Think of the time and energy expended on your former partnership and the divorce proceedings as a tangible asset. It's your choice whether this asset will be used for regret and self-destructive behavior or channeled positively toward rebuilding your life.
Here are 7 steps for moving on after divorce:
- Balance Yourself: When trying to reestablish yourself outside the context of your marriage, remember to use balance. Don't focus solely on one area: emotional recovery, career, children or dating. Instead, rebuild your life in a holistic sense. Remember, now is a time to be selfish and focus on your priorities.
- Rely On Your Friends: You can't do this alone. You may not have had time during your marriage to maintain a large network of friends. You may lose friends through the dynamics of divorce. But don't be afraid to utilize the important people in your life and strive to make new acquaintances through social activities, clubs and support groups to help you in your divorce recovery.
- Take Time for You: The fact that you get up every morning and are actively rebuilding your life is an accomplishment. Don't forget to reward yourself. Use some of the time and energy previously focused on your partnership to make you feel better. Get a massage. Read a book. Take a long bike ride.
- Keep a Journal: Divorce brings a lot of conflicting emotions. Your mind will constantly race between reflection on the past and ideas for the future. Make sure you record these thoughts consistently in a journal. This will help you make better decisions fueled by your wants and needs. It will also help you clearly identify the lessons you've learned and character you've gained through the process.
- Forgive: A recent study by the University of Tennessee attributes forgiveness as a key factor in lowering blood pressure and reducing anxiety. Divorce may leave you with a great deal of anger and resentment, but remember that energy spent on these emotions is a resource not being applied to your new life. Work through these feelings in your journal, with a therapist or in a support group. Letting go is essential for moving on.
- Use Perspective: It's important to separate your feelings about your past relationship with your view on romance and partnerships in general. When you feel comfortable, it is important to think about your previous marriage to help identify what went wrong and how this might be avoided in future relationships. This experience has helped redefine your notion of relationships and what makes them work. Take the time to understand your new perspective.
- Date Carefully: Too often divorcees take extremes when reentering the dating pool, either avoiding it all together or jumping in head first, anxious to fill their void with a new relationship. The higher divorce rate for second marriages is often attributed to this "rebound" process. When you are ready, feel free to pursue the possibility of dating. However, don't fantasize about china patterns on the first date. Now is a time for fun and exploring, but don't forget that your newly found time and energy are for rebuilding your life and not questing for the next spouse.
Actions After Divorce