Everyone’s divorce story is different. One thing most divorcees can say they have in common is that a “dissolution of marriage” wasn’t exactly thought about in their happily ever after. While statistics say almost 50 percent of all marriages will end in separation or divorce, no one goes into it prepared for it to happen, nevermind how to get through one.
Whether you were married for decades or 72 days, the feelings that come with divorce range from guilt and embarrassment to happiness and relief. However you got to this place, the next steps you take are pivotal in your well-being as you move forward.
Here are five steps you can take toward self-care:
1. Let Yourself Grieve
Regardless of the experience, divorce still represents a loss. The remorse you feel around what you could have done differently or what you did wrong is natural. What was once a filled space in your life is now empty and there will be emotions that come with that. You should make room for those feelings but don’t dwell on them.
2. Process Your Feelings
It is very important during this grievance process that you are very intentional in taking time to process your feelings. Sit with your own thoughts without the outside chatter and influence. Use this time to focus on your own energy and the things that are in your control. What unhealthy behaviors did you display to contribute to this result and what can you do to improve moving forward? It’s easy to sweep these things under the rug but they will eventually become heavy baggage that you don’t want to carry with you so check them at the door. Denial or refusal to take responsibility just creates resentment and makes moving on difficult.
3. Dare to be Alone
You’re single, not broken. So embrace it! This step doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself. And there’s nothing wrong with being open to dating. However, don’t be in such a rush to be in a relationship again. Not having time to yourself only impairs your judgment going into something new. It’s so important to learn what you want and what you’re looking for to make better decisions as you move forward.
4. Embrace Your New Role
Your partner may have handled some things that you may have gotten used to not handling, for example, taking out the trash or car care. So now it’s up to you to get it done. If you’re a parent, this is your new reality as you move into your new role. It’s extremely important for children to be the top priority despite the ending of the romantic relationship.
5. Rediscover You
Super cliche but learn to like yourself. Take time to rediscover who you were before the relationship. It’s not uncommon to desert our likes and needs out of compromising for the common good of coupledom. What did you like to do before the marriage? What have you been wanting to pursue but felt like you couldn’t? This is a prime time to shake things up and try a different lifestyle. As long as it’s healthy and constructive to your growth, go for it!
The moral of the story is adversity happens. Nonetheless, knowing how to deal with our setbacks is just as important as knowing how to push forward. As stated by the late John Witherspoon in the popular movie Friday, “you win some, you lose some. But you live, you live to fight another day”.