After committing yourself to who you thought was the love of your life, for what you thought would be the rest of your life, it has now come to an end. The love that once was and the life you shared together is forever changed. You’ve gone through the legalities, divided the assets, determined custody, and signed the papers, but now that it’s all done, you’re feeling drained and unsure of what to do next.
This is all normal. It doesn’t matter whether you left your spouse because they cheated on you or because you simply grew apart, a divorce is a grave loss. You’ve invested time, energy, and love into a relationship, raised a family together, and now it’s gone. You may have been staying strong to get through the divorce proceedings and to show the kids how to be brave, but at some point, you’ve got to allow yourself time to heal.
A divorce is an emotionally draining experience, and if you try to simply sweep it under the rug, it can come back to haunt you later. As you begin the road to recovery, however, it is important that the work you do to heal is constructive and not destructive. Here’s a look at some things you should and shouldn’t do to cope after a divorce.
Don’t Turn to Vices
A common mistake that women make right after a divorce is turning to vices to get through it all. Feeling the need to remain super mom women will drink alcohol, smoke a joint, take painkillers, or even use sleeping aids and antidepressants as a means of functioning. This may give you temporary numbness or resolution for your issues, but it will only harm you physically and emotionally.
What to do: If you’ve turned to drugs or alcohol you can find help on sites like ForwardRecovery.com. They are rehab centers that offer addiction recovery programs for drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, and more.
Don’t Neglect Yourself
You may be feeling your lowest right now. Perhaps you believe the divorce was your fault or that you wish you did more to try and save the marriage. Whatever thoughts you’re wrestling with shouldn’t replace the need to care for yourself. The longer you sit around and mop and let go of your health and personal hygiene, the worse you think of yourself which makes it even harder for you to get out of the funk.
What to do: As you’re processing your divorce and the array of emotions that come with it, don’t stop taking care of you. Get up every day, get washed, brush your teeth, do your hair, eat, get exercise, and make time to rest.
Don’t Bash Your Ex
At some point, your feelings of sadness and despair may switch to anger, frustration, and regret. It can cause you to lash out against the person you believe put you in this predicament – your ex. Even if they were the reason for the breakup, you aren’t doing yourself or your children any favors by bashing your ex. Talking about them in a negative manner to others, in front of your children, or online may feel like a positive way to vent, but it only creates a hostile environment.
What to do: Remember you have children with your ex and you’ll forever be tied together. Creating a hostile environment for your family only makes it more difficult for them to heal. No matter what you may feel about your ex, it’s important not to express it in a manner that will harm others. Write it down, talk to a therapist, or confide in a trusted friend, but don’t lash out.
Don’t Move On Right Away
Believe it or not, there are women who believe that the way to get over one relationship is to jump headfirst into another one. Sure, you may be lonely and want some companionship, but you’re grieving the loss of a marriage and you need to give yourself time. Jumping into another relationship too quickly, even if he is a good guy, can hinder your ability to commit and truly love that person. It forces you to bring your baggage from the past into what is supposed to be something new.
What to do: Give yourself time to heal. Find a therapist to talk to, create new routines, set up your finances, spend time with your kids, redefine your goals, and reestablish who you are as an individual. Then, and only then, should you consider pursuing another relationship – at a slow pace.
Going through a divorce is never easy. There’s so much involved. Even if the demise of the marriage was healthier for all involved parties, it doesn’t take away from the physical and emotional strain it can have on you. Though you’re desperate to forge on and be the super mom your kids know you to be, you are only human and need to grieve. Take your time, find ways to heal and start slowly reclaiming your life. As time goes on, things will get easier, you’ll find your new normal, and one day a love worth giving a try.