueprint for recovery from a painful divorce if you take them seriously and put them into practice. But there is a larger part of this picture, too. That larger part is realizing that your happiness does not depend on anyone else. You are in charge of who you are, what you want out of life, and making sure that you are pursuing the goals you have set for yourself. Once you get that cemented within you, you’ll know that you can enter another relationship, even a marriage, with greater confidence and potential for success.