Moving on after a Divorce – 8 things you should know
Marriage is a huge step some choose to take in life. When people decide to get married, they usually have this idea of a happily ever after. I don’t think any reasonable person sets out to get married so that they can get divorced. Unfortunately, life is not always clear-cut and things like Divorces happen. There are a variety of reasons people choose to get a divorce, and no two cases are exactly alike. I believe divorce hits you hardest when you feel you have done everything right and you are not at fault. It is easy to begin to resent your former spouse and in turn forget that resentment, holding on and being angry are a big catalyst to moving forward. Without dwelling too much on how one should react if they were the cause of the divorce or not, I will list 5 thing you should know when you want to move on after a divorce, because after all we are here to learn how to move on, not how to apportion blame.
1. Embrace Your Fresh Start – After a divorce, you are starting fresh. You may be emotionally not so strong and probably mentally exhausted. Do not let things weight you down. When we are faced with situations in life, our reaction to those situations are what makes or breaks us and you are not here to be broken. How you win this is ultimately up to you. You have to take an optimistic stance and approach from day one. You can start by making a list of things you would like to do for yourself, things you have always wanted to accomplish, things that would make you happy if you did, and begin to knock them out. This is also an opportunity to “find” yourself. When you are in a marriage, you get used to who you are as someones’ wife or husband. Being single again can be a world of difference from that. Take the time out to learn more about you as a single person. Focusing on figuring out your likes, dislikes, aspirations and future relationship plans. This is also a good time to decide if you see yourself with someone else in the future and a great time to determine how long you wish to wait and what type of person you want to be with. There is no rush, take your time to discover and love you so that when it is time to present this new you to someone else, you will know exactly who you are presenting.
2. Learn from your mistakes – It is easy to blame your ex spouse most especially if you were not at fault. Even if you are at fault, you may start making excuses for yourself and try to justify why you did whatever it is that you did. Stop! Instead of feigning perfection and dwelling on things you cannot change, this would be a great time to focus on things you can. Start by analyzing your marriage and your self. Figure out things you could and would have done different. I am not saying dwell on things and make yourself feel bad. I am saying, when things do not go as expected in life, it is wise to figure out why so that you can avoid the same errors again. This helps a lot if you plan to enter into a new relationship later in the future. It also helps you discover some likes and dislikes that you may not even realize that you have. If your divorce happened due to you and your spouse growing apart, you can also try to figure out at what point things changed and what you could have done to improve things. Remember, you are only responsible for your actions. You should not make yourself feel bad about decisions made by someone else that affected you. Work on things you can control.
3. Release Yourself Emotionally – I always say, if we do not meet or know someone, we do not know they exist and they can’t affect us emotionally so you wonder how someone you did not know at some point in your life can affect it so much. This again is left to you. We let people in and only we have the ability to shut them out. I would start by treating things this way. After a divorce, you are starting over, you do not want to weigh yourself down emotionally. Memories are good but using them as a tool to bring yourself down emotionally is not a good idea. You may need to tell yourself that you were doing fine before you met your ex and will do fine even after the divorce. There is power in our thoughts and our mind is a very powerful tool. Sometimes you have to keep reminding yourself that it is in your best interest not to dwell on things most especially if it can not change anything.
4. Do not be in Denial – This is one of the easiest thing to do after a divorce. You may still love your ex spouse and want so badly to believe this is all a misunderstanding or maybe he or she is just doing this to test you or maybe your spouse will realize you are the best person for them and come running back. Chances of this happening are quiet slim so in order to move on, you have to accept things for what they currently are. Going as far as getting a divorce is a huge deal. When your spouse makes and stands by this decision, it is in your best interest to come to terms with it. Accept that this person no longer wants to be married to you and move on. It does not make you a failure or a bad person. Sometimes two good people may not be well suited for each other. It is a harsh reality to come to terms with but the sooner you do it the better. Stop making excuses for you or your ex spouse. Stop holding on to hope that he or she will change their mind. Carry on with your life and even if your ex spouse comes back later in life, he or she will come back to a stronger and better person.
5. Stay busy – This is a great time to do things you have always wanted to do. A new career move, travel, or a new hobby! It is important to stay physically and mentally busy after a divorce. It helps you keep your mind off things. They say “an idle mind is the devils workshop,” this is true. The more you stay idle, the more chances are, you will find yourself thinking about your situation and over thinking can sometimes lead to making bad decisions. Thinking about something as life changing as a divorce constantly is not a good idea. Pick up a book if you are bored, join a fitness class, upgrade yourself mentally, get busy and stay busy. You will find that if you stay busy, you will heal faster and also accomplish new things in the process.
6. Get out and socialize – I think one of the biggest issues a newly divorced person has is getting out there and socializing. While it is wise to give yourself some time to heal before you begin to date, there is absolutely nothing wrong with going out on causal dates and having fun. It will help you feel fresh and happy even if it is a temporary. Remember, nothing happens overnight. The healing process may take time, what is important is that you are being proactive about letting go, healing and moving on. Determination is key. Do not leave room for emotional downtime.
7. Stay off Your Ex’s Social Media – In this day and age of social media, it is so easy and tempting to want to find out what your ex spouse is up to. If you engage in this act, STOP! It is not healthy and will delay the process of moving on. It is especially unhealthy if your ex has moved on and is public about his or her new relationship. Stay off the social media pages and keep it moving. It also brings me to the topic of unnecessary contact. We all know the “I was just calling to say hello,” call. You do not want to get caught up in none of that. This is of course different if you have kids together. If you have kids together keep your contact and conversation strictly about the kids till you are certain you are in a good place to do more. Be civil most especially in front of your children. Not all co-parents like each other but it is important to understand that when you have kids, it is time to put your emotions aside and be good parents for their sake. If you are angry or bitter, trying to find out too much or be over friendly can make things worse if you are not getting the results you want. Keep things civil but do not go overboard.
8. Stay Friends when it the time is right – Not all divorces end on a bad note. Some people mutually decide they are better off not being married to each other. If this is the case and there is no bitterness or animosity between you two, then feel free to stay friends with your ex. Some ex spouses actually make better best friends when the pressure of being married to each other is not present. It is also very wise to try to build a friendship if you have kids together but do that when you are emotionally and mentally in a good place. Attempting to build a friendship when you have not addressed how you feel about this person may end up making the situation worse. Remember being civil and being friends are two different things. We don’t need enemies we once loved.
In conclusion, these are some of the things that can help you move on faster after a divorce. It is not an extensive list because like I said before, every situation is different. One thing all divorcees’ do have in common is that they all want to be happy. If you were unable to find happiness with your ex spouse, first of all find it within yourself and eventually, that happiness with resonate with someone who will love you for a lifetime.