The first six months after a divorce can be one of the most difficult times of your life. Figuring out how to live the single life again is challenging and emotionally draining, but you can do it. Here are a few things to consider when you’re trying to get your life back on track.
Don’t Drop Everything
Even if you take time to detox from the divorce proceedings (and you should!), don’t think that it’s all over when the court date passes. You’ll still have to deal with lawyers and legalities for some time. Wrapping up something as complicated as a divorce will take time. You’ll have to deal with splitting assets and property, and sometimes post-divorce modifications are necessary to deal with changing circumstances. Be prepared for that.
Donnell Law Group maintains that the most important thing that a lawyer can provide is information. Your lawyer has the expertise and experience you need to get through these first few months—use them.
Take Time to Be You
You’ve been part of a married couple, and now you’re on your own again. Take time to figure out who you are again. You might feel like you’re missing part of yourself, and that might take time to find again. Don’t give up, and don’t get discouraged.
If you gave up hobbies or interests when you got married, try picking them up again. If you’ve always wanted to try something new, now is the time. How you choose to “find yourself” again is up to you—there is no one method that works for everyone.
Don’t Stress About Dating
You might feel pressure to get out on the dating scene again right away, but don’t let that command your dating life. You’ve just been through an emotionally and mentally draining ordeal, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about not jumping right back into dating.
When you’re ready to start dating again, go as slow as you need to. Build friendships and relationships at the pace you feel most comfortable with, and don’t let anyone pressure you to begin a new serious relationship before you’re ready for it.
Don’t Rehash the Past
It’s important to recognize your shortcomings and the mistakes you may have made in your last marriage, but don’t let your regrets take over your life. Your marriage had good and bad moments, just like every marriage does. Some of the bad moments were your fault, but don’t blame yourself for the ones that weren’t.
You can’t change what’s in the past, so rehashing it over and over again won’t do you any good. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
Forgive Yourself and Them
In addition to letting the past go, you’ll need to forgive both yourself and your ex-spouse. If you still have hard feelings toward your ex, letting go of your marriage and the negative emotions associated with your divorce will be impossible.
Forgiving can be easier said than done, but do whatever it takes to move past the guilt and the urge to blame your partner for your marital problems. Let the past go and look to the future.
Don’t Fit Yourself into a Mold
When you’re divorced, well-meaning people will try to give you all sorts of advice. Don’t take it. Some people will tell you to travel; others will tell you not to run away from your problems. Some will tell you to start dating immediately; others will tell you not to look for marriage again. Some will tell you to pick up your old life where you left off; others will tell you to start over in a new town, new home, new hobbies, etc.
Ultimately, your case is individual. No one can predict what will happen next in your life or tell you what is best for you. Only you know what you need, and what you do in the first six months after a divorce is entirely up to you.
The emotional trauma of divorce might not end right after the court date, but neither does its influence have to extend into the indefinite future. Use those crucial first six months after divorce to jumpstart the healing process instead of clinging to past memories and regrets.
This post was written by Hannah Whittenly with help from family and divorce attorneys at Donnell Law Group in Newmarket, Ontario. Hannah is a mother of two and freelance writer. She enjoys writing about many topics, but her favorite subject to write about is family.