Reclaiming Your Life After Divorce
You're a complete and total failure, and there's absolutely no hope. Get a bunch of cats or maybe move to a desert island and spend the rest of your life in isolation.
Okay, so maybe these aren't the exact mantras you've been muttering to yourself, but I'm sure they're close. Well, listen up: Almost half of marriages fail, and reclaiming your life after divorce may take time, but eventually you will move on and be happy again.
Remove the blame
The first step to reclaiming your life following divorce is to understand it's not all your fault. This may sound controversial—especially if you cheated, for example. But remember, there are two people in a marriage, and if it ended after an affair, there was probably a major issue(s), such as lack of commitment or poor communication, that led to the infidelity.
Regardless of blame, the marriage is over. Accepting reality can help you rebuild a daily routine without your former significant other. Whether you were married for six months or 20 years, you've lost something significant. It's important to experience and process every stage of grief, and it's equally vital that you don't rush it. Just cut yourself some slack along the way.
As you rebuild a routine, you may be surprised at how different life is now that you're unpartnered.
In an effort to make our partners happy, we often subconsciously change ourselves to be the person our partner wants. It's not until a relationship ends that we realize how much we sacrificed and how unhappy this made us. While you may not feel it immediately, you will be happier as time passes and you begin to lead the life you want.
You may also start to sift through problems that led to your divorce, and analyze why you got hitched in the first place. Maybe it was expected of you, it was the next logical step or maybe you looked at it as a way to fix problems in the relationship. This analysis can be helpful as long as you use the insights to move forward.
Be happy with you
Once you come to terms with the issues that doomed the marriage, you can begin to forgive yourself and launch into the important process of being happy with yourself.
This may be much easier with the help of a professional. Finding a licensed counselor who specializes in grief counseling is recommended as you navigate the process of letting go and moving on.
As you begin to rebuild your life, there will be times when you're working through a lot of anger and resentment, and that may feel like you're moving in the wrong direction. The first rule here is to take it slow. This advice is particularly true if you're contemplating starting a new relationship.
If you're now a single parent, you may feel like it's going to be an uphill struggle to find someone compatible to share your life with. But look at it another way: You've learned so much from your first marriage that you're now a relationship powerhouse as you're navigating a new partnership.
When you meet a new person and you're ready to move on, you may want to close your eyes and jump in headfirst. But beware, this impulsive behavior could lure you into another marriage that perpetuates the same cycle that led to your divorce.
Make a list of your expectations—especially those that affect your identity—and make sure you can communicate honestly and that your goals for the future of the relationship match your new partner's.
Allow yourself to trust again and open up to this new person, while also being alert to possible warning signs you didn't see in your prior relationship. Entering into a partnership with trust and realistic expectations creates an environment in which you can enjoy a life that nurtures both you and your new partner, rather than making sacrifices to "make it work."