Important but Painful Realizations about Divorce

MAN-DIVORCE

Important but Painful Realizations about Divorce

Are you going through an unexpected divorce? This can be a devastating experience. Whether it’s being constantly reminded of your spouse or having trouble adjusting to single life, lots of people have made these important but painful realizations about divorce and come out the other end stronger. Though this advice may sound hollow or cliché, it may be exactly what you need to hear to help you get back on the road to independence, recovery and contentment.

Just remember that following a divorce should be a period of grieving. But things can only improve over time. In the beginning it can be an emotional roller coaster. But once things level out you do feel a little bit better every day. If you have children with your ex, you are going to have to get used to the situation. Don’t let seeing them again open old wounds. Find a healthy way to interact. Put on your best face and move forward. Find healthy ways to help yourself heal and feel better; exercise, meditation, or talking to a good friend are all good ways. Alcohol, junk food and locking yourself up for months at a time, not so much.

You’re going to be okay. This is a mantra for a lot of divorced people. But if you repeat it to yourself enough times, have enough talks with friends, cry, and reconnect with yourself, though the pain is immense in the beginning, you start to know that your happiness doesn’t begin or end with a divorce. It begins or ends with you, who you are, who you choose to be and the choices you make. Realize how better off you are without that person in your life. Is this the kind of relationship you want? Of course not. You need someone who is loving, supportive, appreciative and who will be there for you no matter what. And if you are reading this it’s obvious your ex wasn’t that person.

You can view it as the end of a marriage. Or you can view it as a new beginning. If someone tells you they are there for you to talk, believe them and use them. It will really help you. Gather your network around you. You need all the support you can get. When people tell you their sorry, understand that they are on your side. They don’t know what to say exactly. But they want to comfort you. If they say this, believe them. For more advice read, Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow by Elizabeth Lesser.

Do these within the First Three Months after a Breakup

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Do these within the First Three Months after a Breakup

A breakup or a divorce can make you feel upended, especially if it came suddenly. You can suffer heartache, guilt, anger and sadness. You can feel completely crushed, like your whole world has been turned upside down. Sometimes we depend on our mate to save us. But when you’re single you have to learn to save yourself. That may seem scary at first but the truth is the process can be liberating. Down the road you’ll wonder what you were so worried about. You might lose it a couple of times. But the sadness won’t crush you in the end. In fact, you’ll come out even more confident, happy and in control of your life then you ever were. You can let a moment like this crush you or you can use it to rebuild your life, to make a new life for yourself. The first ninety days are crucial. It’s what you do in that time that can either embarrass you or set you up on the path to healing and wholeness. Do these within the first three months after a breakup and you’ll be putting yourself on the proper path. Remember that this time is about your healing. At first you will be in the grief phase. Just follow your heart and do what feels right. Don’t isolate yourself however or depression might set in. Spend time with the people you love, and those that love you. Talk about your feelings and get some perspective.

Are you living in the same place and your house reminds you of them? Put it on the market. Does the furniture remind you of them? Buy new furniture. Or if you can’t afford that paint it, stain it, make it your own. Get a new bed, or at least get new sheets. Why not rearrange the furniture? Buy some flowers. Once enough time goes by and if you make the place really your own then you’ll feel fine about it again. Now is the time to challenge yourself. Break your routines. Try new things. Each day is a new deal and you can have a transformative experience, meet interesting new people and maybe even someone special. Don’t rush into a new relationship. But then again don’t be closed off from one. Don’t have revenge sex. But don’t be afraid to take part in a rebound that feels right just because you think the timing is off. Studies have shown that a genuine rebound relationship can help make you feel more attractive and increase self-esteem. But don’t do it if you aren’t ready, just to prove that you are, don’t force it. If it comes naturally let it. In general however this should be time that you can spend alone, getting reacquainted with yourself. Now you are actually free. No one’s opinion but your own sets your direction. You can do anything you want, be anyone you want to be. Go back to school, reinvest in your career, spend more time with the kids, try a new hobby or travel abroad and find yourself. In the immediate aftermath find something to help you heal. Sometimes yoga, a day at the spa or even journaling helps. For help with the last idea, read Write Him Off: Journal Prompts to Heal Your Broken Heart in 30 Days by Elizabeth N. Doyd.

Conquer Post-Divorce Depression

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Conquer Post-Divorce Depression

Besides becoming a widow, divorce is the most painful experience we can go through with our spouse. The stress endured from a divorce can feel overpowering. The limbic system, which is the emotional center of our brain, can feel overwhelmed by this stress, transforming it into anxiety and depression. Chronic and acute stress takes its toll on our physical health. A recent study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior found that those who are widowed or divorced experience 20% more serious chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease than their married counterparts. Psychological Science recently published another study that showed that as one approaches divorce one’s happiness level plummets. But if this person puts in the time and the energy to mitigate the emotional toll of divorce they can bounce back in time. So here are some ways to conquer post-divorce depression, helping yourself to recover from divorce, cope and come out the other side happy and well-adjusted. The first thing you should do is distract yourself. A hobby like knitting or crocheting, making things or taking up a physical activity such as yoga, jogging, swimming, a martial arts class or biking, or taking part in the arts like painting, writing or practicing a musical instrument can help take your mind off the divorce. Some people like to lose themselves in a great novel. Others begin taking up the hobbies they didn’t or couldn’t do when they were married.

Don’t take part in the same kind of routine during the divorce you had during your marriage. Switch things up. Start your own daily rituals and routines that help center you and focus on yourself. Listening to music that you like and that soothes you, but your ex hated, can help, as can yoga, meditation, and more. Find ways to reclaim your day and make it your own, and do the same with other aspects of your life. Roberta Temes, a noted psychotherapist and author who wrote about overcoming grief and divorce, wrote about the advantages planning had on distracting one from one’s pain. Plan out everything, your day, your week, your month even your year. Plan what you will have for breakfast and when you will pencil in time to learn the guitar. Plan everything and it will make you feel more positive and more in control of your life, and will help distract you. One way to gain a new handle on your life is to organize and clean out everything. Go through the closets and drawers. Get all of your ex-spouse’s stuff together and make plans for them to pick it up. If they don’t want these items there is always charitable organizations that will take them. Don’t put your ex-spouses stuff out in the garbage or on the curb without their notice. If you want to reduce your stress, set a tone of distant professionalism. If you don’t act like this it will induce a response or play itself out in the divorce and end up causing you more pain and stress. Instead, act maturely and your spouse will hopefully respond in kind.

Often people fight hard for what they think is right or what they deserve in a divorce settlement. But all of that fighting can also take its toll on you emotionally. It’s better to be at peace and happy than right. So know how to pick your battles. Whether or not your ex-spouse is responsible for a laundry list of transgressions, focusing on them and making yourself bitter only hurts you, not them. They only have so much access to you now, whereas you can ruminate on this hatred twenty-four hours a day. Instead, learn to fight for what’s important, to compromise, to negotiate. Of course, stick to your guns when it is something important to you. But learn to let go. Would you rather a divorce that is absolutely fair, one where you use the process to get your revenge, or do you want a divorce that is as painless as possible? Make sure to take your health, including your mental health, into consideration before you decide. Be sure to reach out to family and friends at this juncture. Reach out when you need people to help or just to talk. Let the grieving process go by naturally and focus on what you need to make yourself better and happy again. For more advice, read Releasing a Person: Fast Recovery from Heartbreak, a Breakup or Divorce by Kathryn Alice.

Erase your Ex-Spouse from your Life

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Erase your Ex-Spouse from your Life

Once the fights have stopped, the divorce is pending and you have moved out of the apartment or house, you can find it so hard adjusting to your new life. One thing human beings hate is change and the worst kind is upheaval. That’s what a divorce is. So of course you need time to deal with the trauma, grieve and adjust. The trouble is some people tend to wallow in misery. Brooding only creates a cycle of negativity in your life. You don’t want to dwell and be haunted by the shadows of the past. The best divorce advice for women and men is to erase your ex-spouse from your life. It’s of course easier said than done. Everyone’s heart takes some time to heal. But when you can’t lift the veil of negativity and sullenness, here is some advice on how to help you move on. First, get rid of all your connections to your ex and any memories associated with them. Don’t follow them on any social media sites. Unfriend them. Take all of the photos and things they got you and anything that reminds you of them and stash them away. You can keep them as mementos for when you are feeling better about the situation. It was a part of your life. You don’t have to destroy it or get rid of it. But you also don’t want to be reminded of them all of the time either. That can be torture. Start setting up your own routines. Decorate your place with your own stuff. Start to rebuild your life and make it your own and you’ll settle into your own routines and feel better.

It’s harder to forget your ex-spouse if you have kids. But start to erase from your heart and your memory all the good feelings you had. You are going to have to co-parent with this person. Pivot toward that sort of relationship. That’s a relationship filled with schedules, rules, and structure. You can interact professionally, in a distant, calculated manner. Do not drunk dial your ex and do not jump into bed with them. As much as you think it’s a good idea to have fun with no strings attached, or you just want to feel those feelings again, usually you just end up falling into the same negative routines and you have to disentangle yourself all over again, which can be heartbreaking. Don’t keep thinking about the marriage, the relationship and what you should have done, or how you could have saved the marriage. If it really broke up like this it was meant to be. Don’t beat yourself up. Forgive yourself truly to the depths of your soul. When your emotions have calmed sometime in the future you should reflect on your baggage and the negative things you brought to the relationship, only to learn from your past mistakes and not make them again in future relationships. This next one is difficult, especially for those who have trouble letting go. You should forgive your ex-spouse. That hatred, malice, resentment and anger only hurt you. They only infect your psyche. Your ex-spouse only sees you so often. You are with your own head 24 hours a day. So all that negativity will never hurt your ex as much as it hurts you. Let it go. Forgive. Find compassion, and peace will fill your heart.  

Now is the time for focusing on yourself and your own healing process. Find positive ways to heal. Avoid drugs and alcohol, gambling, obsessive shopping and so on. That will only make things worse. Lots of people find journaling a healing experience. Yoga, transcendental meditation, exercise, a hobby, making a dream board, travel and community service are all ways to heal. You want to reconnect with yourself as well. Though a divorce is an end, every end is a new beginning. So instead of focusing on the end perhaps it’s best to focus on the new lease you have on life. What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? What do you want to work toward? Everything is open for you. For more on coping with divorce, read How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Peter McWilliams, Harold H. Bloomfield and Melba Colgrove.

How to Speed up your Recovery

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How to Speed up your Recovery

Are you getting over someone, starting over and finding it difficult to handle the transition? A major breakup or a divorce can leave you with so many unanswered questions. You deal with resentment, insecurity, misplaced anger, maybe even guilt. Not knowing how to sort through these feelings makes the healing process a struggle. It’s like walking through untrodden territory. You don’t know what to do or how to handle it. Every breakup and every person experiencing it is different. But there are some generalities. If you learn how to speed up your recovery, you can handle your breakup better, feel better faster and be on your way to a much better place in your life. First, understand that you need a leap of faith. That’s faith in yourself and your ability to bounce back. But really whether you can do a complete turnaround or if you fall on your face and fail to get up, all depends upon you. Why not decide to stand up, fix yourself up, put your game face on and move forward with your head held high? Even if you don’t feel that way, fake it until you make it. Acting put together will make you feel that way too, at least when you are out in public. If you need to talk you can do so with friends or other confidants.

Don’t wallow in your regrets. Constantly obsessing over what should have been done, what one should have said at a certain time and so on is an illusion. Generally it isn’t one event that breaks a couple up but a series of things that well up until the relationship is no longer viable. Examine your regrets for what knowledge you can gain for future relationships, learning how to deal with a particular situation. But also learn when it’s time to let things go. Playing a scene over and over in your mind is only going to torture you. Learn your lessons and move on. If there are thoughts you try to ignore but can’t get out of your head, assign yourself a worry time. This is a scheduled time once a day or even once a week where you spend your time worrying and getting it all out of the way. Once you’ve had that catharsis, it’s time to make positive plans, get busy and go about your day. Meditation can also work wonders should you be so inclined. Think about where you are headed. Form some goals that you want to reach and think about how to get there. Volunteer and get a new perspective on life. Get yourself in the right mindset to be a healthy, happy, positive person who is enthusiastic about the future. Acquire some healthy hobbies you can do when you are stressed or just feel bad. Lots of people go for comfort food, alcohol, smoking or some other unhealthy habit. Instead try a run, pushups, getting a massage once per week, treating yourself to an afternoon at the batting cages or run off and go fishing, whatever it is that’s positive that can also clear your mind and relax you. Get motivated about changing your life, embracing the new, sexy, single you and enjoying yourself. You are a free, independent person. Your fate is up to you. Make your life a great one. For more on this topic, read Peg Streep’s Mastering the Art of Quitting: Why It Matters in Life, Love, and Work.