Are you struggling to deal with your divorce? Read on for our tips on dealing with grief, and how to move on from your broken marriage.
Going through a divorce is an extremely stressful and emotional time. Whether the break-up is mutual or you have your differences, ending your marriage can completely derail your whole life. Break-ups are painful because they represent a loss, making the process seem a lot like grieving; grieving the loss of the life you had.
So how do you get through it and move on? There are lots of practical things to think about, such as deciding where each of you will live, who your children will live with and dividing up money and assets. You should always seek the advice of a specialist divorce solicitorwho can help you through this process.
But how can you cope with the emotional side of things? Read on to find out how to move on from your marriage, and some tips for dealing with grief.
Divorce is a Form of Grief
According to the American Psychological Association, 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. However, despite how common divorce is, no one getting married sets out to get divorced.
When a marriage fails, people experience many emotions, such as disappointment, fear, stress and grief. It’s perfectly normal to experience grief as part of the divorce process, as you will feel a sense of loss. There are multiple losses involved when a relationship breaks down such as:
- Loss of the life you might have had (plans, hopes and dreams)
- Loss of the companionship with your partner and the experiences you shared together
- Loss of support e.g. emotional, and financial
Everybody deals with grief in different ways, and it may seem scary, but it’s a natural part of the healing process. You need to deal with the pain before being able to move on.
The process won’t last forever, but it’s important to monitor how long these feelings last and whether they are getting any better. If it’s been a long time, then it may be worth speaking with a mental health professional.
7 Tips to Help you Cope and Move On
So, what can you do to help yourself through the grieving process after a divorce? These seven tips to help you cope might just do the trick:
1. Give Yourself a Break
First of all, it’s ok to wallow for a bit. You’ve just been through a life-changing event, and you’ll likely feel exhausted and not be as productive as usual for a while.
It’s natural to mourn all the positive parts of your marriage and the things that might have been. In fact, focusing on the positives in your marriage rather than the negatives can help you to accept that this relationship was just one part of your life, and now it’s time to move onto the next chapter.
Just monitor how long this period lasts. If the sadness doesn’t seem to lift, then you might be suffering from depression.
2. Don’t be Afraid to a Ask for Help
On that note, don’t be afraid to seek the help you need. If something doesn’t feel right, remember that help is out there in various forms. You can speak to your doctor, a mental health professional, or your family and friends to get the support you need.
Think about joining a local support group of other individuals who are going through a divorce. Sometimes it can help to know that others are feeling the exact same things you are feeling, and that you’re not alone.
3. Take Some Time for Self-Care
It’s easy to fall into bad habits when you’re going through a tough time. You might find yourself overindulging in junk foods or drinking too much alcohol. You may even find that you have less time for exercise and that you’re sleeping less. This might be ok temporarily, but it’s important to try and make long-term healthy lifestyle choices.
Try to carve out some time every day, or at least once a week, to exercise, set yourself a bedtime, and make a meal plan so it’s easier to cook yourself healthy meals. Getting back into a routine after the upheaval of a divorce can help you to start feeling normal again. As the old adage goes, ‘healthy body, healthy mind’.
4. Find Out Who You Are Without your Ex
When you were married, a lot of the things you enjoyed or experienced, or the decisions you made, were as a couple. It can feel strange starting to think using ‘I’ instead of ‘we’. As cheesy as it may sound, this is a unique opportunity for you to reconnect with yourself and find out what you really want from life.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to try a particular hobby or travel to a new place. You may even have a dream career that you’ve never pursued. Take this new-found freedom to explore your options. This time is also good for reconnecting with friends and family, not just yourself, so make sure you don’t neglect those relationships.
5. Keep the Kids Out of It
Children can often pick up on the stress and anxiety from a parent, and this can have a damaging effect on them. So, if you have children, it’s best to avoid putting them in the middle.
It might be tempting to talk negatively about your ex in front of them, but remember that your relationship with your ex is different to their relationship. They are still ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ to them, so it’s best to keep it civil for their sake.
Coming up with a co-parent plan with your ex can help you to avoid further disagreements and arguments. Include a schedule for what days your children will be staying with you, and when they will be staying with your ex. Also, add in things like mealtimes, bedtimes, homework times and details of any extra-curricular activities. Even planning your drop-offs can help to ease the tension.
6. Shift Your Focus
Focusing on everything that went wrong in your marriage, and whose fault it was, is never helpful to anyone. Instead it can be beneficial to shift your focus to something more positive that is under your control.
Perhaps you’d like to get fitter or to learn a new language. Setting some small, achievable goals can give you a more positive outlook and turn your attention away from the negative.
7. Avoid Jumping into a New Relationship Straight Away
It might be tempting to want to ‘get back out there’ and find a new partner, but a lot of the time, people do this for all the wrong reasons. Some people panic when they find themselves single after being in a relationship for so long, that they feel the need to be with someone else to fill that empty space in their life. For others, they merely want to jump into another relationship just to make their ex jealous.
There are no rules about when you should start seeing other people again, but it’s important to consider whether you’re truly ready. Have you worked through all the emotions you felt after your marriage ended? Are you excited about going on a date or meeting somebody new? Do you feel that you have fully accepted what happened and are ready to move on?
If the answer to any of those questions is no, then you might want to think again about what you really need right now.
Break-Ups are Tough, but So Are You…
The bottom line is, break-ups are hard, no matter how long the relationship, whether you broke up amicably or not. There are no set rules on how to move on, or for dealing with grief. So, take things one step at a time and don’t beat yourself up if you let certain things in your life slide. The grieving process won’t last forever.
Be sure to advantage of the help that is out there. Look to friends and family for support, and make sure you seek advice from a divorce lawyer and mediator if needed.
Have you gone through a divorce or are in the process of getting divorced? What are your tips for getting through the grieving process? Let us know, in the comments down below, and maybe here, we can form a little support group.