You can guide your own recovery from divorce. Recovery from divorce depends on a number of factors, including how long you were together, how good the relationship was and how committed you were to your spouse, whether the divorce was a surprise to you or not, whether you have children together, whether you or your spouse are involved in a new relationship, your personality, your age, your socio-economic status and on and on.
According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, experts say it takes about two years to move on from emotional trauma such as a breakup or the loss of a job. But beyond this, there are a number of ways you can help yourself recover from divorce.
Recovery from divorce isn’t about pressuring yourself.
Two years may be the guideline, but there will be days when you feel amazing and glad to be free of your ex — and days when getting out of bed seems like more trouble than it’s worth. Don’t be disappointed in yourself. If you have kids, note that the process will be even harder, so make sure you are gentle with yourself.
Because we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to move on after divorce, focus instead on achieving some version of closure from the past, says psychologist Andra Brosh.
Recovery from divorce is about finding yourself again.
Instead of fixating on moving on, try focusing on yourself and re-embracing the goals and interests you may have put aside during your marriage.
Remind yourself that you still have a future – When you commit to another person, you create many hopes and dreams. It’s hard to let these dreams go. As you grieve the loss of the future you once envisioned, be encouraged by the fact that new hopes and dreams will eventually replace your old ones.
Recovery from divorce doesn’t mean you should fight your feelings.
It’s normal to have lots of ups and downs, and feel many conflicting emotions, including anger, resentment, sadness, relief, fear, and confusion. It’s important to identify and acknowledge these feelings. While these emotions will often be painful, trying to suppress or ignore them will only prolong the grieving process.
Talk about how you’re feeling – Even if it is difficult for you to talk about your feelings with other people, it is very important to find a way to do so when you are grieving. Knowing that others are aware of your feelings will make you feel less alone with your pain and will help you heal. Journaling can also be a helpful outlet for your feelings.
Recovery from divorce means you allow yourself to move on.
Expressing your feelings will liberate you in a way, but it is important not to dwell on the negative feelings or to over-analyze the situation. Getting stuck in hurtful feelings like blame, anger, and resentment will rob you of valuable energy and prevent you from healing and moving forward.
Know the difference between a normal reaction to a breakup and depression – Grief can be paralyzing after a breakup, but after a while, the sadness begins to lift. Day by day, and little by little, you start moving on. However, if you don’t feel any forward momentum, you may be suffering from depression.
Recovery from divorce means you don’t have to do it alone.
Support from others is critical to healing after a breakup or divorce. You might feel like being alone, but isolating yourself will only make this time more difficult. Don’t try to get through this on your own.
Reach out to trusted friends and family members. People who have been through painful breakups or divorces can be especially helpful. They know what it is like and they can assure you that there is hope for healing and new relationships.
Spend time with people who support, value, and energize you. As you consider who to reach out to, choose wisely. Surround yourself with people who are positive and who truly listen to you. It’s important that you feel free to be honest about what you’re going through, without worrying about being judged, criticized, or told what to do.
Get outside help if you need it. If reaching out to others doesn’t come naturally, consider seeing a counselor or joining a support group. The most important thing is that you have at least one place where you feel comfortable opening up.
Cultivate new friendships. If you feel like you have lost your social network along with the divorce or breakup, make an effort to meet new people. Join a networking group or special interest club, take a class, get involved in community activities, or volunteer at a school, place of worship, or other community organization.
Recovery from divorce means taking care of yourself.
A divorce is a highly stressful, life-changing event. When you’re going through the emotional wringer and dealing with major life changes, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. The strain and upset of a major breakup can leave you psychologically and physically vulnerable.
Treat yourself like you’re getting over the flu. Get plenty of rest, minimize other sources of stress in your life, and reduce your workload if possible.
Learning to take care of yourself can be one of the most valuable lessons you learn following a divorce or breakup. As you feel the emotions of your loss and begin learning from your experience, you can resolve to take better care of yourself and make positive choices going forward.
Top Ten Divorce Recovery Tips
1. Ask for and receive help
2. Talk about your grief with others
3. Get as much information as you can about the divorce process
4. Face each obstacle as it arises
5. Let others know when you’re not feeling well
6. Allow your feelings to come to the surface
7. Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel
8. Accept your new reality and move on when it’s appropriate to move on
9. Have trust/faith that things will work out
10. Be willing to make mistakes
If you need help with the divorce process, please contact us. We offer a free, 10-minute phone consultation.