In many ways, the end of a marriage can be one of the most difficult and stressful times in a person's life.
It's more than the end of a promised lifelong partnership; a divorce signifies the loss of friendships, a home, and shared dreams and aspirations. Your whole world is turned upside down, and your future may seem filled with unknowns.
Moving on from divorce and creating a new future for you and your family can take time. But with profound grief comes change. Whatever the reason for the breakup, your life will continue. Many people who have trodden this path have proven time and again that healing after a divorce is a question of when not if.
As you begin to move forward and enter a new phase of your life, it's important to remember that knowledge will be your best friend during this period of uncertainty. This will help you regain control over your life and a sense of clarity that may have been lost in the divorce.
How long does it take to get over a divorce?
Every divorce is different, and every person will take a different path to recovery. You may get conflicting answers, leading to more questions. That said, time is on your side.
Even after a divorce, you can cycle through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It's important to remember that these feelings are not boxes to be checked, and you can go “backward” even if it seems you have begun to move forward.
Divorce also has a way of changing people’s definitions of success. Some may use this opportunity to reinvent themselves and make sweeping changes. Others may define success as attaining serenity and a clear mind. The truth is you are free to set the milestones by which you measure yourself.
With time and support, you will learn to deal with the trauma and focus on building a new beginning. You just have to trust the healing process.
How to move on after divorce
The pain and disruption are physically and emotionally taxing, but healing is a process, and every action brings you forward in your journey. Here are a few practices you can embrace every day as you live through this period in your life.
Join a support group
You might feel that silence is golden. Perhaps you think that the pain of your divorce is none of other people's business or that others shouldn't have to carry the weight of your burden. However, it's absolutely essential that you are able to express your feelings in a safe space. You will feel less isolated if you reach out to people who share and understand your experiences. A divorce support group or a divorce therapist can help you work through the feelings which may be causing you pain and anxiety.
Take care of yourself
Too often, people let their own needs get pushed to the bottom of their priorities in the aftermath of a divorce. You may be setting up your new home, your children might need additional support navigating the transition, and you have a long list of important tasks that need your attention.
You can only build a new life if you have a full tank plus a bit in reserve for those unexpected challenges. To take care of others, you must take care of yourself first.
Self-care can be as simple as setting aside time for pleasure. You could explore a new hobby or interest or look for new ways to look inward. The goal is to reduce stress in a healthy manner, so allow yourself an hour or so a day to do things that are just for you.
Validate your feelings
Whether or not it was your decision to end the marriage, you will likely experience a long list of emotions, including loneliness, fear, betrayal, and regret. And it's understandable if you prefer to control your unwanted feelings instead of confronting them head-on. But suppressing what you feel will only cause more problems down the line.
All of your feelings are valid. You may have a challenging time managing these emotional cycles, but creating space for your feelings allows you to handle them better when they happen. Consider talking to a professional to learn new strategies for emotional regulation.
The myriad changes that divorce inflicts on your life can take you by surprise for a long time and disorient you even on good days. You may need to put up a brave front for your friends and family. However, it's vital to remember that no one expects you to be 100% every single day.
Keep in mind that healing after a divorce isn't linear. It's natural to compare yourself to other people, but do not feel disheartened if your process does not exactly match up with the next person's. Be kind to yourself, focus on your recovery, and you will eventually get there.
Lean into personal development
Use this period to reassess your goals and activities. Ask yourself if you are happy with the status quo or if it's time to shake things up. Are you eyeing a new career track? Do you want to learn a new skill or deepen your knowledge? Is it time for a new hobby?
Now is the perfect time to make time and space for new things that make your life fuller and richer. Focusing on the positives in your life leaves less room for the negatives.
Reconnect with your loved ones
Divorce has a way of affecting all your relationships, and it's not uncommon for people to pull away from their friends. But when you stop attending your usual activities or ignore your friends' calls, you are hurting your recovery process. Withdrawal will only add to the isolation and loss you already feel.
Make an effort to talk with and see the people in your life who matter to you. Even something as simple as going out for dinner and drinks with your closest friends can make your life feel more normal. Not only is your inner circle an indispensable source of emotional comfort, but it can also be a welcome distraction from the turmoil.
How to rebuild your life after divorce
Your journey doesn’t end with your marriage. This new chapter is filled with options and possibilities, and it's incumbent on you to build the best possible foundation for your post-divorce life. As I mentioned earlier, knowledge is your best friend.
Whether you're contemplating a divorce or navigating your post-divorce life, your first step would be to talk to a CDFA as early as possible. An experienced CDFA can take steps to protect your financial interests during the divorce process and create a sustainable financial plan that allows you to live your best life.
Have any questions? Unsure about your next steps? Book a consultation today.