A Mom’s Guide to Moving on After Divorce
Each year, millions of women go through divorces. While there are plenty of instances where both parties are happy to turn the page and start a new chapter, there are also situations where divorce causes significant emotional turmoil, pain, and suffering.
If you fall into this category, it’s imperative that you remedy the situation and develop a plan for reclaiming your life.
The Fallout From Divorce
Every marriage starts with great hope. In many cases, it’s blind hope – but it’s hope, nonetheless. But after three, five, or even 10-plus years, many marriages start to crumble under the pressure of the real world. Health issues, financial problems, irreconcilable differences, infidelity, and misunderstandings chip away at the foundation and divorce becomes part of the conversation.
As someone who feels like you’ve given your all to your family, divorce – whether it was mutual or you were blindsided by it – can send shockwaves through your life. Suddenly everything you knew to be true and comfortable is no more. In many respects, you’re forced to start over again.
The real danger of divorce is to wallow in the emotional aftermath. If you spend too much time ruminating on the situation and how it makes you feel, you’ll eventually head down a path toward depression – which can spiral even further out of control and into depths that you never knew existed within yourself.
According to HisandHerHouses.com, “Depression is the number one cause of drug abuse in women. Unlike men, who often use for pure thrill-seeking purposes, women often turn to substances to manage their anxiety and depression.”
If not substance abuse, depression can lead to rash financial decision making, ruin friendships, compromise your career, or negatively impact your children and their emotional development.
Helpful Tips for Life After Divorce
When it comes to divorce, there’s always hope on the other side. There’s a chance to move on and experience emotional healing. Here are a few suggestions to help you regain and rebuild a new sense of normal:
- Practice Self-Love
Self-deprecation and inner turmoil will tear you apart at the seams. No matter what happened in the past, it’s imperative that you learn to trust yourself again and believe that you are worthy of being loved by another. Otherwise, you’ll never date again.
“Learning to trust yourself and developing self-love is an inner journey which involves examining your past from a fresh perspective,” Terry Gaspard, MSM, explains. “If you can’t believe you are good enough, how can you believe a new partner would choose you?”
Practicing self-love looks like doing things for yourself, reaffirming your thoughts and beliefs, caring for your basic health needs – like sleep, nutrition, and exercise – forgiving yourself for past mistakes, and living your life with intentionality.
- Set Goals for Yourself
Nothing promotes healing better than action. You need to initiate movement in your life – and sooner is better.
“Setting new goals, especially intrinsic ones that reflect your core values and aspirations will put you back in the driver’s seat,” author Peg Streep writes. “Science shows that writing down your goals is actually more motivating than simply thinking about them.”
- Cling to Your Children
In the wake of a divorce, you need your children and they need you. Instead of filling up your schedule with all sorts of busy activities to take your mind off what’s happening, reach for your kids. Give them support and – if they’re older – allow them to reciprocate.
- Do Things for Yourself
Finally, make time for yourself. Learn a new hobby. Join a new social group. Try an activity that you’ve never done before. And, when the timing is right, don’t be afraid to begin casually dating. It’ll probably take some time before you’re ready for a serious relationship, but for now, the social interaction will be good for your emotional healing.
Rediscovering Your Potential
Whether you’re 25, 45, or 65, you have a whole new life in front of you. It’s a blank canvas, and you get to decide where the brushstrokes go. Instead of floundering in the emotional fallout of your divorce, make a conscious effort to step into the healing process and begin anew. It doesn’t mean your divorce doesn’t hurt or leave scars – it just means you won’t let the pain define or direct you.
You’re stronger than that and have plenty of potential ahead.