Adjusting to a new life after a divorce presents a rollercoaster of emotions for most people. Depending on how long you were married, your sense of identity may have been firmly tied to being someone’s spouse. It’s extremely difficult for many to think about being “single” again.
It’s important to understand that you’re not going through this transition alone. About half of all first marriages in the U.S. end in divorce, and nearly two-thirds for second marriages. But you may not find much comfort in the statistics. What can help in this transition?
Coping strategies to build a new life
Anger. Resentment. Rejection. Those feelings can be powerful after a marriage ends. But positive emotions can also rise to the top, including relief, hope and resiliency. Knowing what to expect instead of repressing or denying these emotions is the first step to putting you on a positive path. Here are some strategies:
- Be honest: Let yourself feel the intense emotions swirling around inside. Besides the others mentioned above, grief is an essential stage of the process.
- Talk to someone: Whether it’s a trusted friend, relative or professional therapist, build a support system consisting of people who don’t judge you or tell you how to feel.
- Up your coping game: Dealing with adversity and tragedy is a lifelong skill we develop every day. Focus on your well-being instead of just “surviving” your divorce.
- Pursue healthy activities: Avoid turning to alcohol or drugs to “get through” the day. Focus on getting adequate sleep, a healthy diet and regular exercise. Maybe you had a hobby you were passionate about before giving it up for marriage.
- Focus on your children: If you have kids, put them first. You may end your marriage, but you, your ex and your children are still a family. Both of you should be united in minimizing the effects of divorce on your kids.
- Take your time: Don’t rush into a new relationship. Take time to evaluate what went wrong with your marriage to avoid those issues when you’re ready to fall in love again.
Whether or not you have children, understand that you are in a state of transition after divorce. You won’t be the person you were before or during your marriage. The healing process depends on your ability to accept new circumstances. It’s crucial to lean on those who care and are ready to help you find solid footing.