Divorce may be the most traumatic experience a person can go through. For many, it is not just the end of a relationship, it is the end of life as they know it. Plans were made, goals set, and an ultimate objective established; all of which have now been thwarted. This frequently leaves one wondering what to do now. Moving on with your life after divorce requires a bit of self-care and a lot of self-discovery. This blog explores some of the steps you can take to move on with your life after divorce.
In order to get past any major loss, you first need to grieve the loss. Take some time to feel your feelings. It is natural to have them, and you will not be able to move on until you allow yourself to experience them. It is common after divorce to go through the same stages of grief as those who have had someone very close to them pass away. These stages include (1) denial, (2) anger, (3) bargaining, (4) depression, and (5) acceptance. The stages of grief do not necessarily happen to everyone or occur in any particular order. Because everyone experiences grief differently, everyone will need to deal with it in their own way and in their own time. Experts agree, however, that there are some best practices for coping with grief, including eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising, talking with a friend, family member, or therapist, turning to spirituality, and asking for support.
In some ways, divorce can be liberating. You can eat what you want, when you want to eat it, make large purchases without consulting anyone else, go to bed as early or as late as you choose, rearrange the furniture the way you like it, get the pet you have always wanted, or do any number of things you did not do before because you had to consider your spouse’s wishes and lifestyle choices. Adjustments no longer need to be made in order to make your partner happy. This newfound freedom can help you cope with your grief and begin re-discovering who you are.
Once you are working through your grief and enjoying some of the small liberties of divorce affords you; you can move on to living again and making some decisions about your future. There are several things you can do to get this process underway. (1) If you are still living in the house you shared with your spouse, get rid of their stuff, and redecorate. Instead of being constantly reminded of your former spouse and life, you can enjoy a space that is all yours while you contemplate a new and exciting future. (2) Check your estate plan to ensure that your will, and all life insurance and financial account beneficiaries are up to date. Transfer on death and pay on death beneficiaries and joint account holders may need to be changed, as well as the executor of your estate. If you have a living will, power of attorney, or healthcare representative appointment naming your former spouse, you may also want to update those documents. (3) Get out of the house and have some fun. Try something new, participate in an activity you once enjoyed, but have not engaged in because your spouse did not enjoy it, meet new people, or just reconnect with old friends. (4) Treat yourself. Have a spa day or a make-over (even if you can only afford to do it yourself at home), get some new clothes, buy a new tool, or try out a new video game or gaming system. Do something just for you.
There is life after divorce, it might just not feel like it right now. At first, you may have to work at just getting through each day, but as time goes on, you will start to find that it no longer takes a conscious effort to live happily without your former spouse. There will still be bad days or moments; that is normal, and they will pass. That being said, if you find yourself still grieving or suffering from depression after a few months, talk to your doctor. Symptoms of depression include sleeping too little or too much, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, changes in appetite, feelings of sadness, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, and thoughts of death or suicide. Depression can cause serious health risks but is treatable with medication and/or psychotherapy.
The important thing is to let go of the past, forgive yourself and your spouse, and learn from your mistakes. When you are ready to start dating again, you will know more about who you are and what you want, and don’t want, in a partner. This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. It is for general educational purposes. The blog is not intended to be relied upon for any legal matter or issue. The blog is not legal advice. This is an advertisement.