There are MANY unhealthy ways to deal with the emotional ramifications of a divorce. Instead of using all that energy in a negative way, try to channel it into the process of transforming yourself through this transition. The best way to do this is to develop a plan to help lead you through the jungle of feelings before you wind up in the quick sand that is emotional overload. Buy a journal and get started:
Document the Past:
Regardless of who instigated the divorce, there ARE reasons that relationship didn’t work. Take some time to reflect and process. Make a list of the characteristics, behaviors or circumstances that made your former relationship unfulfilling, unhealthy or unstable. There are valuable lessons you have learned about your wants and needs for a partner. Make sure you take time to recognize the morals of your story.
Make the “Emergency” List:
Sitting on the couch commiserating with the loons on the Jerry Springer show is not going to bring you any closer to the “right track.” Make a list of things that relax you mentally or physically. It could be as simple as twenty minutes reading a good novel at your local park. Maybe it is a trip to the spa or cooking your favorite Italian recipe. Make a long list of possible escapes. Then, whenever you get overwhelmed by emotion, pull out the book and choose an option.
Sketch the Future:
After a divorce, it might seem like life is empty — which is sad. I prefer to look at it as a blank slate with endless possibilities — which is exciting. In your journal, start writing down what you’d like your new life to look like. Where do you want to live? What will your occupation be? How will you spend your free time? Then make a list of things that you need to do to get closer to your desired goal. Make a commitment to do something everyday to start building the new, happier, healthier, you.
I talked to a woman recently who seemed to have it all together. She said that making pottery had become her outlet for escape from all the longing, anger and regret she still felt toward her ex. When I asked how long she had been doing pottery, she said, “Ever since the divorce, fifteen years ago.” I would really hate to see this woman’s mantle.
It’s good to deal with your emotions. But, at some point, we all have to move on. There are too many people sitting by too many phones waiting for the wrong person to call once again. Acknowledge that your relationship is over and make that commitment to move on.
The Dating Pool:
There is no definitive waiting period until a divorcee should date again. The important thing is that you are not dating just because you are afraid of being with yourself. You can be a strong “we” until you are a strong “me,” so I recommend focusing on you right now and let dating be a social activity and not your major avenue for finding a new life.